Firmstep Helps Chelmsford Grand Awards Give Boost to Local Good Causes
Published by PSN for Firmstep in Local Government and also in Communities
Awards website automates nominations and public voting for monthly funding allocations to community groups
Chelmsford City Council has reported on the success of its Chelmsford Grand Awards website, which enables residents to nominate and vote for local community groups to help them secure £1000 in funding every month. The site was developed and launched in a matter of days using the AchieveForms and AchieveCMS solutions from Firmstep, a leader in online service solutions for local government.
The Grand Awards scheme was launched in January 2012 to allocate £1000 of funding each month to local community groups. The scheme is designed to cut through red tape by making the funding application and allocation process as quick and simple as possible, and to reach new and smaller community groups. All applications are made online via the Grand Awards website using Firmstep’s AchieveForms intelligent online forms solution. Each month, three applicants are shortlisted on the website, with the winner decided by public voting via the site.
When the three finalists are selected each month, the details entered by the applicants are easily transferred to the live site, to enable the public to vote for the project they feel is most deserving. Since the January launch, 61 funding applications have been processed with 33 different projects featured on the awards website, attracting over 8,000 votes from Chelmsford residents.
Alison Chessell, Project Manager for Chelmsford City Council said: “The whole purpose of the Awards is to streamline the usual lengthy funding application processes, and to enable small local organisations to put themselves forward quickly and easily for funding to achieve short-term goals or kick-start projects. We really wanted to involve the public in the decision-making for granting the awards, and using Firmstep’s products to develop the Awards website enabled us to realise this ambition, helping us to move from the initial idea to a live site in a matter of days. We believe this is a real innovation in funding allocation, and the use of the site since its launch highlights its success.
“We can also manage the Awards site’s content easily, without needing any coding skills or IT support. The Council were already working with Firmstep as part of our ongoing drive to improve access to services, so being able to launch a separate website for the Grand Awards using solutions already deployed in our organisation has saved time and meant minimal additional cost to the public.”
The Chelmsford City Council website has also been refreshed and rebuilt using Firmstep’s solutions, with AchieveForms being used to automate and process online services such as applying for residents’ parking permits, applying for planning permission and housing registers, or reporting issues.
Any not-for-profit organisation whose work benefits Chelmsford residents is eligible for the Awards. This includes residents’ associations, sports clubs, youth organisations, support groups and conservation groups. Each winning applicant has six months to spend the allocated funding. The website is http://www.chelmsfordgrandawards.co.uk/