Evaluation of effectiveness of small cash grants

Family Action, supported by NEF Consulting and LankellyChase Foundation, have released the first findings from the innovative Open Doors programme. The programme distributes small cash grants via a network of partners who provide support to people experiencing extreme poverty and severe and multiple disadvantage (SMD).

Initial analysis of the impact of the programme shows:

  • Small grants ease pressure, enabling recipients to focus on other areas of their lives that need addressing via the support provided by partner organisations.
  • Recipients of grants report a significant improvement in wellbeing as it enables them to make changes in their life that provide a greater sense of control, trust and security.
  • Partner organisations state that grants help improve the relationship and engagement between recipient and worker.

The report also highlights that the majority of grant recipients are receiving additional support with housing, mental health issues and training and employment. Domestic abuse is one of the most common areas of SMD reported on applications.

“It [the grant] has brought an element of normality back to what was a really abnormal environment. It is a platform for opportunities. When you have the little things in place, you can put the bigger things in place too.” – a grant recipient.

David Holmes CBE, Chief Executive of Family Action said “The initial findings from the Open Doors Programme indicate quite clearly the role that small cash grants, as part of a programme of support, can play in facilitating deeper and more far reaching change in the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in society. We are excited to continue this work to understand the long term sustainability of the change.”

Download the report here

More about the Open Doors programme

From the launch of the programme in August 2013 to the beginning of November 2014, 464 grants have been made to a total value of £148,353. The average grant given was £320. Recipients of grants are not only experiencing extreme poverty but also at least two areas of Severe and Multiple Disadvantage (SMD). Grants are applied for via partner organisations that provide additional support to address SMD.

About Family Action

Family Action is a charity committed to building stronger families by delivering innovative and effective services and support that reaches out to many of the UK’s most vulnerable people.

Find out more here.