£40 million milestone

Pippa Dannatt holds large baloons reading 4 0. She stands in front of the Norfolk Community Foundation team.

Norfolk Community Foundation celebrates awarding £40 million since 2005

Our patron Lord Lieutenant Pippa Dannatt visited the Foundation to to celebrate with us

The world has changed significantly since the Foundation awarded its first grant 17 years ago.

In 2005, who could have imagined working people using food banks to support their families, that vast numbers of young people would need support with their mental health, or that war would come to mainland Europe, forcing thousands to flee?

To all of these issues and more, our local charities have stepped up to respond. They have brought their understanding, energy, skills and time to help create a better world. At the Community Foundation we know the importance of keeping these communities at the heart of our work, listening to their voices and helping to provide the support they need at the time they need it.

The issues we face today are complex and nuanced; they take time to address and need everyone working together to make a difference. Norfolk Community Foundation works across every sector and every geography in Norfolk, with one vision: to build stronger communities from the ground up.

In celebration of investing £40 million in Norfolk communities over the past 17 years, we have cast our eyes back to the origins of our organisation and highlighted the key moments that have made the foundation what it is today. From making our first grant and building key relationships with donors to working closely with community organisations and inspiring new ways of giving, we’ve certainly come a long way… but there’s still so much more we can do together.

If you are inspired by what you see and would like to know how you can help create the world you want to live in, please get in touch with us.

Together, Norfolk shines brighter.

Claire Cullens, Chief Executive

What is a Community Foundation?

The first community foundation was created in the USA, and there are now more than 1,800 foundations in 51 countries worldwide, with 47 in the UK alone. Philanthropic pioneer Fred Goff created the first Community Foundation in Cleveland in 1914 after noticing that many of his 19th century predecessors had left big sums of money to benefit causes which had since become irrelevant. He came up with the idea of pooling the charitable gifts of Clevelanders into a single permanent trust to support local communities, in perpetuity, through the Cleveland Foundation.

The concept was a source of inspiration all over the world, and community foundations are now the largest grant making organisations in the UK, supporting thousands of community-based charities and groups each year. They have expert, local knowledge, they know which groups are tackling issues effectively, and how the impact of donations can be maximised to best support local communities. Collectively, they are part of the UK Community Foundations (UKCF) network, and together they awarded grants to those in need totalling £77m last year.

Claire Cullens, Chief Executive, Norfolk Community Foundation

Our impact since 2005

£ 0 mil
invested in Norfolk communities
invested in Norfolk communities
0 ,000+
grants awarded
grants awarded
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local organisations supported
local organisations supported
funds launched to tackle food poverty, youth mental health and more
funds launched to tackle food poverty, youth mental health and more

The early years…

Image of Kate Kingdon. Woman wearing a suit sits on a desk looking at the camera and smiling.
Kate Kingdon, first Director of Norfolk Community Foundation

Norfolk Community Foundation had grand ambitions right from the start. The idea was first established in 2004 by the then-Bishop of Norwich Rt Revd Graham James, who wanted to set up a big charity to help smaller charities. He approached the then Lord Lieutenant Sir Richard Jewson, who understood the vision and got behind the project straight away. The Foundation was registered as a charity the following year, with the first grants being awarded at the end of 2005. Kate Kingdon was the first Director.

Since its inception, the Foundation has always invested its money to make sure that there is always a steadily growing income for future grant making – and this endowment has grown far past the initial target of £10mil set out by Bishop Graham in 2005. This was to be the base that the Foundation would build itself upon. The early years focused on building relationships with donors and targeting their giving to local groups that aligned with their priorities.

Between 2005 – 2006, £50,000 was distributed to local community groups. By 2009, this number had seen an 1600% increase, with over £800,000 being awarded that year to worthy Norfolk causes.

  • Norfolk CF Founded by Bishop Graham James and Sir Richard Jewson. The first CEO is Kate Kingdon.
  • August – Norfolk Community Foundation registers as a charity.
  • October – First grants are awarded.
  • 60 grants made to local applicants, totalling over £100,000.
  • A personal donation and pledged support from the Queen.
  • UK Community Foundations certification achieved.
  • The Foundation is gifted office space at St James Mill by Jarrold.
  • Norfolk 100 established.
  • NCF awards over £1m to small groups over 3 years through the Government’s Grassroots Grants Programme.
  • Love Norfolk fund launched to support community groups all over the county.
  • Grants awarded exceed £800,000.

