Our purpose is to help put people on a path to a better everyday life. This goes beyond just helping our customers, it includes society as a whole. One of the ways that we do this is by supporting small voluntary organisations through our partnerships with Community Foundations around the country.
Working with Community Foundations
Community Foundations are place-based funders, working with local donors, funders and businesses to make sure that their grant-making tackles issues that are pertinent to the areas where they are based.
We’ve developed partnerships with Community Foundations throughout the UK to enable us to distribute grants effectively to organisations who are supporting the communities where our business operates.
Their local community insight and expertise is crucial to our partnerships. By working with Community Foundations, we can be confident that we’re directing our funding to where it is needed the most. And, in doing so, contribute to the sustainability of the small charity sector.
The impacts of the Pandemic
Whilst the Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant and ongoing impact on all sectors of the UK economy, it’s put into sharp focus the huge strain that has been placed on the voluntary sector, and highlighted the important role this sector is playing to help support vulnerable groups.
The sector will undoubtedly continue to play a crucial part in supporting them as we move beyond the pandemic and into a recovery phase.
Not only has the voluntary sector been called upon to support new and emerging Covid-related issues, as well as continuing their existing services, but they have seen many of their income sources disappear.
They’ve had to adapt quickly and deliver services differently, which has also come at a financial cost to them. However, there has also been widespread acknowledgement that it has been the small grass roots organisations to whom many have turned for support.
This is no surprise as those providing frontline services into their communities are also those who often hold the greatest trust of the people they seek to help.
How we’ve provided support during the pandemic
Our priority at the start of the outbreak was to speak to our Community Foundation partners to understand the issues and challenges that they were facing.
Whilst talking to each of them, we identified a consistent theme. Alongside a need to raise urgent funding to help build capacity in the sector to respond to the crisis’ immediate needs, there had also been an urgent requirement to protect pipeline funding.
Social and financial exclusion will present ever more challenges as we come through the other side of the pandemic, and small charities and community groups will be key to keeping communities on their feet. We therefore made the decision that rather than divert funding into various emergency funds which have been set up, we would maintain our Social Impact Funds to enable the small voluntary organisations to continue their existing support programmes in the medium to longer term.
In 2020, we were able to award grants totalling over £265k to 44 community organisations.
Our Community Foundation partners also told us that, unsurprisingly, flexibility for grantees was a priority. So, allowing our existing grants to be repurposed and used based on immediate need was essential.
This meant that funding could be used in a variety of ways such as for additional core, service delivery and volunteering costs, ensuring that partners could continue to meet their charitable objectives whilst remaining viable in the longer term.
Ultimately, as funders, it has been vital for us to seek the best ways to support and sustain small charities and community groups because without these frontline organisations, our communities face an even tougher recovery from the impacts of Covid-19.
It’s been important during the pandemic for our funders to understand and respond to the challenges faced by their communities. Our strong working relationship with PFG allowed us to have an early dialogue about the needs of our beneficiaries here in Scotland. This meant that through open and honest conversations, we could ensure PFG’s funding was directed to the organisations best-placed to deliver trusted support in their communities at a time of heightened need.
Jennifer McPhail, Foundation Scotland
How the Funding works
We start with our Strategic criteria. All our funding is rooted in:
Improving people’s personal finance capabilities (debt and financial advice/education)
- Improving physical and/or mental health
- Providing support which enhances, creates and sustains positive family relationships
- Addressing issues of low educational attainment and improving learning outcomes
- Providing people with opportunities to reduce inequality, exclusion and disadvantage, including projects which increase access to employment
And we work with our Partners to understand where the needs are. Click the links below to learn more about the organisations we partner with. Our partners include:
Once we’ve got an understanding of the need, we consider how to disperse the funds through our Colleague grant panel. You can read more about this process in our Corporate Responsibility Report.
The grants panel gave me a greater appreciation of the diversity within our society, and a glimpse into some amazing work that takes place. I had a real sense of responsibility by contributing to the decisions on funding. Everyone on the panel wants to make a real difference.”
Internal Audit Manager
Click on the tabs below to read some examples of the organisations we’ve provided grants to.
Keighley Association for Women and Children’s Centre (KAWACC) is a small, needs-driven organisation that advocates for vulnerable and disadvantaged women. With a grant from The Manjit Wolstenholme Fund, set up in memory of PFG’s former Executive Chair, they were able to provide mentoring to build the skills, interest in and confidence of young girls to consider science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects as a career.
“Having finished my A-Ievels, I came to KAWACC following advice from my mum because I’d always had an interest in engineering. Through the Manjit Wolstenholme Fund grant, I had STEM sessions which were very empowering. That led to one-to-one sessions where we worked on my personal statement and CV, and focused on career advice, because I was looking to apply for part-time jobs. One of the positions I applied for, and got, was at KAWACC, where I had to develop and run an environmental project and lead sessions with other girls.
KAWACC has helped me realise the opportunities available to me. In this area, not many people have the drive to go into higher education. They have some sort of barrier built up, especially if you’re an Asian girl. Having support in a women’s centre like this makes it more accessible. I feel a lot more confident in the next steps I’m going to take. I’ve decided to retake my A-levels so I can improve and expand my opportunities. I’m certainly more adaptable and know I have the right skills for the next stage in my life, whatever that brings!"
KAWACC service user
Working in partnership with Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Foundation (HIWCF), grants totalling £25,000 were awarded to six voluntary organisations during 2020.
The funds were given to small organisations operating across Havant, Gosport, Fareham and Petersfield who are providing activities to support disadvantaged and vulnerable people in their local communities, thereby enabling them to address the barriers to social and financial inclusion.
The six organisations receiving grants were: Enterpride CIC, Frontline Petersfield, Hayling College, Headway Portsmouth and East Hampshire, the Kings Arms Youth Centre, and the Wecock Community Association.
Enterpride CIC is supporting greater work opportunities for people with learning disabilities at Storey Garden in Leigh Park. Our grant will enable development of a new community garden and help to purchase display units, cold storage facilities, seeds and plants, allowing fresh vegetables and produce to be sold at Staunton Country Park.
Debbie Lyall, Enterpride CIC, commented: These funds will enhance our provision, assisting us to develop a new enterprise initiative, The Plant & Produce Store, where our teams will market and sell what they grow. This will add a new ‘Supported Work Opportunity’ to our Staunton Country Park provision and hopefully paid work in the future for some. People with learning disabilities have less than a 6% chance of work, so this project is important and the funds essential.”
A grant for Hayling College in Havant is offering young people access to the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, allowing them to get involved in volunteering, learning new skills, training and the opportunity to take part in physical activities and expeditions.
Jonathan Pomfret, Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme Manager at Hayling College, said: “We’re incredibly grateful for this grant which will help us to make the Duke of Edinburgh experience accessible to any pupil with an interest. We understand that outdoor education can quickly become quite an expensive hobby – and with so many families having endured a really tough 2020, this funding will mean that no young person at The Hayling College will miss out because of finances.”
"Headway Portsmouth and South East Hampshire has seen a rise in mental health issues due to Covid-19, with the Group changing the way they deliver support to ensure clients remain safe."
Joy Ward, Funding Strategy & Trading Support Manager at Headway
Portsmouth and South East Hampshire, said: “We are thrilled to have received a grant to deliver an inclusive service for 100 adults in Gosport and Fareham, living with the effects of brain injury. Brain injury has a huge impact on family life, finances, and an individual’s relationships. Headway provides support with information, guidance, and training in a nurturing environment. The outreach programme will include structured social activities and sports therapy, enabling attendees to socialise, share experiences, offer peer support and build friendships.”