A new report by UK Community Foundations examines the impact of the pandemic on local Voluntary and Community Sector Organisations (VCSOs) and the communities they are based in. It looks at the practical steps that funders can take to ensure that their grant-making is responsive, effective and inclusive to local VCSOs. It also showcases some of the innovative work happening in the community foundation network. The main conclusions of the report are:
· Nearly all of the community foundations surveyed are seeing a growing demand for the following services: food and essentials, mental health services, technology and IT, social isolation and domestic violence support services.
· The impact of closures and decreased capacity of local VCSOs will have a wide and far reaching impact on the communities they serve. These include: an increased strain on statutory services, a reduction in volunteering opportunities and the loss of irreplaceable community provision.
· Funders can take immediate actions to ensure that their systems and processes aren’t barriers to local VCSOs delivering vital services to communities. These actions include: supporting tried and tested good practice, providing core cost funding, taking a flexible approach to grant-making, encouraging collaboration rather than competition, and improving the financial stability of local VCSOs by providing multi-year funding.
· Community foundations are being responsive to the needs of local VCSOs and communities. The place-based community foundation model is enabling innovative grant-making programmes, ensuring local people have a meaningful say in how funding is allocated, and being adaptive to the different needs that the pandemic is creating.
· Using recommendations from organisations that received funding from UKCF’s BAME Infrastructure Fund, the report also sets out the practical steps that funders can take to ensure that their systems and processes are inclusive and accessible to BAME-led VCSOs.
Rosemary Macdonald, CEO, UK Community Foundations, said:
“We all know that the effects of the pandemic are going to be with us for years to come. As funders, this puts the ball firmly in our court. Now more than ever we must make that our grant-making is in tune with the needs of the local charities and community groups that have been a vital lifeline to people. Using the local expertise of our community foundations, the experience of decades of place-based investment, and the unique insights of funded organisations – this report makes a series of realistic recommendations that we can all implement.”
This week sees BLCF celebrate their 20th Anniversary as a charity in Bedfordshire. Set up by Geoffrey Farr MBE, DL, together with the Bishop of Bedford and the then Lord Lieutenant, Sir Sam Whitbread the Community Foundation's original purpose was to help smaller charitable organisations to secure much needed funding, to help serve their local neighbourhoods.
In a statement from the current Chair of Trustees, Viviane Vayssieres said:
"20 Years ago this May, BLCF was accredited as a public charity. Born from three men’s vision to alleviate poverty and sustain local charities, while primarily facilitating and pooling donations channelled to address community needs and support local non-profits.
Indeed, during the last two decades BLCF has delivered grants, practical support and vital training to numerous charities, as well as gathering intelligence to assess essentials needs within the diverse county of Bedfordshire.
During the next seven months we shall look at BLCF's journey across the last twenty years, with contributions from donors, patrons, grantees, volunteers, staff and trustees. We shall celebrate this milestone in our history, by bringing together the people who have worked tirelessly to help the Foundation grow and develop into the great organisation it is today."
Read the full Press Release on our anniversary page HERE.
We are pleased to announce the appointment of Viviane Vayssieres, FCIM, as the new Chair of the Board of Trustees. Viviane has served as a board member for the past 3 years and has been a Marketing Consultant at Paule Rochelle since 2009.
We are also delighted to welcome Karen Perkins as our new CEO. Karen moves to the Foundation after 16 years with the Culture Trust, Luton and is a passionate advocate for partnership working and collaboration.
Read the announcement HERE.