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Side by Side Cymru Community Grants: case studies

In March and September 2022, the Side by Side community grants programme - by Mind, Diverse Cymru and EYST - funded 30 community groups. On this page, you can learn what the groups did with their grants.

Mind's approach to grants

The groups were led by and for Black and minoritised ethnic communities. They received funding through 25 community grants.

We wanted to fund these groups in a different way, moving away from traditional funding models and towards an approach that was:

  • Simple and accessible
  • Had flexible deadlines
  • Personal and tailored
  • Relationship focused
  • Co-designed between partners and people with lived experience
  • Supportive, by minimising question length and offering 1 to 1 support to complete and strengthen applications
  • Based on trust, by allowing groups to define their own impact


The grants had a significant impact on communities. 

  • 72% of groups said the fund helped them to support more than 21 people
  • Using the data given by grantees, the programme supported at least 300 people 

Beyond stats, however, we believe that impact should be defined by groups. Traditional data can fail to capture some of the nuances of why community-led work is so valuable.

To look more at the impact that the grants have had, we've created these case studies.

These case studies explore some of the groups, their projects, and the impact grants had on their communities. 

Case studies

About the group

Shiloh is based at a local church in Riverside, Cardiff, one of the most diverse and poorest areas in Wales. They run coffee mornings for the community and after school sessions for children: "Most of the families living in this area don't ever get to go away or go on holiday or anything like that," co-ordinator Sister Joy explains.

There are a wide range of different languages spoken in the group, including various African languages, English, Welsh, and Eastern European languages. 

The funding

The coronavirus lockdown was "awful" for those who attended the after school club, Joy explains: "They often live in large families and there was nowhere for them to go or nothing to do, and they were becoming very bored and feeling isolated. We saw signs of increasing poor mental health."

Using the funding to buy a laptop, young people were able to meet again to produce a newsletter as well as socialise and eat together. Through this, they became interested in planting flowers and cooking: "It brought out a lot of things we didn't think they'd be interested in and weren't interested in before". 

Impact of the funding

Sister Joy said the funding "was a lifesaver". "We don't get any funding apart from some donations and access to some funding from LocalGiving," she said. 

Around 25 people come to the group, but people "pop in and out" when they pass by. A drumkit purchased with the funding brings in more people who wouldn't usually attend the group as "hearing the drums going means people come in and investigate". 

The application process

The application form was "one of the most straightforward I've ever completed", Joy says.

"You could do it in a couple of minutes - very, very easy and excellent. A lot of the other applications are pages and pages long – I've spent all this time working on things, answering all of the questions, and then at the end you don't get anything, which is very, very frustrating. So it's one of the best processes ever." 

About the group

Other Ways To Care are a community of people from different backgrounds and walks of life with a difficult mental health journey. They come together to support each other, connect, learn together and eventually improve wellbeing.

The project

The group were inspired by the "obsolete word ‘respair’ (v.s. despair)" to respond to a series of creative tasks co-created with creative Dan Rose, some indoors and others in public spots, individually and as a group.

This included making lists or doodles, taking part in creative activities, thought exercises to think about in the bath, and activities to do together collaboratively. 

The impact of the funding

From April to May 2022, 120 people attended co-creation events. The closing event reached 61 people. Many others took part in activities. 

And, as one organiser explains, the fund "enabled us to assume more responsibilities in project planning and delivery at a time our group was dormant, in terms of activities."

"In short, it revived our community to anew gather around something new and creative venture and overcome stagnancy. This may reinforce the concept of 'ebbs and flows' in the lifecycle of peer support groups. Timing matters and a little help like a £500 can revive a group and act as a restarter."

The application process

Organiser Chris explains that the grant application "was not demanding and easy to fill out even on a small screen. The selection process was reasonable in time and the disbursement of the funds speedy as well."

Flexibility was also offered to the group in terms of payment. Though payment was initially offered via cheque, the group preferred a direct transfer which the team facilitated. 

We talked to Salah, the co-founder of the Kurdish All Wales Association (KAWA) about the group and the funding they received.

About the group

The Kurdish All Wales Association connects Kurdish people living in Wales from different backgrounds. Kurdish people come from four different countries: Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria.

Many members of the group have come to Wales to seek asylum. Salah, the group’s cofounder, has been around the refugee sector for nearly 18 years.

The group was set up during the first covid-19 lockdown to empower Kurdish people (who often come to Wales to claim asylum) regardless of their immigration status, gender, or background.

They run several activities including football, music and dance groups.

The funding

The group received £500 which has been used for their weekly drop-in session. During Refugee Week in 2022, the group also hosted Kurdish bands.

This gave people a space to listen to music, dance and chat. After that event, the group applied to get some instruments: a saz and a flute.

The impact of the funding

Trust is a very important value to the group – not only to build trust amongst members but also within the local community.

The money enabled the group to increase their collaboration, including engaging with local high schools. It is important for them to integrate with other organisations in Cardiff.

“It’s very small money but it’s a very big impact. The real money should be spent with small organisations - the impact is much, much bigger on the community. And the impact on people’s lives I honestly feel is much, much higher”.

The application process

Salah said the group found the application process “really easy”. He went on to explain about the group’s relationship with Mind’s Communities Team.

“Georgia is amazing. She kept regular contact, friendly manner... it was a relationship not like a funder. She actually cared about the cause and the community - she didn't hassle us. We had a regular catch up. And she told us about events as well. It was really empowering.”

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