2005 – our first grants

West Norfolk Befriending – our first grant (2005)

West Norfolk Befriending received one of the first-ever grants the Norfolk Community Foundation made. West Norfolk Befriending originally started life as a project between the West Norfolk Deaf Association, West Norfolk Carers and Age Concern West Norfolk in 2002, becoming a charity in its own right in September 2005. It received its first grant from Norfolk Community Foundation just one month later. The grant was to support the basic running costs of the group. At this time, there was one part-time member of staff working for West Norfolk Befriending alongside a team of volunteers.

When Covid-19 struck, isolation became more pronounced for everybody – including older people. The charity found that its caseload had doubled over the course of the pandemic. As the face-to-face visits that formed the basis of the charity’s work suddenly had to stop, West Norfolk Befriending sought innovative solutions to meet their client’s needs. This led to two rounds of grants from the Community Foundation to help develop its new telephone befriending service and email befriending service, allowing isolated older people to maintain contact in a safe but meaningful way.

Fast-forward to 2022, and the group is still working hard in West Norfolk to keep older people connected with their communities. Most recently, the group was awarded £5,000 from the Love Norfolk fund – once again to support their core costs. West Norfolk Befriending starts at £0 each year and relies on grants and donations from local people who understand the importance of the vital work they do. Having also registered as a charity in 2005, the Norfolk Community Foundation is proud to have grown alongside West Norfolk Befriending over the past 17 years. We have awarded funding to the group 27 times – totalling over £70,000.

2007 – giving better, together

Norfolk 100

Norfolk 100 was launched as a new way of bringing together donations from businesses and individuals to make a greater impact. The Norfolk 100 are a leading group of donors who share a passion for supporting Norfolk.

Members receive regular updates on the difference they’re helping to make and are invited to our full event programme giving them the opportunity to learn about the vital community support they have given and to meet with fellow philanthropists who share a passion for making Norfolk a better place.

We recently hosted a reception for Norfolk 100 members at our office at St James Mill for an exclusive opportunity to meet some of the team at Norfolk Community Foundation and hear more about our work to give our local charities what they need to grow and move forward, including our work to support Ukrainian refugees in Norfolk.

Norfolk 100 Members demonstrate the power of collective giving, targeting support where it is needed most in Norfolk. By pledging a 3-year giving commitment, members boost their long-term impact by consistently empowering their communities to achieve more. The annual membership goes into our signature fund, Love Norfolk. Half is used straight away to support charitable organisations and community groups, while the other half is invested in the Love Norfolk endowment fund to support future grant giving.

Pride parade by Norwich Market. People holding a banner reads transphobia has no place at pride

2008 – grassroots action

Grassroots Grants (2008)

In the summer of 2008 the Government announced a nationwide programme aimed at strengthening local communities. The Grassroots Grants Programme challenged the Norfolk Community Foundation to raise £1.6 million in new endowment by 31st March 2011. We smashed this goal thanks in no small part to His Majesty the King, who agreed to host a reception at Sandringham House for the Norfolk Community Foundation, prospective donors and donors. It signalled his deep commitment to Norfolk and the small charities – mostly run by volunteers – which keep the county both caring and vibrant. The event raised £500,000.

This secured government match funding of £1 for every £2 donated by our donors, supporting grant giving across Norfolk. The Government also awarded the Norfolk Community Foundation a three-year grant fund of £1.1 million to support and develop local grassroots voluntary and community groups. This grants programme was designed to put funding into new projects and to enable existing projects to continue their valuable work.

For example, Norfolk LGBT+ Project got funding to raise awareness of its services. The Project, which was by now taking huge strides to support LGBT+ people in our county, received a small grant to support the publication of materials for the newly-launched Norwich Pride event and to create their website – which has since become a go-to resource for LGBT+ support locally.

Bill from Brewkery helps measure ingredients. A woman with a learning disability measures ingredients out.

2009 – we love norfolk

Love Norfolk launched

Love Norfolk started humbly in 2009 as a way of bringing together donations of all sizes to support a range of causes in our county. Since then, it has grown to become one of our most popular and impactful funds.

Love Norfolk is unique because it is one of our most versatile funds. Its open-ended format means that it truly responds to community needs, helping charitable organisations solve local problems.

Recently, Hannah, Izzy and Lizzi travelled around Norfolk to see how Love Norfolk funding was making a difference at a local level after the impact of the pandemic.

