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Volume 497: debated on Tuesday 13 October 2009

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what recent steps her Department has taken to increase participation rates in the (a) Capacity and (b) Futurebuilders scheme among charitable organisations in the East of England. (289241)

Capacitybuilders programmes in the East of England are promoted through events, e-bulletins and local consortia of support providers, such as councils for voluntary service. All consortia funded by Capacitybuilders in the region are now assessed as fit for purpose, which includes engaging with frontline groups and marginalised communities. Capacitybuilders Regional Managers maintain local contacts. A network of five local delivery agencies promoted the Modernisation Fund grants stream through 11 events in the region, newsletters and networks.

Futurebuilders England (FBE) has taken steps to promote the Futurebuilders Fund in the East of England, including at events in Huntingdon and Clacton. Since the start of July, FBE has allocated a dedicated Business Development Officer to engage with the sector within the East of England region.

Capacitybuilders and FBE together are delivering the new £16.5 million Modernisation Fund. This was promoted at the Office of the Third Sector’s road show in Cambridge on 8 June 2009, attended by over 60 delegates from the region.

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the criteria are for receiving funds from the Capacitybuilders Campaigning Research Programme. (292097)

The Capacitybuilders Campaigning Research Programme will support organisations to take part in research about third sector campaigning. Criteria for the programme are:

Participants must be third sector organisations

Organisations must be small organisations with limited campaigning capacity

Organisations must be prepared to be involved in action learning (up to 10 days from October 2009 to March 2011)

Further, the campaign must:

Represent, support or champion the voice of a marginalised group or seek change on their behalf

Comply with the Charity Commission’s guidance on campaigning and political activity

Use campaigning methods which can help the sector learn more about effective campaigning. This may be a campaign which is already running but could be improved by introducing new or different campaigning methods.

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office which organisations have been shortlisted for funding under the Capacitybuilders Campaigning Research Programme; and to fund what projects and initiatives such applications have been made. (292098)

To date 49 organisations have been short listed for the Capacitybuilders Campaigning Research Programme. This was carried out by a selection panel, made up of third sector experts. The final programme will support around 30 organisations to participate in the research programme. Details of these organisations will be announced shortly, once the final selection process has been completed.

The programme will study, support and fund organisations through an action research programme to identify innovative ways for the third sector to campaign on behalf of disadvantaged people in society.