Catalyst: small grants, big difference

The Catalyst Programme awards up to £500 to people on low incomes to pay for opportunities that make a difference. It is a simple, special and effective programme that can be designed to support absolutely anyone.

Our evidence shows that small Catalyst grants unlock potential and increase wellbeing in people and provide partner organisations with a different and positive offer to those they support.

In Islington, Catalyst was set up in 2009, funded by Cripplegate Foundationand then Cloudesley in 2011. It was expanded in 2016 and 2018 with funding from Islington Giving and Sir John Cass’s Foundation. Together we fund 20 Catalyst partners in the borough to award Catalyst grants to people they work with.

Having run the Catalyst for 10 years, we’ve captured learning which can be used in other communities, and stories that show how this approach changes lives.

The learning report, produced alongside Cripplegate Foundation, is below, or available to download here.


3 local people share their stories

To best explain Catalyst, we commissioned this short film. Watch as 3 local people share stories of how Catalyst has changed their lives.

Catalysing change for children, young people, and families

At Islington Giving we support local partner organisations to provide new opportunities for joy, or achieving aspirations, for families, young people, and children.

Young Catalyst partners are:

Family Catalyst partners are:

Want to Catalyse change in Islington?

We are always keen to talk with people, businesses, and other organisations, who want to change lives in Islington. If you’d like to discuss making a donation to support changing lives in the borough, please get in touch.

You can give securely online. And because all of our running costs are covered, 100% of your giving will be invested in the community.

Want to Catalyse change in your community?

Because it is simple, flexible, and doesn’t involve lots of rules, Catalyst provides a model that could be set up anywhere. Get in touch with our partners Cripplegate Foundation if you’d like to talk about setting up a Catalyst Programme in your community.