The Berkshire Community Foundation (BCF) has been building a Community Capital Fund to provide grants to small voluntary groups that tackle the needs of the local community. Donations from individuals, companies and Charitable Trusts are pooled in the Foundation’s Community Capital Fund from which the Foundation draws income to make its grants.

The Berkshire Community Foundation has run, since 1985, a capital fund to provide grants for grassroots community projects located across Berkshire. It’s very simple in how it works: donations from individuals, companies and charitable trusts are pooled in the Foundation's Community Capital Fund from which the Foundation draws income to make its grants. Having six members of staff, the Foundation has a responsibility to operate leanly and effciently to best meet the community’s needs. The Foundation came across the Charity Technology Exchange as a way of improving its IT systems. With the CTX package came a subscription to the collaboration technology, Huddle Workspaces. Using the technology, the Foundation has been able to concentrate its resources on areas that most need it, and also hold virtual meetings for community outreach workers who would often be located on site, not in the office. “The concept originally came from America,” says David Bolam, explaining the idea behind the UK’s Community Foundation network. “We try to grow the idea of charitable giving. We encourage people to donate, we invest that money, and then we make grants to local community organisations from the profits. Local money for local people!” David is the Office Manager for the Berkshire Community Foundation, serving a county that – despite the wealthy stereotype – contains some of the most deprived wards in the UK. “We also manage funds that individuals and corporations set up – we look after the paperwork and administration, and monitor the organisations that apply for money.” With major limitations on its working budget, the Foundation aims to use IT very creatively to stretch this as far as possible – notably Huddle, via the CTX scheme. “We have two outreach workers,” David explains. “Their job is to help the small organisations with applications, monitor the progress of the grants and connect with the community. With Huddle, we can get together with them virtually, using the whiteboard.” “If we get them into the office, we have to pay their expenses. Put simply, this is more money taken away from grants. Online meetings allow these part-time staff to spend all that time meeting local people – not travelling in to see us.” The CTX scheme, including the Huddle donation, has been a lifeline for the Foundation.

“We heard about it on the grapevine and thought: ‘this sounds wonderful!’” David recalls. “As a registered charity we have to have legitimate, legal software – I’m managing a business here.” Some recent examples of grants that the organisation has made include: a vital boat part for the Berkshire-wide charity that takes disabled people out on the river and a new specialised fire alarm system for the Reading Deaf Centre. “Scouts, Guides, Community Groups. Any charity in the county is eligible to apply.” Share this About Huddle Huddle provides next-generation content collaboration for government & enterprise. Its patent-pending intelligent technology ensures relevant content is delivered directly to Huddle users, with no need to search. Business units of any size work more efficiently by huddling together within an online secure cloud service accessed via web browsers, desktop or mobile devices. Co-headquartered in London and San Francisco and with offices in New York City, Huddle’s customers include 80 percent of Fortune 500 and 80 percent of UK government departments, as well as companies such as Kia Motors, Driscolls, the BBC and PwC. The company is privately held and backed by venture capital firms DAG Ventures, Eden Ventures, Matrix Partners and Jafco Ventures. More information can be found at

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