Lloyds Bank Foundation awards £450,000 in grants to infrastructure charities to support a strong local ecosystem

Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales has awarded £450,000 in grants to 15 local infrastructure charities in England and Wales who are continuing to coordinate, advocate for and support small charities working on the frontline of this health crisis.


Throughout the crisis, infrastructure charities have been the backbone of small and local charities. They have helped to streamline and coordinate local services, fostering partnerships between charities and local councils, the NHS and other statutory bodies, mobilising volunteers and advocating for small and local charities. Despite this, many of these infrastructure charities are struggling to attract funding whilst the pandemic has hit their own income streams hard.  This in turn is affecting the whole charity ecosystem and ability for small and local charities to effectively deliver services.


The Foundation has awarded core cost grants of £30,000 to these charities as part of its ongoing response to COVID-19. Alongside this, the Foundation is providing opportunities for grant holders to learn from each other and to access additional organisational development support. The unrestricted funding and dedicated development support will provide the breathing space infrastructure charities need to be able to identify and address key organisational challenges they will face over the next 12 months as they recover from the crisis.


Paul Streets, Chief Executive of the Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales, said: “Infrastructure charities have played a vital role to ensure that the response to the pandemic has been effective and locally rooted. These locally embedded organisations know the complex challenges facing their communities and are helping small charities to adapt to the challenges they’ve faced over the last ten months.


“Crucially, these organisations are also helping to raise the importance of small charities that provide local services.”


Grants were awarded to infrastructure charities that have been pivotal in organising community-based responses to the pandemic. The areas selected for funding in England were those that face particularly acute challenges, according to both the Community Needs Index and the Indices of Multiple Deprivation.  


While the pandemic has affected many facets of society it has disproportionately impacted Black, Asian, and minority ethnic communities.


One charity which was awarded this funding, the Black South West Network (BSWN), is a member organisation of 1,600 charities and non-profit organisations in the region. The charity acts as a conduit for its members, helping them to access voluntary sector funding which small Black, Asian, and minority ethnic led charities traditionally have unequal access to.


The charity’s director, Sado Jirde, said: “Support from Lloyds Bank Foundation has enabled BSWN to expand our reach into the South West to strengthen the capacity, funding, and collaborations of local Black and Asian organisations and groups, more so now than ever with Covid and the economic recession.”

She added: “We will listen, provide a voice, help them achieve influence, gain support, and share information regularly with those Black and Asian organisations on the frontline. Our goal is to take positive action on the systemic racism exposed and compounded by Covid in ways that make a difference in the lives of local communities. We bring proven methods, good practice and importantly, a willingness to learn and work collaboratively.”


Another charity the Foundation funded through its infrastructure grants was Middlesbrough Voluntary Development Agency (MVDA). Mark Davis, the charity’s Chief Executive, said: “[The grant] offers us the breathing space we need to plan for the future so that we continue to make a long-term difference in Middlesbrough by supporting voluntary and community and action.  It will support us to drive forward new and different ways of working so that we can continue to represent the interests and amplify the voices of small but vital charities.” 


He added: “The grant is important to us.  Just as is the opportunity to work with a development partner as we plan the journey to shape our future.


Infrastructure charities like BSWN and MVDA are vital to local charities and, in turn, the people and communities these local charities support.


The programme highlights the Foundation’s commitment to local and regional infrastructure organisations, helping them to advocate for better funding and support for small and local charities which will remain at the heart of community responses to COVID-19 and a core part of local areas building back better.




For more information, please contact censor@lloydsbankfoundation.org.uk or 07384535633. For a full list of the charities we're funding through our infrastructure stream, please click here.


Notes to editor:


About Lloyds Bank Foundation  


Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales partners with small and local charities who help people overcome complex social issues. Through funding for core costs, developmental support and influencing policy and practice, the Foundation helps charities make life-changing impact.  

During 2020, the Foundation awarded £24.8m to small and local charities helping people facing disadvantage. With the unprecedented circumstances of coronavirus such charities have been never more needed. The Foundation is an independent charitable trust funded by the profits of Lloyds Banking Group. 


About Black South West Network


BSWN’s over-arching strategic intent is to build dynamic, independent, and strong BAME communities, businesses and organisations that are empowered to flourish while challenging systemic barriers and forging a true path for themselves. We believe that only through this will we significantly address racial inequality. All our portfolio feeds into this aim.

Our work falls into three broad areas - Cross-sector Enterprise and Innovation; Cultural Inclusion; Research and Knowledge – with Scrutiny and Accountability and Representation and Power as an over-arching themes that cut through all our work.

Over the years, BSWN has developed a strong reputation for evidence driven work based on our own robust and academically sound research. We have started to fill the significant gaps in knowledge that are created by the lack of focus on the specific understandings, experiences, needs, wants, feelings and aspirations of the BAME communities in Bristol and the region.


About Middlesbrough Voluntary Development Agency (MVDA)

MVDA was established in 2002 as the primary infrastructure organisation for Middlesbrough's voluntary and community sector (VCS), now known as the local support and development organisations (LSDO).


About the datasets used to assess applications

 The areas that were selected for grants were those that face particularly acute challenges. In England, the Foundation combined data from the Community Needs Index, which brings together data looking at civic assets, connectedness, and active and engaged communities, as well as the Indices of Multiple Deprivation to identify the 25 local authority areas facing the greatest challenges on these measures.

In Wales, where the same data sets aren’t available, the Foundation identified counties where it funds clusters of small and local charities. This is because a key focus for this work is to ensure that infrastructure charities can advocate for small and local charities and push for changes to local systems.

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