This summer the Foundation welcomed interns Emily and Emma to our team. In this blog post, the two students reflect on what they will take away from their time at an independent grant making foundation, and why they think our partnership with the Bank has powerful potential.
Why Lloyds Bank Foundation is worth knowing about
The best kept secret in the Bank is its own Foundation
This statement certainly rang true for me before being offered an internship in the Foundation as part of the Lloyds Scholars Programme. Initially, I incorrectly assumed the Foundation fell within one of the Bank’s streams; so writing this reflection, nearing the conclusion of my ten-week placement, is a great opportunity to portray a snapshot of this independent organisation and its dedicated teams, from an alternative perspective. Whether you are a fellow Scholar, a Bank colleague, a grantee or a casual follower of the Foundation, it is worth knowing about the crucial and compassionate work of this thirty-strong team that touches every part of our community.
The Foundation offers holistic support packages to small and medium sized charities who assist clients in breaking from cycles of multiple disadvantage. In my first week, I processed applications for the summer round of Invest, one of the Foundation’s two funding programmes that allow charities to develop and increase their reach in the communities they serve. Grant-recipients can then benefit from the Foundation’s Enhance programme, which offers non-financial, tailored support to help these smaller charities prosper in an increasingly competitive and turbulent environment.
Only after visiting real grantees in London and my home county of Dorset did I fully appreciate the essential work of grant makers in ensuring the continued existence of local charities, who are often the only link to those most marginalised in society. Paradoxically, it is the most ostracised groups, concerning the most stigmatic issues like sex-work and offending, that struggle to gain recognition and support from mainstream society; it is here the Foundation and its committed staff step in to provide much needed assistance.
I will take so much more away from these ten weeks than I ever thought; the tangible impact of the Foundation on communities across England and Wales was something I knew hopelessly little about before starting this experience. The relationship between large corporates and the third sector can seem mismatched at times, but by committing funding to the Foundation, Lloyds Banking Group is not only strengthening its Helping Britain Prosper Plan, but also allowing this indispensable organisation to fulfil its promise of Breaking Disadvantage, Bettering Lives.
Emily Rigler-Gillingham, 1st Year Law student, University of Bristol
A cross-sector partnership
Ask many Lloyds Bank colleagues and they may well not know the Lloyds Bank Foundation exists. And yet – if you listen closely – you will hear moving stories about schemes scattered across England and Wales where the two organisations work in close partnership to deliver priceless work in communities.
Their Charity Mentoring Programme is one scheme to take inspiration from. Bank staff are matched to Foundation funded charities and, using their expertise in areas such as strategy and business development, they help support the charity to become stronger and more sustainable, not to mention improving the bank colleague’s own skills. This mutual endeavour tackles the Foundation’s long-term mission of Breaking Disadvantage; Bettering Lives while simultaneously furthering Lloyds Banking Group’s (LBG) commitment to Helping Britain Prosper. Both organisations – despite representing different sectors – share the same ultimate goal, so working together makes perfect sense.
And just think how much more the two could achieve with increased awareness of the Foundation among the Bank’s 75,000 employees. Possibilities are endless – imagine, for instance, if the 260,000 hours of volunteering bank colleagues gave last year were used to support small to medium charities that work to break multiple disadvantage. Or envisage the domino effect of a collaborative piece of work between the Foundation and the Bank’s Responsible Business Division showing fiscal benefits of assisting ‘vulnerable’ customers to gain from bank profits. The Foundation’s expertise and knowledge, coupled with the Bank’s well-known brand and presence could help to raise awareness about key issues the Foundation supports that are sure to affect the Bank’s customers – from homelessness, to domestic abuse, from addiction, to isolation.
While the Bank can be found on almost every high street, the Foundation supports work on almost every backstreet. It seems to me that a bigger and better partnership could increase impact 10-fold. Could it be that in our wariness not to blur the lines between business and charity we are all missing out on creating even more positive change? Agreed, a healthy independent balance must remain, but combining unique expertise that sit on both sides can make powerful things happen, as seen through the Charity Mentoring Programme. So, what will I take with me into my next role in the bank as a Lloyds Scholar? Well first and foremost it would be the Foundation’s URL and a copy of the 2016 Impact Report – I think this secret is too well kept.
Emma Evans, 1st Year International Relations and Politics student, University of Sheffield