The Trust in 2016 - Part 2
The Trust's Director of Operations, Nigel McKinney (left) with Trust Chairperson, Bill Osborne.

The Trust in 2016 - Part 2

28 January 2016

The Trust is closing its doors in 2018. In the second part of a special blog, we take a look at our work in 2016 CollaborationSocial Finance and Inspiring Impact


After years of successful work, the Trust’s contract with NICVA and partners for the provision of the CollaborationNI support service ends in June 2016.

We are working with them to consider how best to support continuation of what has become an essential service to the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Sector here in Northern Ireland, in the absence of support from the Trust.

CollaborationNI will we hope continue beyond June 2016, but we envisage the model will need to evolve to include a mix of free and paid for support and other funders will need to invest in the provision of support if they want to secure collaboration benefits.

We are also looking at what overlap there is and how synergies between collaboration support and the Inspiring Impact NI programme can be developed.

Social Finance

Our research projects with NI Environment Link and Arts and Business looking at the potential for social investment to finance the activity of the environment and arts sectors in NI respectively will report in the spring.

Both projects have been well received by their respective sectors with high levels of engagement at the research workshops and in stakeholder surveys.

Whilst it is too early to draw conclusions, it seems that the research is highlighting some similar issues as identified in previous research – in particular the need for investment readiness activity targeted at organisations and also the need for appropriate social finance products, such as unsecured lending for smaller amounts of money.

What is very clear even at this stage is that encouraging and enabling the use of social investment by arts, environment and other sub-sectors cannot happen without significant investment from both statutory and independent sources.

The Trust will be exploring how we might help develop a new product that meets a need not currently being met and as always are open to discussions with others with a like minded interest.

Our contract with Cooperative Alternatives for the Community Shares Ready! Programme comes to an end in March.

By then, the programme will have been operating for 3 years and has been successful in supporting the emergence of 2 new successful cooperative businesses - NI Community Energy and Down to Earth – and enabled the raising of significant sums of investment through share offers 180,000 through these two offers.

Given the huge success of the programme, we are providing support to Cooperative Alternatives to develop a s plan setting out the potential future of community shares support in NI – with the hope this will lead to securing future support for this way of doing business.

In 2016, we will also continue to work closely with Charity Bank to support their work in respect of deposit taking and loan making locally.

Inspiring Impact 

We are continuing our strategic partnership with CENI for a further 2 years to enable development and delivery of Phase 2 of the Inspiring Impact Programme and are investing £200,000 coupled with a £50,000 investment from the Department for Social Development.

Phase 2 of the Programme has started and will focus on 4 key areas – Developing Practice, Developing and Promoting Inspiring Impact Resources, Knowledge Exchange and dissemination, Policy development.

This phase of the programme is geared towards embedding the concept and practicalities of impact practice within the sector and its key funders to secure long term benefit.

In Part One of this blog, we looked at what we’ve got planned for Social Innovation and Creative Space for Civic Thinking. Check it out here

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