A charity which empowers learning-disabled and autistic people to break down barriers of stigma and create positive change has welcomed a new opportunity for “lifeblood” funding.
Mansfield-based OneConversation has developed a project teaming up with local schools to address stereotypes around disability that children and adolescents can be exposed to in their formative years.
It is having a big impact in changing perceptions at an early age, preventing the future potential for hate crime, by allowing young people to engage with and have an honest conversation with learning-disabled and autistic people and understand their experience more.
The charity relies on funding to keep running these important schemes and said a new opportunity for organisations like theirs to bid for a share £300,000 from Nottinghamshire’s Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner could make a huge difference to their viability and credibility.
The Make Notts Safe thematic grants scheme opened on Thursday (28 July) and allows organisations to bid for funding in three thematic areas – hate crime, rural crime and community crime – with £100,000 available in each of the three categories.
“It makes all the difference. We lunge from project fund to project fund – this is the lifeblood of what we do – this is what sustains us. It allows us to continue to make a difference,” said Tracy Radford, activist at OneConversation, which has previously benefitted from funding from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.
Fellow activist Brad English added: “It is also an endorsement. With the Police and Crime Commissioner being able to put their stamp on it – and we proudly wear that stamp – it’s an endorsement that people take seriously and gives extra weight to our work.”
OneConversation was launched in 2018 as a group of activists who wanted to change the way learning-disabled and autistic people were treated. It started with organised public activism and protest and developed to include working with hundreds of children in Nottinghamshire schools to ensure learning-disabled and autistic people were not excluded from society. It became a registered charity in 2020.
Brad explained that the traditional narrative around hate crime was that it was inevitable, and that better reporting would help tackle it when it occurs. But OneConversation saw it differently and aimed to tackle the issue at its source, to prevent hate before it develops.
“Young people are often the perpetrators of hate crime. We go to the future potential offenders and work with them through the art of honest conversation and discussion about life and their ideologies,” said Brad.
“It’s about being around learning disabled and autistic adults who would be potential victims of hate, to break down the stigma. We believe in positive engagement – shifting the thinking among young people.
“We base it on the principles of community psychology. Stigma and discrimination between groups can be addressed by contact and exposure and finding shared goals. We get consistently good feedback from pupils and teachers alike in terms of changing thinking.
“It is turning it on its head – going further upstream and stopping it before it happens.”
The Make Notts Safe thematic grants, from Nottinghamshire’s Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, are open to all third-sector organisations and charities that are registered on Companies House or the Charity Commission.
Organisations can bid for multi-year funding over one, two or three years, with all funding being spent by March 2025 at the latest.
It is also possible for organisations to bid for funding in more than one of the three £100,000 funding pots.
The final deadline for applications is on 15 September 2022.
Nicola Wade, Head of Commissioning and Partnerships for the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, encouraged organisations to find out more and apply for funding.
“This is a great opportunity for third-sector organisations and charities to receive some much-needed funding, which can run over a number of years and give greater stability and continuity for the great work they do in the community,” she said.
“The Make Notts Safe thematic grants are designed to support the delivery of the priorities in the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Make Notts Safe Plan, which include reducing hate, rural and community crime.
“Anyone who runs projects that deliver this kind of work could be eligible for funding, so I would urge them to find out more and apply now.”
Further information about the new Make Notts Safe thematic grants will be available at virtual briefing events being held in August 2022. The briefing events will provide attendees with the following:
- An overview of the new Make Notts Safe Grants and themes
- An overview of the application process
- An opportunity to ask any questions
Briefing events will be held virtually via Microsoft Teams on the following dates:
- Thursday 4 August 3pm-4.30pm
- Tuesday 9 August 10am-11.30am
- Wednesday 10 August 12-1.30pm
If you would like to attend one of these briefing events please email firstname.lastname@example.org stating which date you would like to attend so we can email you the appropriate TEAMS link to enable you to join the event.
To find out more, or for an application form, visit Make Notts Safe Fund 2022-25 (pcc.police.uk)
Posted on Tuesday 2nd August 2022