Worthing Community Chest holds four Appraisal Panels a year. The panel has between ten and fifteen members who assess grant applications and award funds to local groups and projects.

Our grant awarding process is unique in that the Appraisal Panel consists of members of the groups who have previously received grants from Worthing Community Chest.

All our appraisers are volunteers, who see this as a chance to give something extra back to the community. They play an important role for us by making funding decisions, through those decisions they have a positive influence on the whole community. Our volunteers work together as an independent panel considering information and evidence presented to them to reach well-reasoned, fair decisions. We believe that they are the best people to assess applications as they have experienced this process first-hand and they come from a wide range of backgrounds, as well as bringing their knowledge of the local community.

As the grants funding process can be quite complex we provide two training sessions per year, where we train new appraisers on how to assess the grant applications and what is involved in the decision making. New appraisers can also attend the Panel meetings as an observer to view the process before they begin their term as an appraiser.

At the training, we share our commitment to volunteers as well as explaining our expectations. Confidentiality plays an important role in what we do, so all members need to be aware of the Data Protection Act. We also explain the why the panel need to declare any conflict of interest with an application.

Worthing Community Chest aim to ensure that our volunteers achieve their full potential and that all decisions are made without reference to irrelevant or discriminatory criteria. Equality and diversity is very important to the charity, and this is emphasised in the training. We also make the Panel members aware of our criteria and priorities for funding.

At the end of the training the new panel members have the opportunity to assess an example application.

We are always looking for ways to streamline the appraisal process, as well as the experience of volunteer participation, so we regularly ask members for feedback.

Last year we made a film about the Appraisal Panel so you can see the why the training is worthwhile!