BHM 365 is a small grants fund that supports community groups to run community and cultural activities that educate and celebrate Black history and culture all year round.
To mark 12 months of working collectively as a Racial Equality Group, three UK social landlords, A2Dominion, Catalyst (now part of Peabody) and Metropolitan Thames Valley, came together in 2021 to launch the Black History Month 365 Fund. Since then, Clarion Futures, Sovereign, Network Homes and Hyde Charitable Trust have joined the partnership, which is continuing to grow.
The fund was born out of a recognition that the history of social housing in the UK is entwined with the history of Britain’s Black communities and the lived experience of many Black people.
The fund was also a response to a growing body of research that highlights inequality of funding. Research finds minority ethnic community organisations were less likely to be in receipt of charitable funds due to systemic failings in the design and administration of grant funding.
Acknowledging the integral role of minority ethnic community organisations in the lives of so many in the UK, A2Dominion, MTVH and Catalyst (now Peabody) set up the fund with the intention of building long-term relationships, intersectional engagement and funds, and to share insights, networks and learning generously with partners.
Partnering for change
The BHM 365 fund is an example of making a change through partnerships.
The initiative was established by the HACT Race Equality Group and is supported by G15 members Peabody, A2Dominion, MTVH, Clarion Futures, Sovereign Housing, Hyde Charitable Trust and Network Homes.
BHM 365 has now supported over 60 community organisations; 90% are Black and Minority Ethnic-led groups and social enterprises. In addition, it has supported schools and colleges located in communities served by G15 members.
Engagement in the programme has been driven through G15 community investment leads, local Community Voluntary Services (CVS), social media, current recipients of the fund, HACT community network and through the publicity of the Black History Month 365 Impact Report.
The BHM 365 fund has supported 60 community organisations, as well as schools and colleges located in communities served by G15 members.
Of the organisation the fund has supported, 90% are Black and Minority Ethnic-led groups and social enterprises.
What challenges did they face?
The main obstacles faced by the partnership have been around grant management and capacity as the fund has grown. To address this, A2Dominion has invested in a new grants management portal called Good Grants, to enable a better user experience and more efficient management and reporting.
Currently, BHM 365 is only serving G15 areas, London and the South East, but the partnership is encouraging other housing associations to replicate the model in other regions.
“We are proud to have launched a platform to recognise and celebrate the contribution Black communities have made to British life.”
- BHM 365 Fund Partnership
The impact so far
So far, the fund has supported over 60 Black and Minority Ethnic-led groups and social enterprises, distributed over £50,000 of funding and delivered projects in 36 different communities.
It has also helped improve and build long-term relationships both with housing association residents engaged in the project and with local CVSs.
In the future, BHM 365 would like to extend the partnership to attract additional resources, enabling them to build up their capacity to manage the fund and support more organisations to access crucial funding.
Change in action
In December 2023, the National Housing Federation (NHF) and Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) published a joint update on our work on the Better Social Housing Review, one year since the independent panel made seven recommendations for the social housing sector.
Our ‘Change in action’ series of case studies highlights best practice so far from housing associations navigating the changes set out in the BSHR.
If you have a question about the recommendations, or want to get in touch, please contact us.