Anyone involved in voluntary charitable work knows that it can be difficult to raise money. It is also a skill to apply it well. The Norfolk Community Foundation has been brilliant at both. I congratulate it on achieving this milestone of giving, and also on becoming the well informed and creative hub which helps others to enrich our community.

Sir Richard Jewson, Founding Patron
Izzy talks to visitors at the Royal Norfolk Show. Izzy stands in front of a yellow food bus and engages three people while smiling.

Putting the ‘you’ into community

Norfolk Community Foundation is here for good. We’ve achieved so much because of your support, and now more than ever we need your help to help Norfolk shine brighter. We’ve invested £40 million in Norfolk communities since 2005, but we’re only just getting started. Norfolk people are passionate and our bold charities take action to address issues on your doorstep. We can only continue to fund their brilliant work thanks to generous donations from people like you.

Whether you want to make a donation to support emerging community need, join one of our giving circles to amplify your donation, leave a legacy, or set up a bespoke fund of your own, get in touch today to help Norfolk shine brighter.

Building and growing…

Graham Tuttle, Chief Executive 2009-2017

Norfolk Community Foundation had become one of the most successful community foundations in the UK. It was during this period that we saw more funding being requested to meet basic needs. Growing demand meant that expanding our base for giving was essential. Under the directorship of Graham Tuttle, the Foundation experienced a period of steady growth. There was a significant increase in individuals who were contributing to the Foundation’s work, which was vital to support the new and emerging needs of Norfolk communities.

Before long the number of grants awarded annually rose from 349 in 2007 to 1,330 by 2017. Before long, the Foundation was regularly giving £3 million a year to Norfolk’s charity and voluntary groups.

It is around this time, too, that the Foundation became an established partner in delivering joined-up support across the county. We partnered with the Eastern Daily Press help to raise funds to support the victims of the 2013 tidal surge – a relationship that continues to this day, with the paper giving annual coverage for our Surviving Winter campaign.

  • First Surviving Winter Campaign launched.
  • Bursaries scheme focusing on NEET young people launched.
  • Construction Fund launched on behalf of Norfolk County Council. Our largest ever funding scheme, it provided funds for capital projects across Norfolk.
  • £15 million awarded since 2005.
  • £20 million awarded since 2005.


  • Claire Cullens becomes CEO of Norfolk Community Foundation.
  • UKCF celebrates distributing £1 billion in grants across all 46 Community Foundations.


Jack working on a moped in Kickstart's garage

2010 – J P Blanch’s Legacy

J P Blanch Fund Established

Leaving a gift in your will is a way of creating something of real and lasting value for local communities. Many local people have entrusted Norfolk Community Foundation to make sure future generations feel the benefit of their love for Norfolk; such as local car enthusiast J P Blanch.

A retired wheelwright, he had led a quiet life in rural Norfolk since the 1950s. When he passed away in 2008, a collection of rare classic cars was found scattered around his dilapidated estate – some of which were over 80 years old. The sale of the cars created a fund that now serves as a lasting legacy of Mr Blanch’s passion for the automotive industry.

Over the years, the fund has provided dozens of apprenticeship and engineering opportunities across the county. This includes funding apprenticeship places at local vehicle and engineering firms, as well as sponsoring places on the aspirational Arkwright Scholarship programme. The fund has also provided equipment for local educational facilities, such as St Edmund’s Society in Norwich, which recently benefitted from a new vehicle inspection lift.

More recently, the fund has adapted to a rapidly changing technological landscape, now also considering grants to local charities and community groups to support the growth of electric vehicles and agricultural technology. Kickstart, for example, recently expanded their fleet of mopeds to include battery-powered options – allowing young people to train on what will be the future of road vehicles.

Fund Ambassador Peter Franzen OBE said: ”I am sure that Mr Blanch would be delighted with the opportunities his fund has opened up for local people to achieve their ambitions in the automotive industry. Equally, he would be amazed at the way technology is changing the face of automotive engineering, and that his fund is playing a part in that”.

2011 – surviving winter together

Surviving Winter launched

The Surviving Winter Appeal has now been established for over a decade. Working each year with the Eastern Daily Press, the fundraiser asks people to make a donation to support vulnerable people in Norfolk over the coldest months. The fund is then distributed to local organisations.

