The Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation (BLCF) has impacted thousands of lives over its 20-year history. Its work is vital for transforming communities across Bedfordshire and Luton.
The foundation supports organisations addressing issues such as food, fuel and digital poverty; mental health and inequality; or combating isolation, but cannot do so without the individuals and funders who support its causes, initiatives and campaigns.
BLCF is one of 47 Community Foundations throughout the UK, each charitable organisation supporting a defined area and managing grant-making programmes that tackle the geographical and demographical needs of their local area.
Community Foundations have an expert understanding of the issues in their area and know how to deliver funding to tackle them, building partnerships and create funding programmes to create change.
These programmes are funded by:
- Donations from individuals or families
- Donations from businesses
- Administering funds on behalf of businesses
- Local authority grant-making programmes
- National or government funded programmes
In 2021, BLCF celebrated 20 years of service in the county. It grew from very humble beginnings to managing funds of £5.4m by 2020/21, doing this through developing partnerships to deliver national and local grants. These include working with County Champions such as the High Sheriff, the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire.
The foundation collaborates with corporate partners such as Luton Rising (formerly London Luton Airport Ltd), Anglia Water, Whitbread plc and London Luton Airport Operations Limited. It runs four separate funds for Luton Rising, ranging from £25,000 to £3.1m.
In 2020-21, BLCF took the initiative to bring partners together across the county to create the Bedfordshire Coronavirus Emergency Fund. This fund raised almost half a million pounds in the first three months of the pandemic. The money was distributed to charities whose ability to deliver was under threat. By the end of the year, the fund distributed nearly £1m.
At the end of 2021, BLCF was recognised for its work, being named Community Business of the Year by Love Luton. In the Bedfordshire and Luton Community Awards the organisation was presented with a special award for services to our communities.
Vision and values
The Foundation’s vision is to ensure ‘Local Focus. Lasting Change’ across the county, as well as linking to a global context by aligning its work to UN Sustainable Development Goals.
BLCF never works alone, but endeavours to deliver its work in a strategic context of its partners, funders, and stakeholders – to add support, not duplicate.
Its vision is of a Bedfordshire that is thriving, collaborative and inclusive – where there is opportunity for all and the lives of the most disadvantaged have been transformed through innovative, community-based solutions.
Its mission is to be a catalyst for positive social change in the county by connecting people, ideas, resources and needs to make a lasting difference in Bedfordshire.
During the year from April 2020 to March 2021, BLCF processed 465 applications.
The key issues addressed by applications were:
- Poverty and disadvantage
- Health, wellbeing and serious illness
- Stronger communities
- Charities in Bedfordshire and Luton used these grants to support and change the lives of more than 250,000 people in the county.
Working with business
Most businesses would like to do more to support the community, even though the last couple of years have been extremely challenging. BLCF can help businesses develop their CSR impact through:
- The Business for Communities Fund – your charitable contribution combines with other businesses to create a fund to support the causes that you care about most.
- A Young Future Skills Bursary Fund – to support individuals gain experience and first steps on a career path.
- Creating a ‘Named fund’ – using BLCF’s expertise, reach and specialist administrative skills to ensure that your charitable funding reaches your targets.
- Showcasing your community spirit by giving a focus for your staff through team fundraising initiatives.
- Building your legacy through a future endowment fund in your name.
- Providing opportunities for sponsorship though events, programmes and initiatives hosted by BLCF.
To find out more about how BLCF can support your business to support the community, get in touch for a conversation. BLCF will work with you to achieve your goals. Call 01525 306690, or email Michele.email@example.com to find out more