Since the Collectives Fund was launched in Plymouth in Autumn 2020, POP have worked with over 20 diverse projects to provide meaningful social and environmental impact for Plymouth. The impact of POP Collectives is as visible as the stunning murals on the Scrapstore in Union Street or the Chaddlewood Subways. Other projects have a gentle power, like quiet gatherings of people learning to manage their wellbeing or food parcels delivered on an environmentally friendly cargo bike. POP Collectives is also leading the way the Plymouth voluntary sector works by fostering collaboration and partnership. With over 60 organisations involved at some level in a Collective, we are seeing innovative connections and the power of people working towards their shared values.
As a Learning Champion, one of my favourite aspects of POP Collectives is seeing a city-wide conversation evolve around how to collaborate for social and environmental impact. I get to hear an abundance of powerful voices in the city’s grassroots with great ideas and the energy to change things for the good. It is a privilege to learn from these voices and share their wisdom and passion across the city and beyond.
There is great strength in a diversity of voices being heard. That is why since the start of the Collectives Fund, the application process was designed to involve the whole POP membership. Any POP member can provide peer advice and support or rate individual projects. However, from monitoring Collective applications, it appears POP members’ engagement with collectives is sometimes sporadic. Alterations to the application process have been made with the hope that it will become easier for POP members to contribute to POP Collectives.
As part of the application process, each Collective gets a page on the POP website. Previously, you had to click away from this page to support or rate a Collective, but now all interaction happens on the Collective’s page. POP has reworded the questions on the application form to ask for a more concise description of each project which is hoped will make it easier for members to quickly grasp each application’s strengths.
POP have begun to ask some new questions of Collective applicants. From multiple learning conversations, it appears that when Collectives do not have to contort themselves to fit evaluation criteria or statistical targets then they choose to collaborate in a variety of different ‘shapes.’ Different collectives have different attitudes to leadership, task management, and communication based on their individual needs. Understanding these ‘shapes’ matter, because different shaped Collectives face different challenges, exhibit different strengths, and need different support. Identifying Collective ‘shapes’ will allow POP to connect like-minded projects and provide relevant support more efficiently.
The other change made is to the rating process. Members are now asked to rate each project out of five stars. If you think a project is good and should be supported, you could give it four or five stars. If you are not sure, or you see clear problems with the project, you could give it three stars or fewer. If you rate three stars or fewer though, please add comments so that POP can understand why. A Collective will receive funding when it accumulates a total of 95 stars in a maximum of 25 votes. This new way of counting votes is as rigorous as the previous method, but higher-scoring projects will have the advantage of being funded faster.
POP hope that these changes will make it easier for members to engage with the POP Collectives process and that more members will choose to be involved. The POP Collectives Fund does not function without the POP Membership. You all have something to contribute, whether it be experience, practical knowledge, informed opinion or encouragement. Please keep joining in the conversation.
All the Collectives currently needing advice or rating are listed here, perhaps you could bookmark this page and routinely support the Collectives: https://www.plymouthoctopus.org/pop-collectives-rating-advice/