Meet the Board - Julie Harrison
After four years as a Director at Building Change Trust, Julie Harrison knows what she wants the organisation to achieve.
What is your role within the Building Change Trust?
I was nominated to be a Director by the Big Lottery Fund. Aside from the normal duties, I also chair the advisory group on Inspiring Impact and support the outcomes that it is trying to achieve. I am also interested in how the sector works with funders and measures the difference they are making.
I want to see the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector better supported to be able to articulate its case for the value it has and role that it plays.
What would you like to see the Trust achieve during its ten years?
I think it is important for the sector to recognise that the last few years and the next few will be very difficult. I would like the sector to be better able to respond to a changing funding landscape and to collaborate when it makes sense to do so.
We have seen from several case studies that the sector can bring huge value to the lives of many people when it does that. Together organisations are often better equip to provide solutions and bring services to the most vulnerable people in our society.
What was your career background before becoming a Director with the Trust?
I specialise in strategy development, facilitation, planning and relationship building that supports urban and community renewal, particularly when programmes or space are contested. Much of my work is in the space between communities and funding organisations, or between apparently competing agendas within the public sector.
In 2008, I was appointed to the Northern Ireland Committee of the ‘Big Lottery Fund’, which is responsible for allocating resources (£4.4 billion across the UK so far) to good causes and ensuring that good governance standards are maintained in the allocation of public funds.
How do you think your skills can benefit the organisation?
I do a lot of work in the space between the public and VCSE sectors so I have the benefit and added insight of understanding the needs of both sides. I can see when everyone is working together to try to achieve a shared goal, but I also recognise the challenges faced by both.
Do you think that the Trust is fulfilling its objectives?
I think it took time to make sure that the focus was right but I think that is OK. While we have a significant resource, it isn’t endless and it needs to be used in a targeted way.
There has been a lot of really exciting stuff over the last couple of years in areas like Inspiring Impact and Collaboration. It is great to see that what has been funded so far has brought real value to the sector.
People sometimes struggle to understand who we are and what we are doing but we have been trying to work hard to be clearer on the support that we are making available.
It is fair to say that the Trust is committed to helping the VCSE sector realise the opportunities that we are opening up.