Empowering Collaboration – A Fresh Look For Pop Collectives

by Simon Travers – POP Learning Champion, August 2023

This autumn, POP Collectives will be rocking a fresh look for a new season. We’ve seen great growth in the last three years as diverse organisations have collaborated around shared values and purpose. Grassroots Plymouth has embraced Collectives and we couldn’t be prouder.

The success of Collectives has led to some necessary changes in our process. More organisations want to be involved than our budget can accommodate.

POP are still committed to the spirit of Collectives. Collectives is unique and we want to hold on to what makes it special. We will continue to award £5000 to three POP Member organisations with a turnover of less than £500k to collaborate on projects that benefit Plymouth. Applications will always be open and easy to do and funding decisions will still be made by POP Members.

Starting September 2023, POP are making four big changes to Collectives:

· DATES FOR YOUR DIARY: There will be six opportunities a year to claim one of three available Collectives grants.

· NEW VOTING: We will replace the current rating system with a new two-week voting process to select which Collectives receive funding.

· NEW VOICES: The Collectives with the most votes will be funded, but we will ensure one grant in each process is reserved for Collectives that include new organisations.

· WAITING PERIOD: If an organisation is part of a successful collective, that organisation cannot be listed as part of another collective for 12 months.


Collectives has supported a variety of organisations with ideas that serve diverse communities across Plymouth. We have achieved this by attempting to reduce the amount of competition that can arise in funding. By introducing a timed voting system, we accept that some competition is unavoidable in Collectives.

POP have worked hard as a team, and talked to partners inside and outside of Plymouth, to keep Collectives open to all. We want applications from every grassroots community within Plymouth working on the most level playing field possible. We have heard a strong message that this means we need to continue investing in building networks and relationships. We want to keep reaching out to all Plymouth communities, with appropriate support, to ensure POP’s funding works towards a vision of an inclusive Plymouth where no one feels forgotten.

We have learnt that Collectives has worked better for groups with established networks and the capacity for self-promotion. POP recognise that, done well, connecting with others and gathering support is a positive network building skill. However, it is unlikely young organisations will have as deep networks or as much capacity for self-promotion as more established groups. Matching new

organisations against established Collectives with city wide reputations feels unfair. That is why we are reserving a Collectives grant in every decision making process for a New Voices Collective. We define a New Voices Collective as a Collective with two or more organisations that have been established for less than two years.

POP have also decided to limit how often organisations can be involved in Collectives. If an organisation is part of a successful collective, they will now not be able to join another Collective for 12 months. Our hope is that this helps more groups get a chance at being funded. If a Collective is unsuccessful in the voting process, that Collective can reapply for as many future processes as they wish. Any collectives choosing to do this will have to repeat the whole application process.


Collectives will open again for applications on Monday 4th September. To fit six decision making processes into the year, the first process will have a short window for applications. To be in the first process, your Collective must apply by Monday 25th September. Don’t worry if you miss this deadline though, your application will just go into the next decision making process.

Once your Collective is in the decision making process, things will feel familiar. We are rebranding the advice session and hoping to make it even more helpful. There will still be an opportunity to rewrite your submission if your circumstances change. Then there will be a 2 week voting process for POP member organisations to choose their 3 favourite Collectives from those available.

Part of diarising the Collectives process is to increase efficiency after the voting process closes. We will now expect Collectives to complete their learning agreement, set up their Open Collective page, and connect with our Learning Champion within three weeks after voting wraps up.

Setting dates for Collectives means POP can plan when grants will be paid. POP Collectives funding has never been available for work already done. In the new process, any work completed before the date of grant payment cannot be funded. We have learnt that Collectives is not effective as a last-minute, urgent option for funding. Good collectives need time to plan, evolve and build relationship. The new voting process means Collectives cannot guarantee they will be funded on application. It is not in any Collective’s interest to have less than a month to find other funding options if they are unsuccessful in Collectives voting.

Successful Collectives in the first decision making process will receive their grants on the week commencing 27th November, 2023. The payment date for the second decision making process is expected to be week commencing 29th January 2024. If your Collective hopes to run events between 27th November and 28th January, you need to apply in the first decision making process.


Collectives belongs to POP’s members. You are the ones with the great ideas. You are the ones committing to building a collaborative culture in Plymouth. You are the decision makers. Collectives doesn’t work without you. However, organisations can only be involved in applying and voting for POP Collectives if they have re-registered as members within the new POP membership structure. Take a moment to ensure your organization’s membership is good to go.

POP Collectives remains one part of the POP grassroots funding package. 250-a-POP is still operative for any POP Members organisation. There will also be opportunities for organisations to seek funding through the Plymouth Sparks programme starting in the Autumn. Check your inbox for the POP newsletter and weekly mailings for all the up to date information you need.

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