Welcome to the new look Building Change Trust Website

Welcome to the new look Building Change Trust Website

15 October 2013

Welcome to the new and improved Building Change Trust website.

We hope it will be a useful guide in helping you keep up to date with the Trust and how we are working to support community, voluntary organisations and social enterprises in Northern Ireland across our 6 themes of Social finance, Collaboration, Inspiring Impact, Social Innovation, Creative Space for Civic Thinking and Leadership.

From the outset, you will see the site is set out into 6 distinct sections, each containing news, resources and information about our 6 main themes of work.

We are dedicated to working in the area of collaboration, helping organisations to work better together to make a difference.  

As a sign of this dedication, we have committed £2million towards this theme and having commissioned the CollaborationNI service and implemented a Collaboration Enabling Fund we have now asked the Institute for Voluntary Action Research (IVAR) to consider: 

1. What are the future support needs (between now and 2018) of Northern Ireland’s community and voluntary sector organisations with respect to collaboration?

2. In response to those needs how can support best be provided between now and 2018? 

Social Finance is also a key area of the Trust’s work. Focus in this area was a primary objective of the Trust in its original business plan with £2 million allocated towards this area of work. 

We believe innovation, and change, in the funding and financing of the Northern Ireland community and voluntary sector are both inevitable and desirable.

Having made a capital grant of £1million to Charity Bank the focus of our work has now changed and we are working with them, and others, to consider investment readiness and new social finance product needs for Northern Ireland and have commissioned Cooperative Alternatives to deliver a Community Shares pilot project here.

We believe Social Innovation, in both the digital and non-digital realms, is essential to the development of the sector here and are committed to expanding our knowledge, and practice, in this exciting area of work.

Over the next five years the Trust will endeavour to support organisations at all stages of their journey into the world of social innovation, whether it be generating new ideas, piloting projects, scaling up, or promoting broader systemic change.

We will do this through providing opportunities for exchange and learning, stimulating debate on key issues, capacity support to organisations and networks, as well as the provision of targeted grant funding and financial assistance. 

The Northern Ireland community and voluntary sector has for decades been a key interlocutor between citizens and the state, often representing the interests of the most vulnerable and marginalised members of the community.

This was especially the case during the long years of the Troubles when there were no local regional political institutions.

However, since the Good Friday Agreement and the dawning of the era of devolved government, the sector has perhaps struggled to realign its role in light of the new governance arrangements and has perhaps become an instrument for service delivery at a cost to its independence.

Nonetheless, there are some key opportunities on the horizon to redress the increasing imbalance between the sector and government.

In light of these opportunities and challenges the Building Change Trust has identified ‘Creative Space for Civic Thinking’ as one of its key strategic themes for the coming years.

As part of this work we have, and will continue to, commission opinion pieces on various relevant topics challenging the sector to look at itself and decide what the best next steps are to take.

Leadership by , of and within the sector are key issues  and we  will be dedicating significant time and effort into exploring the issue and considering  how leadership within the sector can be more innovative and impactful.

Finally, the Trust is one of the 8   partners in the UK wide Inspiring Impact programme, a ten year programme supporting the sector to place impact at the heart of what it does.

The sector is coming under increasing pressure to demonstrate the value it adds and the difference it makes to the lives of the individuals, families and communities which it serves.

In Northern Ireland there is a well ingrained culture of financial accountability arrangements but this needs to be complemented with a focus on outcomes – the benefits to clients and beneficiaries which result from interventions.

The Trust thinks it is important voluntary and community organisations can articulate clearly the difference they hope to make and are able to reliably measure what they achieve and to communicate this to funders and other stakeholders.

Funders too need to ensure that their investments achieve the results they expect and that the sector as a whole is able to learn about “what works”, and what doesn’t, in order to inform future investments.

We at the Trust are excited about the work ahead of us , we hope this new website will inform and help you  know what we are doing, and come along with us.

If you have any suggestions for improvements or ideas of how we can work, collaborate, or innovate better, just let us know. 

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