Our purpose is to help put people on a path to a better everyday life. This goes beyond just helping our customers, it includes society as a whole. One of the ways that we do this is by supporting small voluntary organisations through our partnerships with Community Foundations around the country.
Through these paertnerships, we provide support to small voluntary organisations which are working directly in their communities to help tackle the barriers which prevent social and financial inclusion.
in 2021, the Funds have enabled us to award grants to a number of voluntary money advice organisations and projects. These organisations are firmly rooted in their communities and are therefore able to provide specialist, culturally appropriate support at a local level. You can learn more about this in the case studies at the foot of this page.
Working with Community Foundations
Community Foundations are place-based funders, working with local donors, funders and businesses to make sure that their grant-making tackles issues that are pertinent to the areas where they are based.
We’ve developed partnerships with Community Foundations throughout the UK to enable us to distribute grants effectively to organisations who are supporting the communities where our business operates.
Their local community insight and expertise is crucial to our partnerships. By working with Community Foundations, we can be confident that we’re directing our funding to where it is needed the most. And, in doing so, contribute to the sustainability of the small charity sector.
The impacts of the Pandemic
The impact of the pandemic has been felt massively within the voluntary sector as the true cost to our
communities carries on emerging. And there has been no doubt about the hugely important contribution that community organisations have made to maintaining as much support as possible for those who are most vulnerable in society.
It's no coincidence that their deep-rooted understanding of the people who need them has led to incredible levels of trust and engagement. Whilst they have been on the frontline of service provision, they have also taken opportunities to redefine their services.
Assessing what they do and how they do it has led to innovative solutions and deploying resources in new and different ways. Their resilience has been remarkable and it must be acknowledged that their response has never been more vital as they have had to rise to the challenge of unprecedented and sustained increases in demand for their services.
How we’ve provided support during the pandemic
At the start of the pandemic in 2020, we prioritised our funding to ensure that grantees were offered
flexibility where they needed it. Some voluntary organisations needed emergency income to ensure
their immediate viability could continue (e.g. to cover the additional costs to adapt services to deliver in
new and different ways, including digitally). Some were able to adapt their income streams to cover
these costs and were keen to protect pipeline funding to enable them to continue delivering planned work
as soon as they were able to do so again. We have maintained open and honest dialogue with our community foundation partners to ensure we remain responsive to the needs of the small charity sector. The partnerships have meant we have had the confidence that our funds have been channelled effectively to the activities and organisations which have been needed the most in our communities. As a responsible funder this has been crucial to our approach.
In 2021, we were able to award grants totalling £307k to 51 community organisations.
We have been working with Vanquis Banking Group for more than seven years now and in that time it has donated more than £293,000 to 64 organisations across Kent. Its support has made a genuine difference to these small,
local community organisations and the people they serve. It’s always a fun and enjoyable experience meeting PFG staff and helping them to make decisions about where its money goes. This is a unique corporate partnership in that its staff are actively involved in the decisions about where the money goes locally which I think is really important to help highlight local issues and engage staff in a meaningful way. It is our only fund-holder which does this.
Josephine McCartney, Chief Executive, Kent Community Foundation
How the Funding works
We start with our Strategic criteria. All our funding is rooted in:
Improving people’s personal finance capabilities (debt and financial advice/education)
- Improving physical and/or mental health
- Providing support which enhances, creates and sustains positive family relationships
- Addressing issues of low educational attainment and improving learning outcomes
- Providing people with opportunities to reduce inequality, exclusion and disadvantage, including projects which increase access to employment
And we work with our Partners to understand where the needs are. Click the links below to learn more about the organisations we partner with. Our partners include:
Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Foundation
Once we’ve got an understanding of the need, we consider how to disperse the funds through our Colleague grant panel. You can read more about this process in our Corporate Responsibility Report.
The grants panel gave me a greater appreciation of the diversity within our society, and a glimpse into some amazing work that takes place. I had a real sense of responsibility by contributing to the decisions on funding. Everyone on the panel wants to make a real difference.”
Internal Audit Manager
Click on the tabs below to read some examples of the organisations we’ve provided grants to.
