Newham Giving -working in partnership to target local giving

Tracey Walsh, Chief Executive of East End Community Foundation, reflects on the successes of the Newham Giving programme and the benefits of working in partnership to strategically target local giving

Tracey Walsh, Chief Executive of East End Community Foundation, reflects on the successes of the Newham Giving programme and the benefits of working in partnership to strategically target local giving

Over 25 years of local knowledge and experience, East End Community Foundation (EECF) has seen the multiple benefits a partnership approach can have, for both the community and donors, when tackling social need. This has been borne out in the success of our Newham Giving programme, first launched in 2014 as a means of co-ordinating donor support and distributing charitable resources to address pressing needs in the London borough of Newham.

Based on our own knowledge, research and feedback in the borough EECF identified a clear need for positive activities for young people, particularly during the summer period when incidents of anti-social behaviour can rise. Newham’s population is one of the youngest in England and Wales as over 40 per cent of the population are under 25 and the borough continues to have high levels of youth unemployment and children growing up in poverty. We were keen to complement Newham Council’s existing provision to prevent duplication of services and fill in the gaps where need is greatest and were therefore delighted to launch the fund with the support of Newham Council and Sir Robin Wales in April 2014.

Collective giving is both strategic and effective, as pooling together resources enables donors to boost their spending power and reach by working collectively with other partners. The strength of our research and careful prior planning put EECF in a strong position to approach organisations with a connection to Newham, either due to the history or location of the organisation – such as Tate and Lyle sugars, who have a refinery in Silvertown – or alignment with the programmes values – such as Northern Trust, whose CSR priorities focus on education and young people.

We maintained engagement with donors throughout the programme, shortlisting applications to take to a donor panel for approval and hosting a very successful project tour to show the companies involved what their donations were achieving at grassroots level. I was personally very impressed by the visit to Beckton Skills Centre, who helped 21 young people to gain a City and Guilds entry level 3 award in Motor Vehicle Maintenance and West Silvertown Foundation, who provided a programme of activities for over 100 children per day helping to significantly reduce incidents of crime and antisocial behaviour in the local area. Seeing the work of the committed staff and volunteers really helped bring the programme to life and also offered EECF and our donors a valuable opportunity to evaluate the achievements and outcomes of the projects first-hand.

EECF has a strong commitment to monitoring the success of the projects we support and by reviewing the reports submitted by the organisations funded, have identified a number of additional and unexpected outputs that add further value to the programme. Many of the organisations highlighted to EECF that there are no other funding opportunities to provide summer provision for children and young people in Newham and that, without funding from Newham Giving, there would have been no summer programmes available through their projects. The project outputs have also demonstrated a positive impact that extends beyond the children and young people who participated in the summer programmes, and into the families and wider community in Newham. For example, by providing activities for her child, one mother was able to move the family out of homeless accommodation by securing a job as a teaching assistant.

The personalised approach to partnership and philanthropy that place-based giving offers means our donors have trust in our services and have been happy to back expansion of the programme to provide October half-term holiday activities, as well as summer projects, significantly increase the amount of funding distributed in 2015 compared to the previous year.

To date, Newham Giving has awarded over £130,000 in funding since our launch supporting an estimated 3,000 young people across the borough. We are most grateful for the support of our donors Berwin Leighton Paisner, Clifford Chance, Northern Trust, Royal Docks Trust and Tate and Lyle. We would be delighted to have more local businesses and philanthropists join our partnership and I invite you to visit our website to find out more about our programmes.