Our Plans for 2017 - Part 2
As Building Change Trust marks the end of its eighth year, we look forward with a keen focus on the work we’d like to complete in the remaining two years in the life the organisation.
Our emphasis now is on finding ways to make the biggest impact for the VCSE sector and to look at how best to pass on the baton so that the important work completed to date continues into the future.
From January we will continue our work engaging with sector organisations, funders, policy makers and other stakeholders to cement the final plans.
In 2008 the Trust was established by the Big Lottery Fund with a National Lottery grant of £10 million with the aim of developing community capacity building and promoting the VCSE sector in Northern Ireland.
With just two years until completion, we plan to earmark all remaining investment by the middle of 2017.
Indeed, some of our work has already concluded or will finish by December 2017. For example, our work on Collaboration came to a close in October 2016. We developed and funded CollaborationNI - collaboration itself between NICVA, CO3 and Stellar Leadership - an organisation dedicated to giving support and guidance to groups and organisations wanting to collaborate better and more effectively.
CollaborationNI continues to provide support to the sector – a legacy of this investment. Between 2011 and 2016 the programme supported over 1,000 organisations and 6000 individuals to work in partnership in Northern Ireland. It is hoped that this work continues long into the future as our partner organisations work to strengthen and develop new collaborative relationships.
It is planned that the Inspiring Impact theme of our work will conclude at the end of 2017. The focus of this final year is very much on demonstrating the benefits of adopting good impact practice – for voluntary and community organisations, for social enterprises, for funders, for commissioners and for investors.
We will develop and publish good practice guides, learning, tips and challenges for organisations who want to improve how they work and become more impact-focused. We are planning a series of practice learning sessions for our Impact Network that will commence in early 2017.
We commenced Phase 2 of Inspiring Impact NI at the start of 2016, working with CO3, NICVA, Volunteer Now, Sported, Playboard, Community Development & Health Network and Youthnet, which will all receive support from our delivery partner, Community Evaluation Northern Ireland.
Our work in social finance is also planned to conclude in 2017. We continue to work with Co-operative Alternatives on the Community Shares Ready programme to help promote this new model of raising finance. The project has seen a number of successful share offers and work is underway to help existing and developing co-operatives consider whether this model of raising finance will suit them.
In addition, our loan fund set up with UCIT is proving incredibly successful and fulfilling a need in the VCSE sector for loans for small amounts that are unsecured. The new fund provides small unsecured loans of £1,000 - £25,000 which cannot currently be raised from traditional sources. The loans can be used for a wide range of purposes, including buildings and repairs, equipment purchase, making facilities more energy efficient or funding shortfalls in larger grant assisted projects.
There is no doubt that 2017 will be an interesting year and that there is still so much to be done – we look forward with excitement to continuing this work and ensuring that the impact is felt well beyond 2018.