Social Vision working with York St John University for 2023 round of Community Research Grants

Social Vision working with York St John University for 2023 round of Community Research Grants

Social Vision is delighted to be working again with the team at York St John University’s Institute for Social Justice - supporting them over the next six months to embed academic researchers into local social impact organisations.

Social Vision is delighted to be working again with the team at York St John University’s Institute for Social Justice – supporting them over the next six months to embed academic researchers into local social impact organisations.

Following our successful grants allocation in 2022, ,the project will see YSJ fund a handful of academics to work within local charities, social enterprises and other not-for-profits to research themes and issues that will create opportunities for your organisation. This could be based around data, impact, good practice, strategy or any other theme pertinent to your work.

The first stage, right now, is to have a think about how a researcher could help your organisation to grow, survive or evolve. Research is so complex and time-consuming isn’t it? And something that is rarely resourced save for in the biggest of charities. But it underpins everything we do as a sector – from the people we support, through the funding bids we write and strategies we adopt. So having this resource fully-funded is a huge opportunity for local organisations, hence Social Vision’s support for, and involvement in, the project.

Full details on the project are below:


Institute for Social Justice Community Research Grants

The Institute for Social Justice is seeking to support research partnerships between York St John University and community-led organisations in the voluntary, charity and social enterprise (VCSE) sector. Our objective is to ensure that research undertaken is relevant and impactful and to conduct research in a more open and democratic manner. By research we mean the gathering of new knowledge that provides evidence to inform delivery and practice. This might include: evidencing impact, market research, case studies, organisational strategies reviews and more.

To better enable this, we are launching a new scheme of Community Research Grants in which VCSE groups are invited to present issues or themes that are important to them and which they would like researching. The Institute for Social Justice will then select a number of these proposals and ‘match’ them with university-based researchers, who will be funded to work in partnership with the community group to undertake the research.


Application process

We appreciate how much time can be wasted on writing funding bids. We are therefore keeping the proposal stage light touch and will host briefing events to ensure clear understanding of the scheme and its objectives.

Wednesday 1st March. Application form goes live – here


Monday 20th March. 10-11.30am. On Zoom.

Briefing Event for VCSE sector groups, hosted by Social Vision.


Wednesday 19th April. 10-11.30am. On Zoom.

Follow up briefing Events for VCSE sector groups, hosted by Social Vision.

  • For those that attended the first event, have gone away and considered some ideas, and have questions they’d like to ask.
  • [Book your place here]


Friday 28th April. Deadline for submissions.


We are not expecting VCSE groups to submit an ‘academic’ proposal, nor to frame research methodologies, nor to propose budgets. What we are looking for are themes, issues, questions that concern you along with a sense of how research into this would align with and benefit the purpose of your organisation.


The application form will ask you the following questions:

  1. Please outline the nature of your organisation, what do you do, how do you deliver it, and what is your community and social impact. (300 words)
  2. What do you want help with? What do you want to know more about, what questions/issue/theme would you like help researching? (300 words)
  3. How would you hope this research would benefit your organisation and your ability to delivery on your core purpose? (300 words)
  4. What support could you offer and how would you facilitate the research to happen? This will might include in-kind support (space, time, contacts) that will make the research possible. (300 words)


Project timeline

May – July 2023

Proposals will be matched with YSJ researchers and allocated a budget. This stage will have opportunities for discussion and meetings between VCSE groups and researchers before agreement is reached. We are looking for strong and genuine connections and understandings.


September 2023 – March 2024.

Projects undertaken. Light touch reporting and evaluation will be required.



There are three main criteria for funding.

1. Benefit to VCSE organisation

We are looking for a clear sense of how the research and insights generated will benefit the VCSE organisation and through that support social justice. This might be through evidencing impact, developing best practice, expanding delivery, changing strategies or more.

2. Community and social justice impact

We want to support projects where research can have a strong community and social justice impact. We are looking for proposals motivated by the desire for greater equality and opportunity for all. We want to work with VCSE groups with strong community focus and that are community-led.

3. Potential for strong University / VCSE partnership

We will support projects where there is a good match with appropriate YSJ research expertise and interest. We are looking for openness to partnerships and genuine connections between academic and community partners. Potential for ongoing collaboration, joint outputs etc will be advantageous.



