Background to Building Change Trust

In 2007 five Northern Ireland regional voluntary organisations; The Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, Business in the Community, Volunteer Now, Community Evaluation NI and the Rural Community Network came together and developed a successful proposal, in response to an open invitation to tender issued by the Big Lottery Fund in Northern Ireland, for the creation of a new charitable Trust. 

This new Building Change Trust was endowed with a £10 million grant from the National Lottery to be expended over a 10 year period, 2008 – 2018, and with the intent that it would have a transformational impact on the voluntary and community sector and disadvantaged communities in Northern Ireland.

The Trust is an independent charity registered with the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (NIC103379) and governed by a corporate Trustee, the Building Change Trust Limited (NI071182). The 9 Directors of the corporate Trustee comprise a mix of people, some nominated by the five founding organisations and others openly recruited alongside a Protector appointed by the Big Lottery Fund

The Trust commenced work in 2009, initially by making transformative grants to its founding partners for individual and collaborative projects. Subsequently, through engaging deeply with the sector, 3 initial themes to guide investment and work were identified; Social Finance, Collaboration and Inspiring Impact, later and following more consultation two further themes were identified; Creative Space for Civic Thinking and Social Innovation.

The Trust website ( sets out in detail the range of work and actions taken under each theme over the past 9 plus years. 

Common across all of the themes has been an emphasis on 

  • working collaboratively with others.


  • working on and investing in issues where an intervention could make a strategic difference.


  • and working  on issues where there was the potential for longer term change beyond the life of the Trust itself. 

2018 is the Trust’s final year, with an expectation to realise a total expenditure of £12million following the original £10 million grant, before the work is concluded and the organisation dissolved after December 2018.