Ringing the Changes to Keep 250 a POP Sustainable

By Simon Travers, POP Funds Sensemaker

Since 2020, 250 a POP has provided a level of support and solidarity for grassroots organisations in Plymouth that outweighs its monetary value. Hundreds of small and micro organisations have benefited from easy access to funds that cover unexpected expenses. 250 a POP has been used for everything from court hire for netball clubs to an outdoor mural for an arts organisation, from paper marbling equipment to helping pay for a bookkeeper. POP receives nothing but positive feedback about 250 a pop and it’s seen in the city as ‘a lovely little bit of funding.’

From 1st February, 2024, POP will be making changes to 250 a POP. We still believe in this fund and would love to offer support to every organisation that asks for it. We know that, as cost of living issues hit grassroots groups, the need for a helping hand is real. However, for 250 a POP to remain sustainable, it has to remain within budget. POP therefore intend to allocate 52 grants in the year ahead. That’s one 250 a POP grant a week.

Limiting the number of grants available has an impact on the 250 a POP process. We are still committed to making sure that access to technology, wealth or cashflow are no barriers to accessing the fund. We are trialling a more relational approach that we hope will improve the experience for people applying. Here are the key changes we are making:

· 250 a POP is now only available to POP Member organisations with a turnover of under £100,000.

· Applications can be made through the Members section of the POP website. You need to submit a simple form, with a bank statement and a photograph of the receipt you are claiming for. You do not need letters of support anymore.

· Applications can be made for expenses paid in the previous 6 months, or are expecting to pay within the next month.

· Applicants will need to attend a short, friendly zoom/online meeting that will usually be held on the last Wednesday of the month. Applicants who do not attend this meeting will not be eligible for funding.

· At this monthly meeting, a lottery process will determine which applications receive funding.

· Starting February 1, organizations receiving 250 a POP must wait 12 months before reapplying. The 6-month waiting period still applies to organizations that received a grant between August 1, 2023, and January 31, 2024.

The most important takeaway is that 250 a POP remains active and open for business. We encourage applications from all qualifying members who would benefit from the fund’s support. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to Simon, our POP Funds Sensemaker, at simon@plymouthoctopus.org.

You can apply for 250 a POP here: https://support.plymouthoctopus.org/funding-details?recordId=rece0XO2dqe1cZzzx

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