The cost of energy crisis is having a huge impact this year, so we’re working with over 100 organisations to provide Community Hot-Spots – local spaces where people can go to be warm and well this winter. We were able to deliver this programme thanks to contributions from Norfolk County Council, Norwich City Council and the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, as well as generous donations from the public into our Surviving Winter fund.

The fund has also supported projects like Age UK Norfolk, which runs a range of projects for older people. They have used Surviving Winter funds to provide services ranging from energy bills support to hot meal services and programmes which aim to reduce social isolation. Norfolk has a larger-than-average population of older people, with around 1 in 4 living alone. This means that Age UK’s work is vital for increasing social inclusion and protecting the most vulnerable during the winter months.

It has also regularly supported Kings Lynn Winter Night Shelter, which makes sure people experiencing homelessness have a warm, safe space to sleep while helping them move into more secure accommodation. They support between 70 – 100 guests each year and have received multiple grants since being founded in 2017. Thanks to various funding opportunities over the past five years, they have been able to move to a larger building, employ more staff, and offer more services.

2013 – the floods & rebuilding

Flood Appeal & The Norfolk Construction Fund

Flood Appeal

In December 2013, the most serious tidal surge for over 60 years hit the Norfolk coast. The flooding caused millions of pounds worth of damage to coastal infrastructure, homes and businesses. Within hours, the EDP Norfolk & Lowestoft Flood Appeal was Launched.

The appeal, led by the EDP and administered by the Foundation, took a multi-agency approach including local councils, the police and search and rescue teams. The EDP appeal raised an astonishing £330,000. Council officers on the ground helped assess and refer individuals and families to the Foundation for emergency support.

Donations came from individuals, local businesses, Rotary groups, MPs, village committees, and more, demonstrating the impact of what can happen when Norfolk comes together to help Norfolk. Over 250 grants were handed out to those most affected by the appeal.

The appeal left a legacy which went beyond the crisis itself and prompted national debate, with the EDP and the Foundation being invited to speak at the House of Commons. It highlighted the wider role that Norfolk Community Foundation can play within our local communities in times of Crisis.

The Norfolk Construction Fund – The White Horse, Upton

Community sits outside of The White Horse Pub. Around 8- people sit or stand.

Rural communities have seen a decline in the services available to them in recent years. From losing pubs, post offices and shops to village halls and schools becoming unusable due to underinvestment, something had to be done. The Norfolk Construction Fund provided millions of pounds to help communities improve local spaces, provide sports facilities, create new play areas and develop their village halls. The Norfolk Construction Fund was delivered by the Foundation on behalf of Norfolk County Council. Some communities took creative approaches to improve life in their area.

The White Horse has provided locals and visitors to Upton with a comfortable and friendly place to meet, relax and enjoy good food and drink for over 200 years. When this was put at risk, the community came together collectively to purchase the pub. In July 2012 the pub was purchased by the community with additional support from The Prince’s Countryside Fund, Broadland Community Grants, Broadland Community Renewables and the Norfolk Community Foundation. The Foundation’s grant helped to pay for renovations to outbuildings to create flexible spaces for community use – and now includes a shop.

Older woman and younger woman

2017 – helping carers in norfolk

Norfolk Millennium Trust for Carers moves to the Foundation

The Trust was born out of the We Care Appeal, launched through the Eastern Daily Press, in October 1998 after research identified the huge number of unpaid carers and the need to help them. The appeal’s aim was simple – to establish an enduring charitable trust giving financial and practical help to unpaid carers in their crucial and often undervalued roles.

In 2017, Norfolk Community Foundation was appointed to undertake the management and administration of the Norfolk Millennium Trust for Carers. Individuals referred to the fund can apply for things as short breaks to enable the carer to have a rest from their caring role, leisure activities, computers, craft materials or anything that can improve the quality of the carer in question.

When the EDP first began the campaign in the late 1990s, there was little awareness of what an unpaid carer was, and the pressures they faced. Changes in available benefits and greater awareness in recent years thanks to local advocacy groups, like Carers Matter, have meant that more unpaid carers are getting the recognition they deserve – and has also meant that the fund has gained a lot more awareness.

Within the last year, demand for grants has increased almost twofold. Working with an expert panel of decision-makers, the Foundation helps to make sure that the well never runs dry, and ensures that (as ever) most who apply can receive the funds they want.