KMEWO has been providing specialist support services for Kurdish, Middle Eastern, and North African women for over 21 years. KMEWO is an organisation that is accredited as ‘led by and for black and minoritised women that strives for equality, safety, justice, and empowerment. KMEWO provides specialist violence against women and girls (VAWG) services and crisis intervention to some of the most vulnerable minoritised women who are survivors of domestic violence and harmful practices, including female genital mutilation, forced marriage, and ‘honor-based violence. Its approach is a combination of individual and group holistic activities designed to help survivors of VAWG through recovery.
KMEWO is a member of the London VAWG Consortium, Imkaan, and the Women’s Aid Federation, working in partnership with a wide range of organisations, as well as VAWG coordinators and statutory services across London to influence and improve policy and practices supporting minoritised women.
Our funding is enabling KMEWO to provide digital skills training, ESOL support, and employment coaching to 15 marginalised ethnic minority women over six months in North London, through its ‘Breaking Digital and Personal Barriers to Employment’ project. The project will work with women to break down the barriers they face in achieving their personal goals including low digital skills, childcare, caring responsibilities, language, self-esteem, self-worth, low confidence, and lack of support.
Workshops and training will include one-to-one advice and guidance sessions to identify barriers; digital skills learning (how to keep safe online, emails, setting up, accessing, and installing apps, virtual meetings, using social media, and skills to create documents); ESOL for employability; coaching and career-building workshops to prepare women for volunteering or employment opportunities; and personalised one-to-one employment support including online job searching and CV creation.
Alongside workshops and training, the women will receive advice, support, and counselling to support their recovery from domestic violence (funded separately). PFG’s funding will cover the core costs of an Employability Support Worker for six months to coordinate the project and work individually with each woman to support goal setting and access to support, advice and counselling. It will also be used for tutor costs for digital skills, ESOL and employability workshops.
Y Services, a charity in Hampshire, supports the development and delivery of quality youth work that meets the needs of young people in some of the County’s local communities. The charity works with a network of local community organisations, local agencies, schools and
statutory organisations to provide the most appropriate support to the young people referred to them.
Over the past two years, the charity has seen that pandemic-related lockdowns have resulted in vulnerable young people being isolated from positive role models, support networks and the range of engaging activity that drew them away from risk-taking behaviours. The ongoing
Covid-19 restrictions have also led to a rise in poor coping strategies, alcohol and drug misuse, and the feelings of loneliness and being unworthy. All of this has led to a negative impact on their mental health, aspirations, confidence in the future and self-belief. LGBTQ+ young
people and young people with disabilities such as autism have struggled even more.
Our funding is supporting a project which focuses on LGBTQ+ young people in Havant, Gosport and Fareham who are struggling with their emotional mental health. One-to-one and small group work will be delivered throughout the year, including during school holidays, when
positive activities will be promoted as well as engagement that reduces isolation, provides positive social interactions, and builds resilience and an understanding of where to gain appropriate support when needed. This critical intervention work is needed to ensure that
the mental health of young LGBTQ+ people does not deteriorate further.
Bethel Trust Port Talbot is a charity based in Aberavon, Port Talbot, which is an area of Wales that has one of the highest levels of deprivation. Most of its clients are long-term unemployed and struggle with food poverty, financial difficulties, addiction and mental health issues. The charity seeks to serve its local community in real and practical ways, enabling people to make positive choices for themselves, and enhance the quality of their lives.
The Bethel Trust supports its local community through various projects including a scheme that distributes free surplus supermarket food, a FareShare discount food shop, a free clothing service (for homeless clients and domestic abuse victims), internet access and IT support, benefits advice, and a weekly addiction recovery support group. Clients can also access volunteer and leadership training and opportunities.
The grant we provided to the Trust in 2021 is contributing to the core costs of establishing a money advice service. Through conversations that the Bethel Trust has had with its clients, it has identified a current pressing need for money management support and also helps to address financial difficulties. Although there is some local money advice provision in the local area, this is significantly over-subscribed, especially due to the ongoing impacts of Covid-19. Bethel Trust’s service will be run in partnership with Community Money Advice (CMA), a well-established national charity committed to supporting community groups that have a passion to help people overcome their money problems. CMA provides all the resources, training, and support needed by the Trust to establish and maintain local, free, face-to-face money advice services.
Keighley Association for Women and Children’s Centre (KAWACC) is a small, needs-driven organisation that advocates for vulnerable and disadvantaged women. With a grant from The Manjit Wolstenholme Fund, set up in memory of PFG’s former Executive Chair, they were able to provide mentoring to build the skills, interest in and confidence of young girls to consider science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects as a career.
