The Halton Foundation – Runcorn & Widnes Community Fund

The Halton Foundation – Runcorn & Widnes Community Fund, referred to as ‘The Halton Foundation’ for the purpose of this document will link individuals, businesses and organisations with their community to actuate philanthropy across the borough of Halton, supporting community cohesion and prosperity.

The Vision – To support the Halton community to enrich their lives through connecting them with funding, businesses and people to build a thriving, resilient and prosperous community.

The Mission – To provide social investment and strategic charitable grant-making that meets the needs of Halton’s local community via a united public, private and voluntary sector forum.

1. Founding Partners:

1.1 Halton Chamber of Commerce – as the private sector representative and ‘voice’ of local business, Halton Chamber of Commerce is an independent, non-profit membership based organisation that supports and promotes the overall economic wellbeing of the borough, and delivers an extensive range of services and support to its members and other businesses of all sizes and across all sectors. The Chamber has been in existence in its current format since the early 1990’s and works closely with its partners and other stakeholders to ensure that the right infrastructure, services and support are available to assist business growth and further the development of the borough’s economic regeneration plans. Having both a strategic as well as an operational role within the borough, it works closely with Halton Borough Council on a range of issues and is now co-located at the Municipal Building in Widnes. As the founding member and a donor of ‘The Halton Foundation’ the Halton Chamber of Commerce will act as an ambassador of the Foundation, and as a facilitator to introduce small, medium and large businesses to the Foundation and encourage them to become partners so that their donations will act as a catalyst for change and achieve the vision.

1.2 Halton Borough Council (HBC) – as the democratic authority in the borough, HBC has a wide range of partnerships and relationships throughout the borough. In their community leadership role HBC will promote ‘The Halton Foundation’, signpost to it where appropriate, play a ‘critical friend’ role in the strategic development of the Foundation, and will support the administration and facilitation of meetings where possible.

1.3 Halton & St Helen’s VCA – is an infrastructure organisation that provides advice, information and development support services to voluntary, community and faith organisations and volunteers in Halton & St Helens. Together the organisation has more than 80 years’ experience of co-ordinating voluntary action and of representing, developing and supporting the voluntary, community and faith sector in the St Helens and Halton Boroughs. The Halton & St Helen’s VCA was set-up by local voluntary and community groups and is still run by its members. There are currently 2,456 members across both Boroughs and the VCA supports them and other voluntary, community, charity and faith organisations in ways such as: community accountancy, payroll, training, setting up and good governance, quality standards, voice and influence, recruiting volunteers, making connections with other sectors, raising money and marketing their work and responding to local needs. The Halton & St Helen’s VCA also supports the recruitment of more than 2,500 volunteers every year through their accredited Volunteer Centres both in Halton & St Helens.

The above three founding partners have secured the support & expertise of the Community Foundations for Lancashire & Merseyside (CFLM) to administer the grant-making process.

Community Foundations for Lancashire & Merseyside (CFLM) – as Merseyside’s philanthropy centre CFLM promotes and administers philanthropy acting as a funding facilitator ensuring valued investment into communities. CFLM is a registered charity and is a vehicle for charitable giving working with individuals, families and companies to design bespoke grant making strategies that target particular issues and/or focus on particular geographical areas.

CFLM will be accountable for all the financial and legal matters, providing annual accounts and reports enabling ‘The Halton Foundation’ to focus on supporting their local community. CFLM will undertake the management and administration of the funds ensuring all due diligence is adhered to and will support the local decision-making panels on funding recommendations and social investment, working alongside VCA Halton. The Halton Foundation will sit under the Community Foundation’s own registered charity number (1068887), at the same time retaining its own fund identity.

2. Contributing Partners:

2.1 Cheshire Connect – Cheshire Connect’s remit is to add value to the community by matching the skills and expertise to the needs of the voluntary sector with the skills and expertise generously offered free of charge by local businesses. As a contributing partner they will commit to encouraging the Halton business community to engage with and offer support to local voluntary, community, and faith organisations. For businesses, this is a way of demonstrating meaningful Corporate Social Responsibility, and offering valuable, measurable experiences to business owners and employees. Simultaneously the voluntary sector benefits from pro bono skills and expertise. As a partner of this initiative Cheshire Connect will be the bridge between the business community and the voluntary sector.

2.2 Business In the Community (BITC) – as a business connector within the Borough, BITC will aspire to offer support by helping to make the private sector aware of the aims and objectives of The Halton Foundation and where appropriate gain external support for community groups in the form of skills and resources from businesses. The BITC Business Connector Programme increases the positive impact of business in local communities by harnessing the expertise and energy of business people to tackle local challenges. The programme offers the opportunity for individuals, seconded from local business, to support the local community for a 12 month period. Connectors listen to local needs and help create mutually beneficial partnerships for communities and local businesses tackling social issues, focussing specifically on Education, Employment and Enterprise. The Business Connector model of long term business secondments is creating deeper and more effective relationships between business and communities.
As a contributing partner of The Halton Foundation, BITC will commit to working alongside the founding partners to complement ongoing activity and ensure the business community are engaged in responsible business activities, sharing skills and resources appropriately to assist Communities.

