Local funders collaborate for impact


Magazine article

Funders around the country have joined together to network and share learning on supporting local projects. Below are descriptions and contact details of each UK regional funders forum. For more information, please contact your respective forum directly.


Cumbria Funding Network

An informal network of private foundations and trusts active in Cumbria meet twice a year to network and share best practice. They do not offer any services but two of the larger members are willing to discuss funding issues in Cumbria generally with interested parties.

North East Funders’ Forum

Membership of the North East Funders’ Forum is open to all funders of the voluntary and community sector in the North East – the area stretching from Northumberland to the Tees Valley. This includes trusts and foundations and statutory bodies. It has 46 members and meets informally once a month to discuss current funding issues such as full cost recovery and procurement. Membership is free.

  • Contact: Linda Whitfield, Manager, Funding Information North East, Tel: 0191 477 1253, manager@fine.org.uk
North East Trust Secretaries Group (NETSG)

NETSG is open to all grant-making trusts and foundations in the North East – the area stretching from Northumberland to the Tees Valley. Other funders such as the Big Lottery Fund also attend, but not statutory bodies. Membership is free, and the group meets bi-monthly for two hours, when there is a presentation and discussion on a topical issue. Once a year it hosts a full-day training meeting – this year’s topic was the Charities Act 2006.

North West Funders’ Forum

Plans to create a North West Funders’ Forum are still at an early stage. The Forum aims to bring together funding advice workers and others in the VCS who want to share information and experiences, and want to contribute to a dialogue with funding organisations. It is expected to run in parallel with a network of funding bodies, both charitable and public sector that currently exists as an e-network.

  • Contact: Mark Dawson, European Policy Officer, Voluntary Sector North West, Tel: 0161 276 9300, mark.dawson@vsnw.org.uk
Yorkshire Regional Grant Makers’ Forum

A collective of voluntary grant-making bodies active in North, West and South Yorkshire and Humberside. Some 20 to 30 trusts attend its sessions, which run twice a year, themed around specific issues such as children, rural issues or the Charities Act.

West Midlands Funders’ Forum

The 12 or so members of the new West Midlands Funders’ Forum are determined to re-establish a Forum following the lapse of the previous one. The first meeting took place in February 2007 and work is underway to define the terms of reference and membership criteria. This currently includes trusts and foundations and other voluntary sector funders, and is likely to extend to public sector funders and regional bodies. Meetings take place every two-to-three months and members hope it will be fully up and running by the beginning of 2008.

West Midlands Charitable Trusts Group (WMCTG)

The West Midlands Charitable Trusts Group is open to charitable trusts and foundations and other charities funding the voluntary sector. Membership is currently £47 for organisations and £19 for individuals, who tend to be linked to a trust or foundation, as a trustee or administrator, for example. WMCTG has around 70 members and runs a programme of events and activities throughout the year, normally including two networking meetings and an annual business meeting, and around three seminars or workshops around specific issues. It also arranges visits to organisations of interest to members, to find out about innovative working practices, for example.

East Midlands Funders’ Forum

The East Midlands Funders’ Forum is made up of a diverse range of over 200 funders in the region. Members include charitable trusts, the lottery distributors, East Midlands Development Agency (emda), Government Office for the East Midlands (GOEM), local authorities and private companies. Membership is free. The Forum organises a range of events for funders to network and be aware of developments such as changes in government policy. It also provides training for grant-makers and grant-seekers in areas such as full cost recovery, and supports funding advisors. It provides information to organisations seeking funds and runs a web- and paper-based funding index.

Funding East

Funding East brings together funders and funding advisors in the East of England. It offers free membership to all funders and funding advisors in the area, including trusts and foundations, local authorities and voluntary sector bodies. Individual members are also welcome. Funding East organises four big information sharing events a year, generally themed around a funding issue such as community involvement. It also runs a mentoring scheme to support people who are new to the roles of funding advice and fund giving.

London Funders

Membership is open to all London-based local authorities, public, independent charitable trusts and corporate funders and to all charitable funders and investors in the capital's voluntary and community sector. There are approximately 100 members and their combined expenditure on a wide variety of voluntary action in London is approximately £600m per annum. Subscription rates are based on annual grant-making expenditure (or equivalent). Rates for 2007 range from £1,450 to £150. Services include networking and briefing events, a bi-monthly newsletter, quarterly seminars with high profile speakers, project group meetings on specific issues, access to a members’ website featuring many useful resources for funders.

Funders’ Forum South West

The Funders’ Forum is open to all funders of the voluntary and community sector including social enterprise in South West England. This includes trusts and foundations, lottery distributors, statutory bodies and local authorities.
Aims of the forum include influencing policy through research, networking and joint working to share best practice, and improving service delivery through training. Membership is free. It runs a programme of seminars and events, including a joint conference with funding advisers. It has also recently commissioned a Funders’ Knowledge Review.

South East Voluntary Sector Funders’ Forum (SEVSFF)

Membership of SEVSFF is free and open to all funders of the voluntary sector in the South East, including trusts and foundations, voluntary sector organisations, local authorities, corporates, government agencies and individuals. It is currently looking to strengthen its existing network of 15 to 30 members. It holds quarterly meetings to provide a focus for the sharing of information and best practice and discussion of ways to improve partnerships.

Funders' Forum for Northern Ireland

A forum for all funders in Northern Ireland, including independent charitable trusts and foundations, statutory bodies, intermediary funding bodies, government departments and local authorities. The Forum aims to promote sharing and information between funders at a strategic level, to promote best practice and effective use of resources, and to identify and seek to address any gaps in the delivery of funding programmes. It has a steering committee and around 200 interested organisations. The Forum organises conferences and seminars, and publishes an occasional ebriefing.

Northern Ireland Trusts Group

An informal network of independent trusts and foundations funding projects in Northern Ireland, the Trusts Group has around 20 members. It meets infrequently, generally with an open agenda to discuss practical issues of relevance to independent funders and to exchange ideas, network and share best practice.

  • Contact: Neil Irwin, Member Services Manager, Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA), Tel: 028 9087 7777, neil.Irwin@nicva.org
Scottish Grant-Making Trusts Group

The Scottish Grant-Making Trusts Group is an informal group of individuals working with trusts and foundations operating in Scotland. The Group allows individual members to share industry best practice and, through dialogue, to keep up to date on matters affecting the charity and voluntary sector. The forum also provides opportunities for networking and working together. The Group does not, in itself, make grants. Currently, there are 26 members, representing a wide cross-section of trusts and grant-makers.