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Breaking the cycle of short term thinking

2 October 2013

In the first of series of blogs in the run-up to the GovKnow Social Justice Conference (Wednesday, 30 October) Big Lottery Fund’s England Director, Dharmendra Kanani, explains more about the Fund’s long-term investments which aim to tackle some of the country’s most entrenched social problems.

Father holds child

Funding is being invested to help young babies and their families

The end result of social problems – the tragedies that hit the news everyday – are all too prevalent and prompt regular calls for more attention to the immediate needs of vulnerable people.

As I asked earlier this week in my blog welcoming the PAC early action report – how much better would it be if we could address the causes of these problems at a much earlier stage, and what role can Lottery funding play in breaking new ground in this area?

In England, we are planning to invest well over £500 million, over the long term, to tackle some of the most entrenched of these social problems – in a preventative and innovative way.

  • Through A Better Start, we aim to improve the outcomes for about 10,000 of the most vulnerable babies and families, investing £150 million over 8-10 years, in up to five areas
  • Young people have told us that helping them to cope with mental health problems was among their top priorities, and we will be investing in a small number of areas to help tackle this – more news on this later this year
  • About 21 areas will soon be implementing the £100 million five-year Talent Match programme, helping young people furthest from the labour market back into training, education and jobs
  • Twelve local area partnerships are preparing to implement an eight-year £100 million programme to enable people with complex needs access more joined up services
  • Our Centre for Ageing Better will invest £50 million to look at what works in helping people have a rewarding old age. And a £70 million investment will address social isolation among older people.

Importantly, these investments are designed and delivered with beneficiaries, building on their strengths rather than plugging their weaknesses. They require organisations from different sectors to work together, using an approach focused on individuals and prevention rather than cure.

Young man and other young people

Talent Match aims to help young people into education, training and jobs

The other fundamental feature is learning. We want to learn what works – and what doesn’t – and share these findings widely as we go along. By the time the party conferences come along again in a year’s time, about 50 separate local partnerships will be delivering services in a new way.

We want to use our unique position to test new ways of addressing need over the longer term. That will both save money and deliver better results.
This blog is based on an article that first featured in ‘Politics First’ Magazine.

For more information on the GovKnow Social Justice Conference at which Dharmendra Kanani is speaking, please visit: or follow #sjconf2013 on Twitter.

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