New place-based giving scheme planned to improve lives in Brentwood

The first steps to create a place-based giving scheme for Brentwood have been put into motion by the borough council.

A place based giving scheme has been described as a partnership, initiative, or organisation which can improve lives by fostering local philanthropy.

But it can also increase investment in local communities, and support the development of areas by bringing together residents, philanthropists, corporate donors, public sector organisations, and civil society organisations to raise money and address local priorities.

The schemes are meant to put local people at the heart of funding decisions.

The Government’s own report on place-based giving says the phrase is nuanced and still developing, since they are heavily shaped by local circumstances and different approaches.

But generally it encompasses a variety of schemes that involve bringing together resources to benefit the community in a collaborative way in a defined geographic location with the intention of tackling local issues in a new way.

Beyond that, approaches range from those resembling asset-based community development, localised grant-making and giving schemes intended to corral local donations.

Place-based giving schemes in England currently include 21 London Borough Place-based Giving Schemes; 43 Community Foundations; 69 giving circles; plus a plethora of other forms.

Councillor Gary White (Cons, Hutton Central) who proposed the motion said: “I am hoping that we can see what valuable lessons there are out there that we could use to the advantage of our residents.

“Many of these placed based giving schemes are self-reliant and represent essential drivers of local giving.

“They can led to raising levels of local income and they can be a resource for communities to stimulate and consolidate new collaborations between sectors and improve communities and address inequalities.

“They can increase individual giving and philanthropy in a geographical area.

“They can be a vehicle for embedding feeling for shared place and ownership when the communities have a role in choosing projects which are funded.”

A nearby scheme – Giving for Thurrock –has supported organisations, community groups, sports clubs, dance troupes, gardening initiatives among many other good causes through donations supplied by residents and businesses in the borough.

Suffolk 100 members work together to help address the needs of vulnerable people in Suffolk.

They directly support the work of the Foundation and its schools programme – an educational programme focused on developing social awareness, social conscience and the practice of giving.

Cllr White added: “All of that contributes significantly to a long term policy goal of widespread community renewal and empowerment which everyone in this council would share and which colleagues may regard as akin to levelling-up.”

A motion passed by the borough council on July 27 said: “This council recognises the impact of the cost of living crisis on many residents and groups in Brentwood.

“Whilst we acknowledge that we already have community funds in place, we believe there could be further opportunities to enhance these.

“Therefore we request that officers explore a mechanism whereby those who wish to, may contribute to a community fund designed to support community initiatives and groups, with proposals to be brought back to Community, Environment & Enforcement Committee later this year.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter