Harriet Stranks, Director of Grants at Lloyds Bank Foundation for England & Wales sheds light on the Foundation’s flagship Enhance programme and how charities can make best use of all the extra support on offer.
Here at Lloyds Bank Foundation we consider ourselves more than just a funder. We recognise the value of small and local charities and are committed to doing everything we can to support you to survive and thrive in this tough economic climate.
With over 30 years’ experience of awarding charities grants, we recognised that there was more we could do to help you become stronger and more sustainable so you can keep supporting people facing disadvantage in the years to come.
Three years ago, we developed a new programme called ‘Enhance’. The programme aims to offer the charities we fund through our grants a menu of bespoke and tailored support that can help them to grow stronger, become more fundable and ultimately improve more lives through the services and support they provide.
And even better, we help you identify suitable suppliers or consultants who have experience working with small and medium-sized charities – and the bill’s on us!
There are so many areas of support available through Enhance, including (but not limited to):
- Practical and tangible help such as improving social media skills, website development or even support to renew a lease.
- Leadership skills for senior charity staff such as courses from School for Social Entrepreneurs, Ella Forums for similarly minded voluntary sector leaders in your region or taking part in action learning sets. We know small charity leaders relish the opportunity to share ideas, opportunities and challenges, learn from and support each other.
- Mentoring opportunities for charity staff made possible through our access to the skills and expertise from within Lloyds Banking Group. Lloyds staff bring with them many useful and practical transferable skills but also a passion for helping a local organisation. Positively, we have noticed significant numbers choosing to take on a more formal role with the charity, such as becoming trustee when their mentor relationship comes to an end.
Charities often tell us they feel like a kid in a sweet shop when we explain what’s available through Enhance and often naturally initially want everything on offer. From experience, we know that this approach isn’t sensible in the long run so your local Grant Manager, who will already have a deep knowledge of your charity, will be on hand to help you to consider your charity’s needs, priorities, and the actions you might need to take to get to where you aspire to be in three years’ time.
Charities often tell us they feel like a kid in a sweet shop when we explain what’s available through Enhance
Each charity’s Enhance journey is different. Some start from a tactical need with immediate impact whilst others take a more strategic approach and revisit mission, vision and values. Often a large factor in what’s possible is the time and energy charities can realistically commit to these development opportunities.
It is key for charities to remember that, for Enhance to really come in to its own, there needs to be genuine trust and openness between themselves and their Grant Manager.
Sometimes it can be tricky for charities to feel like they can be totally honest with us and we understand this. But we do sincerely see ourselves as your critical friend, not just a grant giver and we want you to be able to tell us when things are going wrong. Our simple aim is to ensure you get the best and most appropriate support to strengthen your charity. It’s important to us that we maintain your confidence, so we choose not to stay involved once we have commissioned the support you need. That’s down for you to manage with your consultant/ supplier, unless you ask for our help.
Our simple aim is to ensure you get the best and most appropriate support to strengthen your charity
Since we launched Enhance, we’ve arranged 436 packages of support for charities across England and Wales. This hefty menu of support, available to charities in each year of their grants life cycle, is only expanding as demand rises. So, if you’re a Foundation funded grantee, what are you waiting for? Contact your Grant Manager and take advantage of our offer to enhance your already fantastic work.