The Vicar’s Relief Fund (VRF) provides small crisis grants of up to £350 to support people who are at risk of, or currently, experiencing homelessness or are vulnerably housed, to establish and maintain their tenancies.
St Martin-in-the-Fields is a landmark church in the heart of London. It is a hospitable, vibrant and forward thinking community with worship at its heart. Located on the northeast corner of Trafalgar Square, St Martin-in-the-Fields is steeped in beautiful Georgian architecture which has been imitated across the world.
St Martin-in-the-Fields provides support through the Vicar’s Relief Fund. The VRF aims to support people who are at risk of being made homeless, are homeless or vulnerable, or have experience of being homeless and are trying to establish or maintain a tenancy. The fund does not provide grants directly to individuals, rather applications are only accepted from Support Workers employed by agencies such as local authority social services, housing associations, Citizens Advice Bureaux, and other statutory and voluntary organisations.
Flexi-Grant® was selected as St Martin’s new grant management system with the goal of ensuring that grant applications can be processed rapidly whilst still ensuring that key controls in the approval process are enforced. The average grant provided by the VRF is around £200 and is typically in response to an immediate need, so the speed with which St Martin-in-the-Fields are able to respond is critical. On average over the past 12 months, the VRF has been able to make grants within 2 days of receiving a request. Flexi-Grant® was chosen to sustain this whilst minimising the staff time currently required to process grants and payments.
Flexi-Grant® was configured to ensure that support workers could quickly register and apply on behalf of beneficiaries. This included allowing for a ‘beneficiary search’ prior to logging an application so that checks can be completed to ensure beneficiaries are not trying to access funding through multiple support workers simultaneously. This simple step has helped streamline applications and ensure support workers are kept informed. All grant awards are managed simply and quickly through Flexi-Grant® including the management of all grant conditions and payments.
St Martin-in-the-Fields continues to deliver its much needed support with Flexi-Grant® helping to ensure that this support is delivered where it is required and helping manage over 400 grant applications per month.
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