“Having finished my A-Ievels, I came to KAWACC following advice from my mum because I’d always had an interest in engineering. Through the Manjit Wolstenholme Fund grant, I had STEM sessions which were very empowering. That led to one-to-one sessions where we worked on my personal statement and CV, and focused on career advice, because I was looking to apply for part-time jobs. One of the positions I applied for, and got, was at KAWACC, where I had to develop and run an environmental project and lead sessions with other girls.
KAWACC has helped me realise the opportunities available to me. In this area, not many people have the drive to go into higher education. They have some sort of barrier built up, especially if you’re an Asian girl. Having support in a women’s centre like this makes it more accessible. I feel a lot more confident in the next steps I’m going to take. I’ve decided to retake my A-levels so I can improve and expand my opportunities. I’m certainly more adaptable and know I have the right skills for the next stage in my life, whatever that brings!"
KAWACC service user
Working in partnership with Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Foundation (HIWCF), grants totalling £25,000 were awarded to six voluntary organisations during 2020.
The funds were given to small organisations operating across Havant, Gosport, Fareham and Petersfield who are providing activities to support disadvantaged and vulnerable people in their local communities, thereby enabling them to address the barriers to social and financial inclusion.
The six organisations receiving grants were: Enterpride CIC, Frontline Petersfield, Hayling College, Headway Portsmouth and East Hampshire, the Kings Arms Youth Centre, and the Wecock Community Association.
Enterpride CIC is supporting greater work opportunities for people with learning disabilities at Storey Garden in Leigh Park. Our grant will enable development of a new community garden and help to purchase display units, cold storage facilities, seeds and plants, allowing fresh vegetables and produce to be sold at Staunton Country Park.
Debbie Lyall, Enterpride CIC, commented: These funds will enhance our provision, assisting us to develop a new enterprise initiative, The Plant & Produce Store, where our teams will market and sell what they grow. This will add a new ‘Supported Work Opportunity’ to our Staunton Country Park provision and hopefully paid work in the future for some. People with learning disabilities have less than a 6% chance of work, so this project is important and the funds essential.”
A grant for Hayling College in Havant is offering young people access to the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, allowing them to get involved in volunteering, learning new skills, training and the opportunity to take part in physical activities and expeditions.
Jonathan Pomfret, Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme Manager at Hayling College, said: “We’re incredibly grateful for this grant which will help us to make the Duke of Edinburgh experience accessible to any pupil with an interest. We understand that outdoor education can quickly become quite an expensive hobby – and with so many families having endured a really tough 2020, this funding will mean that no young person at The Hayling College will miss out because of finances.”
"Headway Portsmouth and South East Hampshire has seen a rise in mental health issues due to Covid-19, with the Group changing the way they deliver support to ensure clients remain safe."
Joy Ward, Funding Strategy & Trading Support Manager at Headway
Portsmouth and South East Hampshire, said: “We are thrilled to have received a grant to deliver an inclusive service for 100 adults in Gosport and Fareham, living with the effects of brain injury. Brain injury has a huge impact on family life, finances, and an individual’s relationships. Headway provides support with information, guidance, and training in a nurturing environment. The outreach programme will include structured social activities and sports therapy, enabling attendees to socialise, share experiences, offer peer support and build friendships.”
This community support service in Inverclyde, was set up in March 2020 by a group who have been personally impacted by suicide in their families or friendship groups. Through the support that the group delivers, it seeks to prevent unnecessary death by suicide and promote
positive mental health.
Man On! Inverclyde provides peer support and education on mental health and suicide prevention primarily for men and youths. The group has 150 members ranging in age from 15 to 85 and has recently introduced a support group for women. Support services are delivered
online or through face-to-face group work and sessions throughout the week including a drop-in, peer support, counselling, football therapy, a book club, walk and talk sessions, and tailored support.
Our grant has enabled Man On! Inverclyde to increase the hours of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Coordinator to meet current need and address its waiting list. The Mental Health and Wellbeing Coordinator primarily focuses on supporting young people aged 15 to 24. Working
with a local secondary school initially, the group plans to build on a successful pilot project delivering ‘Safe Talk’, a three-hour suicide prevention course, and group work, and providing one-to-one support. The Coordinator will also work with youth offenders in HMP Greenock,
providing support prior to their release.