Looking back, and looking forward: a staff perspective

There were just a couple of members of staff when the Foundation first started out. Now, with annual grant giving exceeding £4 million, a network of 10+ social supermarkets and thousands of grant applications each year, our staff team has grown accordingly. Take a look at some reflections from our newest recruits, as well as our longest-standing staff members.

Clive – Joined 2008

“When I joined in 2008, the Foundation was still in its infancy but was taking its first steps towards being a more significant force in the county. In the previous year it had made grants totalling £95,301, but in the year I arrived this shot up to a then remarkable £581,100. A large part of the Foundation’s grant making at that time focused on improving the quality of life for people in Norfolk with funding supporting village halls, projects working with disabled people and youth focused projects.

In 2008, I would never have imagined that, 14 years later, our focus would have shifted so significantly towards helping people with basic physiological needs – keeping warm and having access to food and clothing. These were not issues that featured in our work in the early years – indeed we did not encounter a foodbank in Norfolk until 2012!

Times have changed and will continue to change, but Norfolk Community Foundation will adapt and grow and continue to help meet whatever needs emerge in the coming years.”

Jo – Joined 2012

“I have had the privilege of working for NCF for 10 years, originally as part of a small team enabling the amazing work of communities, charities and volunteer groups across Norfolk. During this time, I have though witnessed a very changed landscape, which has posed new questions and created challenges across the sector.

Despite the increase in voluntary activity during the pandemic, there was the view that some groups and charities would fold, because of the increased needs and complexities in supporting people. This hasn’t happened, but it is not easy in these tough economic times, with organisations small and large, having to work extremely hard to access the funding and help. The Foundation has risen to this challenge: listening, capturing and talking about their amazing projects, whilst at the same time developing innovative ways of tackling the most difficult issues, such as food poverty through our Nourishing Norfolk programme. Not least – attracting the all-important funding and getting it to organisations as quickly as possible.

The core principles of the Foundation remain the same, but our work has evolved dramatically in recent years, mirrored by a large increase in the funding we are distributing as compared to the early days. I am now part of a much larger, lively team, who are out and about in the heart of communities, and whose collective knowledge and ability will continue to help build the confidence and secure funding for Norfolk’s community and voluntary organisations in the years ahead.”

Katy – Joined 2022

“I joined the Community Foundation in August 2022 after over 15 years working in public services and for a national foundation. I wanted to feel that I was helping to make a tangible, positive difference in my home county and it’s been a privilege to witness the breadth and depth of NCF’s work. I’ve been hugely impressed by the creativity and dedication of the voluntary and community organisations that we support across Norfolk and the work that my colleagues do to ensure that funding reaches the places that need it most.

Over the next year, I’m looking forward to supporting NCF to develop a new programme of work around community research and insight. Organisationally, our ambition is to bring people together to build sustainable communities in Norfolk, and to achieve this, we need a clearer view of what is needed and wanted locally, generated for, by and with communities themselves. We plan to build a flourishing network of community research projects centred around our Nourishing Norfolk food hubs, enabling local people to lead the creation of knowledge and insight about their community. We believe this will lead to better targeting of finite funding and resources, more community knowledge and power over decision making and increased investment in Norfolk communities.”

Sophie – Joined 2022

“During summer 2022, I did an internship at the Norfolk Community Foundation as part of my master’s degree. The amazing work conducted by the team made me not want to leave! I started as Programmes Support Advisor in October 2022. During my first few weeks at the foundation, I have been working in the programmes team to support our Surviving Winter campaign, including our Community Hot-Spots and Household Support Fund. I am looking forward to being able to work on a variety of different funds and seeing the impact which Norfolk Community Foundation funding has across the county”

Putting communities at the heart of what we do…

Chief Executive Claire Cullens

By the time Claire Cullens stepped into the role of Chief Executive at the end of 2017, community needs had changed dramatically since 2005. The Foundation had to evolve to meet the demands brought about by these changes. Increasingly, support was needed for more basic needs, like feeding communities and keeping them warm. The Foundation had to become more than just another funder in order to fulfil its vision of building stronger communities from the ground up.

Addressing short-term impact was crucial, but creating long-term solutions was essential, so the Foundation began working much more closely with communities to start understanding and unpicking the problems in our county. Strategic funds were created to address long-term problems, such as hunger, inequality and vulnerability.

The strong donor base established under Graham Tuttle continued to fund important projects, and many were inspired to support areas of emerging need through the new strategic funds. While the Foundation continued to be a centre of individual giving and philanthropy, as it is today, we began to explore new ways of engaging people with local giving. This different, responsive way of working set the groundwork for the Foundation’s biggest challenge: the pandemic.

Covid-19 changed the face of charity work overnight. Groups were forced to respond innovatively and instantly to new rules and restrictions, and we knew we had to act equally as fast to make sure that we could support this work. We doubled the number of people giving, forged innovative cross-sector partnerships, and responded to issues as they unfolded. We raised over £1 million from local donors and delivered £4 million in total in response to support Norfolk’s established and emerging charities who support the most vulnerable.

Emerging from the lockdowns, we continued providing support as we look to rebuild communities in the most difficult of times. With the cost-of-living crisis developing at an alarming rate, we have continued (and will continue) to work with communities and donors to provide innovative solutions to the challenges ahead.


  • Norfolk ProHelp becomes part of Norfolk Community Foundation
  • Together for Women and Girls fund launched
  • Annual photo competition launched, giving groups a chance to win cash prizes while sharing their work with their community


  • Sir Norman Lamb establishes the Sir Norman Lamb Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund
  • Launch of Thetford Shines Brighter, inspiring giving at a hyper-local level


  • Covid-19 Community Response Fund rolls out rapidly to support Norfolk communities
  • Burrell Shop Launched, Norfolk’s first Community Supermarket and the first member of the Nourishing Norfolk Network
  • Sir Norman Lamb Coalition for Young People launched


  • £4 million+ invested in communities since the start of the pandemic
  • Every Child Online appeal gets 5,000 young people accessing a device and reconnecting with education and friends
  • Norfolk at its Best book launched
  • The Norfolk Household Support Fund was launched – it is now in its 4th round

2018 – a different kind of help

Norfolk ProHelp moves in-house

Norfolk ProHelp matches community groups looking for support with professional firms that can help them. Starting life as an independent organisation, Norfolk ProHelp recruited law firms, accountants, surveyors, architects and digital agencies to conduct discrete pieces of work for local charities at no cost.

Since 2018, the organisation has become part of Norfolk Community Foundation and worked in partnership to build a professional network and help more charities access the skills and expertise they need. As the Foundation was well-networked with Norfolk’s charities and had also maintained excellent relationships with businesses since its inception, it was the perfect fit and has allowed the scheme to achieve more than ever before.

Last year, Lauren Birch joined the Foundation with our Funding Plus+ programme, which includes Norfolk ProHelp, as her sole focus. ProHelp has been going from strength to strength this year, with many new projects getting off the ground thanks to Lauren’s careful linking of charities with business support. She set to work increasing roster of businesses ready to lend their support, and thanks to her efforts Norfolk ProHelp’s 50-strong membership is now able to offer even more to local charities and community groups.

Recently, Rechenda from Nurture Marketing has worked with the Coastal Community Supermarket to give the fledging project a unique look. She said: “It feels amazing to be helping my local community by supporting the community supermarket project. Offering pro bono time has helped me create portfolio work in the non-profit sector and increase my contacts in the industry.”

Covid19 response

2020 – Covid-19 emergency response

Covid-19 Community Response

The most vulnerable people in our communities rely on local support for day-to-day help, support and companionship. Covid-19 threatened to cut these lifelines when they were needed most.

The pandemic was a shock to the system that transformed overnight the ways in which charities and voluntary organisations across Norfolk worked in their communities. Our charities and volunteers stepped up to adapt and grow their vital services with incredible speed and commitment, offering the lifeline that has got us through the last two years.

As an organisation with over 15 years of grant-making experience, we were chosen to lead the local charity response to the pandemic. Without a rule book to manage a crisis, our actions were guided by our values. We worked collaboratively, at pace and with process in an ever evolving landscape. Throughout the pandemic, national and local funders have come together through the Norfolk Community Foundation to support local communities.

We were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for our appeal from people across Norfolk— every single donation, large or small, provided immediate help to the charities on the frontline. By the end of April 2020 – just one month after the start of the first lockdown – we had raised over £1 million. By September this had grown to £2 million, and when combined with statutory funding, it meant that by the end of the lockdowns in 2021 we were able to invest almost £4 million in Norfolk communities. This investment meant that groups were able to carry on their essential work during the lockdowns and emerge as strong as ever once restrictions ended.

