The circumstances facing communities and charities across the country are increasingly difficult. The long-term and continuing squeeze on funding to local government and for local services against a backdrop of long-established regional differences, has left charities – themselves resource constrained – increasingly having to pick up the pieces. As independent funders we have been investing and supporting charities to survive and adapt for a number of years but we know that there is more we should do to support and boost the potential of people and communities, and crucially to do so through a place-based approach. We have therefore come together “To use our collective experience and resources to support local people to address social, environmental and economic priorities selected and driven locally and derive as much learning as possible from that process”.
As six funders we are keen to understand how to be more effective collectively in supporting issues facing communities across the UK and how this might change practice. We know we don’t have the answers, and we know the risks of top down imposed approaches – especially if they’re led by funders – so we think the only way this can be achieved is by working with local partners who are working in or want to find solutions to the social and environmental issues on their doorstep.
To help us progress this work, Kathleen Kelly has been appointed Director of Collaboration for LocalMotion to help us establish where and how we might create a new approach to supporting disenfranchised communities in a more radical, joined-up way. This will be done through co-design with potential communities to develop a new approach or set of proposals. This will involve scoping and implementation of the proposals, but also in ‘holding’ and supporting the relationship between the six foundations.
The six funders are:
- City Bridge Trust
- Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
- Lankelly Chase
- Lloyds Bank Foundation
- Paul Hamlyn Foundation
- Tudor Trust
Kathleen Kelly will work with the six foundations to test our assumptions to date, seek out local partners and help us understand how, by working together we can best build new or support existing local programmes. Over the next 12-18 months we will develop a set of proposals that we will consider and assess against two key questions:
- By working more closely together can we better use our collective resources, experience and strengths to make a greater difference locally?
- Does this way of working challenge current foundation practice more broadly?
Subject to this work the expectation is that the six funders would then consider the case for providing substantive resources and making a longer-term commitment.