'Microgrants' make a big difference

By Jessica Elgot, July 21, 2011
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Small is beautiful for Jeneration, which has spent £4,500-plus on grants assisting small innovative ventures.

It has disbursed between £50 and £400 "microgrants" to activities including "Cartoon Kippah" - a Jewish podcast run by David Yehudah Stern - a Talmud study group and youth movement Habonim's bike restoration project for refugees. The average grant is £300.

"The aim is really to make things happen among friends and social groups," explained Jeneration director Jude Williams.

"If people want to get together to study some aspect of Jewish life, we can fund their space, and perhaps a guest speaker."

At the lowest financial level, Deborah Blausten, 20, was a £50 beneficiary for materials and refreshments for an arts and learning evening.

"It's the sort of project that just needed that extra nudge to make it happen," she said. "Everything else I could do myself."

Social care consultant Russell Collins, 31, was given £150 towards a community building workshop in Borehamwood. "I wanted to see if there was an appetite for a more quirky, engaging kind of community activity in Hertfordshire, similar to those in north London," he explained. "In Hertfordshire, it's very traditional and family-orientated. It's low risk for the organisation, but I couldn't have funded it myself."

Ms Williams believes Jeneration is filling a gap in the market. "For small projects, there doesn't need to be as much admin. Most of the projects have been about Jewish learning and social action."

Joel Stanley, who manages the scheme for Jeneration, added: "We want to support innovation. It's a way to make a small pot of money go much further."

    Last updated: 3:11pm, July 21 2011