Place Based Work

As we approach our 25th anniversary, later this year, we have been thinking about how our organisational experience feeds into current conversations, strategic themes and partnerships.

Yesterday, we were really pleased to be invited to the Our Future conversation in Grimsby where colleagues old and new gathered to do something important, listen. Time spent building relationships and trust, understanding how familiar challenges manifest themselves in different communities are the essential underpinnings to any effort to be useful as an external agency.

Key Fund was founded with a sense of place, established by local people to help former coal and steel communities in South Yorkshire address their own challenges. We were built on principles of participative grant making, locally informed and led solutions and those tenets remain with us today.

In order to establish a sustainable fund, we have grown to cover The Midlands and The North of England, but local and thematic expertise still inform all our investment and non-investment activities. This is a thread that has run through our history, from devolved grant panels in Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield in 1999, to locally led social enterprise incubators in Grimsby and Newcastle in 2018. It continues today through our role as investment partner in Local Access programmes in Bradford, Gainsborough, Redcar, Cleveland and Hartlepool as well as in our main Investment Panel, where external expertise brings real value to our decision making.

Those partnerships are incredibly important to us. We know that if we are to be effective in our mission of “Right money at the right time, in the right way” local intelligence and a spread of expertise is vital. Over the years, we have partnered with VONNE and Lincolnshire Community Foundation to research barriers to investment in rural areas, worked with Nottingham City Council to pilot a city investment fund and run back-office investment processes for Local Trust, Kent Community Foundation and Northumberland County Council.

We are committed to sharing skills and resources in return and can bring an economy of scale that enables sustainable investment, something that is very hard to achieve on a local basis without significant investment of time and resources.

Sound working relationships have fuelled our development, we are keen to build new ones and always welcome a conversation, that’s why movements such as Our Future, are so valuable. If you would like to talk, please get in touch, let’s have a chat.

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