Depending on proposals received, we anticipate that we will support between 4-6 projects. The support will consist primarily of fully-funded researcher time and expertise to work with your organisation, along with direct research expenses. Project can be a maximum 8 months long.


Currently Funded Projects

In 2022 we funded a diverse range of organisations from across York and North Yorkshire, including:

    1. York in Recovery – This research looked at the role of peer support in recovery from drug and alcohol misuse.
    2. Healthwatch North Yorkshire – This project examined the relationship between rurality and health and social care services, to determine if it is necessary to categorise rurality as a geographical factor when addressing rising levels of health inequalities.
    3. Open Country – North Yorkshire charity Open Country wanted to investigate and address some of the barriers to people with disabilities accessing ‘blue spaces’ – open water swimming, kayaking, sailing and other outdoor water-based activities.
    4. York Archaeological Trust – York Archaeological Trust sought to build diversity into its museum programming and community work, with a particular focus on ethnicity, disability, social mobility, age, gender, LGBTQ+ and faith communities.
    5. Bolshee CIC – Bloshee CIC focussed on young women’s lived experiences of sexual harm in public spaces and their perceptions of barriers to public safety.
    6. Inclusive Equal Rights UK – Inclusive Equal Rights UK explored the extent to which ethnic minority groups within York are exposed to racism and discrimination in the areas of education, healthcare and policing.

Find out more about these projects here



The Community Research Grant is new, so we may discover unanticipated issues as we go along. However, we have anticipated some FAQs that we hope are useful.


Who is eligible?

We are looking to support voluntary, charity and social enterprise organisations operating within York, North and East Yorkshire. Priority will be given to organisations that have a strong community-led ethos and/or incorporate significant community participation. We are particularly keen to work with smaller, local organisations. Groups have to be formally constituted in some fashion and have a track record of delivery and social engagement.


How will budgets be used?

The funding will be used by the Institute for Social Justice to support and undertake the research with your organisation. Note that in the proposal stage you are not asked about budget, which will be develop in collaboration with the academic researchers. It is anticipated that the majority of the budget will be spent on researcher time.


What are the benefits for the VCSE groups?

This scheme allows you to initiate and commission a piece of research that addresses something of direct interest and benefit to your organisation. This might relate to social or economic impacts, to developing best practice, to expanding delivery. Proposals might be specific or fairly speculative, the important thing that you have a genuine interest in the process and findings.


Why are YSJ running this scheme this way?

Often research is designed and initiated in Universities or government. We are looking to open the process and operated in a more inclusive and democratic manner. By bringing the process closer to the communities that are most impacted by the research we hope to ensure research is more relevant and impactful. We wish to challenge some of the hierarchical relationships between the researched and the researcher.


What is Social Vision’s involvement?

The Institute for Social Justice are working with Social Vision to gain input on all stages of the process from the perspective of an VCSE organisation. This ensure the programme is accessible, responsive and relevant.


What areas of activity are eligible?

We are keeping this broad – any activity that has a strong and clear community and social justice benefit is eligible.


What kinds of research might be undertaken?

The project will fund qualitative and/or quantitative research from across a range of academic disciplines (such as psychology, sociology, business, sports, arts, humanities, law, linguistics and more). No priority is being given to a particular research area or methodological approach – research might use a range of approaches as required to address your proposal. We will select proposals where there is a strong match to academic expertise and interest at York St John University.


How will proposals be matched to researchers?

Proposals will be reviewed against the criteria. The strongest will be circulated to researchers at York St John who will be asked to develop a research proposal in response. We will then set up conversations between the VCSE groups and researchers to ensure a good and genuine match. Only after this point will successful projects be confirmed.


Do these have to be new proposals / partnerships?

It maybe that your organisation already has a relationship with a YSJU researcher. That is fine, you are still eligible. However, this should not be taken either as an advantage or a disadvantage.


Where does this funding come from?

York St John University has made £40,000 available to the Institute for Social Justice to develop community engaged research.


Sign up to Social Vision News: the fortnightly newsletter championing good people doing great things across York.

*We will never use your details for any purpose other than Social Vision News


Sign up to Social Vision News: the fortnightly newsletter championing good people doing great things across York.

*We will never use your details for any purpose other than Social Vision News