3. The Partnership will:

• Promote the Halton Borough Council’s ’s five strategic objectives:

– A Healthy Halton
– Employment, Learning and Skills in Halton
– A Safer Halton
– Children and Young People in Halton
– Environment and Regeneration in Halton

These objectives are consistent with and are reflected in the CFLM’s Vital Signs report for Halton (2013/2014)

• Support local community groups, charities and people by increasing access to support
• Promote Corporate Social Responsibility – the management of an organisation’s positive impact on society and the environment through its operations, products or services and through its interaction with key stakeholders such as employees, customers, investors and suppliers
• Increase the amount of support, both financial and in-kind available from business, organisations and benefactors

4. How will the Foundation work?

The Halton Foundation’s focus will comprise of four key elements:

4.1 Halton Gives will:

• Help Halton to become a thriving and prosperous community by prioritising issues such as poverty, health, unemployment, a safe and crime –free environment and promoting family values
• Have a co-ordinated approach for receiving charitable donations across the borough
• Provide a strategic approach to allocating funding
• Maximise charitable donations
• Maximise benefit to residents

The processes that will make Halton Gives work will be managed by CFLM

4.2 Halton Supports will:

• Create a time bank for employee volunteering
• Businesses will be encouraged to pledge hours of support
• CFLM will match philanthropists with local need
• Halton support will be co-ordinated through an established on-line portal
• Incorporate business to business support

Halton & St. Helen’s VCA will co-ordinate the volunteering aspect of Halton supports

4.3 Halton Cares will:

• Introduce an accreditation mark for businesses who can demonstrate good CSR practices
• Companies will be encouraged to donate both time and money
• Volunteering time will be used to support vulnerable people who meet qualification criteria

4.4 Halton Shares will:

• Promote and support the co-ordination of recycling items such as IT equipment, office furniture, meeting rooms etc.

The Founding Partnership has been established to create an independent cross-sector partnership of private, public and voluntary sector stakeholders to work together to ensure the social growth and economic development of communities across the Borough via The Halton Foundation. The Halton Foundation aims to contribute to ensuring Halton supports its local communities and the local economy by assisting Halton to be a prosperous and thriving place to live, learn and work, and will:

• Influence decision makers

• Provide volunteer opportunities

• Acquire expertise and services from across sectors

• Secure and distribute funding, maximising local giving to local causes

The Halton Foundation will operate across Runcorn and Widnes, enabling individuals, families, companies, entrepreneurs, and charitable trusts to support Halton’s communities in a cost effective way which they can direct. This philanthropy will take many forms, including funding, volunteering, donating goods and services, sharing expertise and providing in-kind support.
By working with The Halton Foundation donors can choose the goal and direction of their philanthropy, charitable donations and volunteering. CFLM will share social data and case studies with donors to ensure that their giving has a social impact and connects with the right people in Halton’s communities.
Businesses will be encouraged to make an investment into Halton as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility. This can comprise of:

• Making a donation to The Halton Foundation to support social priorities in the area
• Releasing employees to volunteer to support local community development and initiatives
• Providing in-kind support for local community businesses, charities and community groups
• Including local social enterprises , charities and community groups as part of the supply chain

5. Halton Foundation Management

The Halton Foundation will sit as a fund under the registered charity number of CFLM (1068887), retaining its own identity and accounts for financial processing, social investment and charitable funding. The stakeholders of The Halton Foundation will direct all funding decisions for ratification to CFLM’s trustees as part of their governance requirements. CFLM will provide six-monthly reports on the financial and grant performance of The Halton Foundation.

5.1 Social Investment

Funding panels will be established and facilitated by CFLM with Halton &St Helens VCA acting in an advisory capacity. These panels will make recommendations to disburse funds into the community.

5.2 Decision- Making

• Decision- making on the activities of The Halton Foundation will be made by senior representatives of the Founding Partners in consultation with the Contributing Partners and other co-opted partners and local experts as and when required.
• Decision-making on funding will be made by independent panel members for the individual funds comprising of representatives of the original donors, the founding partners and on occasions senior community leaders will also be invited to join these panels. There will be a combination of restricted and unrestricted funds i.e. depending on the funding source some funds will retain their own identity and funding will be ring-fenced for a specific geographical area and/or fund objective.

5.3 Monitoring & Evaluation

The financial investment made will be monitored and evaluated to demonstrate the impact of the funding. Social indicators will be used to measure impact. This will be led by CFLM and VCA Halton and St. Helens.

6. Conclusion

The Halton Foundation -Runcorn & Widnes Community Fund) will connect philanthropists to the voluntary and community sector and to the Halton business community in order to make Halton resident’s lives better, brighter, happier, greener, kinder and richer. These Philanthropists will have a commitment and passion for making a real difference to people’s lives.