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The latest ideas supported by Catalyst will help: homeless people build beneficial social networks; build a low-cost matching service for job-seekers, recruiters and learners based on crowd-sourced data and bring the Perspex museum donation box to the mobile phone.

Catalyst provides small grants and expertise to Fellows who have developed an innovative solution to a social problem. Strong ideas – not only those that receive grants – are helped by the expertise available through the panel, RSA staff and, above all, by our Fellowship at large, for example through the RSA SkillsBank. Catalyst awards grants of £1,000 to £2,000 in the first instance – with additional £5,000 awards available for ventures that successfully deliver their first outputs.

Latest Catalyst awards 

At the end of May, a panel with representation from Fellowship Council and senior RSA staff awarded grants to the following projects (subject to agreement of some conditions):

£2,000 to Dream House – a service empowering homeless people to develop their social networks to become a source of employment, accommodation and health The grant will help run a pilot to work with 10 of the estimated 6,500 homeless people in Washington DC over five months to help them build and capitalise on their social networks. The pilot will run will the support of local homeless service provider Father McKenna Center and charity ONE DC. The approach is influenced by the Recovery Capital approach that the RSA developed in our work in Southern England, helping drug and alcohol users to develop networks of people who can aid their recovery. We will work to connect project leader Tom Neumark to Fellows with experience of homeless services and establishing social enterprises. If you think you can help, email Tom.

£2,000 to The Careers Project – an online psychometric profiling, job-matching and learning service to help people find and retrain for more suitable and sustainable employment However well written, the CV fails to communicate the true talents and potential of an individual. Psychometrics can help with this but are often prohibitively expensive. The Careers Project will offer free crowd-validated psychometrics and e-portfolio tools to help people build a personally-owned and reusable profile making it easier for them to communicate themselves effectively to employers. A Fellow matched from the SkillsBank will collaborate to deliver a focus group with job-seekers in Nottingham. In addition, an organisation in London from the Social Entrepreneurs Network spotlight will pilot the tool to find extra volunteers. The grant will pay for an enhanced website to help the venture leader Neil Bachelor reach a more diverse audience of job seekers and recruiters. If you have expertise in the field of corporate recruitment, human resources or learning and development, please contact Neil.

£2,000 to The National Funding Scheme – development of a national scheme to provide visitors to cultural institutions with a means to donate; in effect digitising the Perspex box

Many cultural institutions such as museums and galleries will not be able to afford the time or money to develop a mobile giving solution. Those who wish to can be part of a united campaign across all institutions to encourage donations at the end of an exhibition/production etc. Having already consulted with a dozen Fellows in this sector, Catalyst resources will go towards producing the graphic and animated versions of the user-journey at a forthcoming launch of the scheme.  Project leader William Makower, based in London, is looking to access help from Fellows with experience in financial modelling and simultaneously managing a large number of institutional partnerships. Please email William if you think you can help.

Latest regional support for Fellow-led projects: 

As a sign of increased integration with the regional and national venture funds that also support Fellows’ new ideas to tackle social problems, the Catalyst panel recommended the following applications for support from the South Central region’s fund. They awarded (subject to agreement of some conditions):

£500 to Low Carbon Chilterns Cooperative - to reduce carbon emissions in the Chilterns by helping community buildings take measures to increase energy efficiency

The grant will help work out the precise way the cooperative will capture energy savings from installing energy efficiency improvements to local buildings. Project leader Robert Hall is also looking for Fellows to help formulate the share offer prospectus for future members of the cooperative, so please email Robert if you can help.

£500 to Give What You’re Good At - an online technology platform matching professionals who want to volunteer their skills with charities and social enterprises that need their help

The grant will help develop the low-cost matching algorithm they are developing. Project leader Ami Bloomer is also looking for Fellows to help with financial modelling and provide investment advice so please email Ami if you can help.

Register your expertise to help other projects

If you want to help projects like those mentioned above, but none of them quite match your skills-set or location, please register in the SkillsBank. After completing a short registration form we will endeavour to match you up with inspiring projects in need of your help.

Have you got an idea? If so, apply for a grant and help from Fellows

Visit the Catalyst web pages to find out more about the support is available, what the criteria are for Catalyst and how we help you collaborate with Fellows who have relevant expertise. The next deadline for Catalyst applications is Sunday 24 June.



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