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The wisdom of prevention

8 May 2012

By Dharmendra Kanani, England Director, Big Lottery Fund

Communities and people are facing very challenging times in meeting their needs, as are the organisations and sources of funding that traditionally have helped them. It’s not just an economic challenge, but one that comes from changes in people’s expectations, the balance of retired and working people, and new technologies.

BIG's Dharmendra Kanani

BIG’s Dharmendra Kanani

Alongside these challenges there are great opportunities; releasing the energy in people, communities and places so that they can make their own choices about how to run things; greater flexibility and freedom for providers and localities to come up with better solutions; and early action which can prevent social, economic and environmental problems before they occur.

As an Intelligent Funder, the Big Lottery Fund has a keen interest in readiness and capacity for the long term, as well as early action that helps people and communities prepare for and navigate times of transition, where vulnerability to falling into need can be at its greatest.

This is why we are supporting the New Economic Foundation’s ‘Wisdom of Prevention’ conference, the Early Action Taskforce and a range of initiatives to enable positive change that can unlock the barriers to early action.

The Wisdom of Prevention conference also provides the perfect platform for BIG to unveil our new England funding programme and outline our strategic focus up to 2015.

Over the next three years we will ensure the impact of this funding can support the organisations we work with to make the greatest possible impact for communities and the lives of people most in need. Just some of the ways that we will do this include:

  • People Powered Change. People Powered Change is at the heart of everything we do and central to the way we behave as a funder. We will help people and communities to identify and unlock their potential, broker collaborations to enable knowledge and good practice to grow and share learning both locally and nationally. This is how we will reach the areas of greatest need.
  • Continued funding through our popular open grants programmes – Reaching Communities and Awards for All. Our experience has shown us that communities are usually best placed to identify their own needs and how to address them.
  • Four to five long-term strategic investments. To address entrenched issues that are costly, both socially and economically.
  • Support the voluntary and community sector to explore the potential of the social investment market. To examine the opportunities it may offer to organisations to scale up their work and have an even greater impact, as well as becoming more sustainable.

We are really looking forward to the nef conference and the resulting opportunity for key stakeholders to explore how we can all work together to support early action.

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