Invest in Plymouth

Help POP fertilise the green shoots of a collaborative funding ecosystem. 

Over the last three years POP has been testing and experimenting different ways of funding an incredible ecosystem of creative responses to meet social, economic and environmental needs in Plymouth. We have taken a socially entrepreneurial approach based around participative decision making, open accountability, collaboration and learning. POP is funding groups of individuals, networks and collaborations. 

We are proud of what we have achieved but, there is still a journey to go on.  

Our goal is transformational change and to move from a culture of competition to collaboration in the VCSE sector. How funding is used is a fundamental part of this change.  

This is an invitation to funders join in and support the next steps of this journey.  



At POP we have been thinking and talking about complexity for a while but at the beginning of 2020 we were in a minority of organisations talking in those terms. Now, in 2021, having lived through the pandemic this is a mainstream conversation. Our work has shown that in complex environments, we need different approaches to resolve the challenges we face. Measuring by outcomes, creating 5-year strategic plans and using KPIs don’t become redundant, but are subservient to the approaches that deliver resilience and adaptability. What we need most is collaboration. 



Collaboration is an approach that delivers results in complex systems. At this point of 2021 where we are facing the combined threats of ecological and climate breakdown, economic inequity and the challenges of democratic renewal; this structural complexity cannot be changed by one or a few actors. There must be a concerted and aligned effort. And the only way to achieve this is via networks and collaboration, and resource. 

All too often the current funding architecture and processes result in a significant degradation of goodwill, relationships and ultimately collaboration. But more pervasive is the culture of mistrust and (toxic) competition this creates (see case study below). 

POP, being a peer in the Plymouth system, has experienced this. And we don’t like it. Over the last 3 years we have tested a variety of different approaches all with the aim to increase collaboration. We have taken risks and tried out a new set of rules and new ways of delivering our responsibilities around governance, accountability, and learning, by using the values and principles of openness and transparency, participation, valuing relationships, truth telling, power sharing and justice. 

If we can continue to learn and scale, we believe the impact will be transformational. And we believe this is at the right level of place to operate on. 


Together we can support a culture of collaboration to emerge. 

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