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Charity matchmaker

PUBLISHED: 08:05 05 May 2014

Norfolk Community Foundation staff who are behind the £250,000 Big Lottery Campaign. Left to right Olive Thompson, Anna Douglas, Graham Tuttle, Jenny Bevan and Clive Rayner. Photo: Steve Adams

Norfolk Community Foundation staff who are behind the £250,000 Big Lottery Campaign. Left to right Olive Thompson, Anna Douglas, Graham Tuttle, Jenny Bevan and Clive Rayner. Photo: Steve Adams

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Graham Tuttle says: “Every single day as I sit in the office I never cease to be amazed by the generosity of the people of Norfolk.”

Director of the Norfolk Community Foundation, Graham is looking back over the nine years since the foundation was set up by Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James to ensure that donors’ money goes to the groups and organisations within the county where it will really help.

“There is a sense of community that doesn’t exist in other place,” he adds, “that sense of wanting to do good by other people.”

The foundation has grown significantly in the past few years both financially - growing its endowment from £1m in 2010 to more than £12m now - and in the numbers of charities and people it helps. “It’s been a big seachange,” says Graham.

Since 2005, the foundation has given out grants totalling in excess of £12m supporting more than 2,500 charities and community groups across Norfolk, making it one of the fastest growing and most successful community foundations in the UK. Last year alone, it awarded grants in excess of £4m which supported over 600 charities and community groups, and it now works with 500-plus donors and supporters, and manages in excess of 170 funds.

Among the many projects and charities helped are more than 200 young people supported on bursaries at three colleges in the county - Great Yarmouth, Norwich and West Anglia in King’s Lynn. Six disabled young people are also undertaking apprenticeships funded by donors, and the foundation has helped set up 20-plus small businesses and community groups through loans from its donors.

Part of its success has been in maintaining a high profile, especially through links with the EDP Norfolk magazine’s sister paper, the Eastern Daily Press, and its Norfolk and Lowestoft Floods Appeal and the county’s Surviving Winter campaign. “We are also working closely with Norfolk County Council, the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and the police and crime commissioner to stay relevant and focused on what are the key needs in the community. There is no doubt there is a noticeable backdrop of cuts in the charitable sector, and inevitably that means there are more charities struggling to survive and do the things they need to.

“That is where we are able to be the bigger charity working on behalf of the smaller charities, to be a voice for them and to matching people who care with people who matter.

“It is only by bringing the donors in at the front end can we do that good for the charities in the community,” he says. “We work with our donors to ensure that their money will do the best it can and so that they can make their donations with a degree of certainty that it will do good.”

The foundation manages charitable funds set up on donors’ behalf in accordance with their wishes, and accepts legacies as well as running initiatives such as the Norfolk 100, through which donors commit to making a £1000 donation each year for three years. Also helpful is the Community First scheme, a government two-to-one matched funding opportunity.

For information on making a donation or applying for a grant, contact Norfolk Community Foundation, St James Mill, Whitefriars, Norwich, NR3 1SH on 01603 623958; www.norfolkfoundation.com

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