It is very exciting to see just how quickly money has been able to help people who are isolated, hungry, worried or lonely through local community groups and charities. NCF’s local knowledge has meant that help has got to where it is really needed at street or village level very rapidly. (General The Lord Richard Dannatt, Chairman, The National Emergencies Trust)

Sir Norman Lamb

2020 – Supporting Young People’s Mental health

Sir Norman Lamb Coalition for Young People

When Sir Norman Lamb set up the Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund with Norfolk Community Foundation, it was with an ambition of showing how Norfolk can lead the way by coming together to make a real difference. Faced with long waiting times to access clinical services, Sir Norman saw how grassroots charities and community groups were stepping up to fill this gap. The Sir Norman Lamb Coalition for Young People was founded to better support these groups in Norfolk.

Norfolk Community Foundation understands the value of trusting network members to deliver solutions and generate their own means of supporting themselves and each other. Greater than the sum of its parts, the Coalition is transforming young peoples’ lives across Norfolk.

Since being established in November 2020, the Coalition has gone from strength to strength, providing over £420,000 worth of support to its 51 member organisations working with over 10,000 young people across Norfolk.

An external evaluation of the first grants in 2021 demonstrated the positive impact the funding was having, with 90% of young people reporting improved wellbeing. The supported projects have delivered nearly 15,000 hours of support at a cost of less than £68 per young person. Since then, the Sir Norman Lamb Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund has delivered further funding to support Coalition members, alongside bringing in additional funding from partners such as the Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group.

2021 – Every Child Online

Every Child Online

As England settled into another lockdown in January 2021, we worked with our partners, Norfolk County Council and the Eastern Daily Press, to launch the Every Child Online campaign. Our aim was simple: to ensure every school-age child in Norfolk had a digital device and internet connection, so they could learn from home. We were determined that no child would be left behind in their learning because of digital disadvantage.

We contacted every school in Norfolk to find out from teachers on the frontline where the gaps were and which of their students were struggling due to limited or lack of access to an appropriate computer. Working with the Eastern Daily Press, we called on businesses and organisations to give pre-used, corporate devices to the Council, to be refurbished and distributed to schools. People were also invited to make a financial donation to the appeal.

Thanks to everyone who got involved, we were able to deliver 5,000 devices to Norfolk schools. Along with donations from the public, we received amazing contributions from businesses such as Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm in Great Yarmouth, Sheringham Shoal Offshore Windfarm and Lotus Cars.

As well as reaching out to schools to identify students in need of this support, we worked with charity partners engaging with young people outside of mainstream education who desperately needed to access technology to learn, communicate and apply for work. Thanks to a partnership with Candour Marketing and Osiris IT, we were able to deliver a further 46 devices to young people who would otherwise have no access to one.

Dougal, aged 15, lives with his six siblings. There were insufficient resources within the home to enable each child to access their learning activities provided by school. Dougal’s mum says: “Dougal is now using the new laptop to access the school timetable. I’m so grateful for the support as it will really help Dougal get back into learning. He has not been very motivated to learn until now, but this has changed thanks to his new device.”

During the Covid-19 crisis the Norfolk Community Foundation has truly demonstrated its value and impact by being able to support those in greatest need. Grants have been distributed in unprecedented volume and speed. The Foundation continues to get to the heart of communities and is well positioned for future work.

Simon Bailey, QPM DL, Former Chief Constable of Norfolk and Chair of Norfolk Community Foundation

Our biggest year yet…?

Community Foundation staff wear matching pink hoodies. They stand in a line outside.
The Norfolk Community Foundation team

This year, we’ve had 7 new members join the team, launched a countywide food network, been to the Royal Norfolk Show with the Breckland Mobile food store, had a magical concert fundraiser with Blake, worked with 40+ businesses to create 1 to 1 support, hosted many webinars, 1-to-1s and training sessions, had 100s of submissions to our photo competition, raised funds for Ukrainians in Norfolk, celebrated the Platinum Jubilee, welcomed a new chair, challenged climate change and so much more! We’ll be sharing more our highlights of the year soon, but in the meantime, take a look at the case studies below:


  • First ‘Ask Us About…’ sessions launched via Norfolk ProHelp
  • 9 more affordable, local Food Hubs are launched, including the Breckland Mobile Food Store and Coastal Community Supermarket, bringing the total 10
  • Professional Advisor ‘Think Tank’ group created and Community ISA launched
  • 120+ Community Hot-Spots offering warm spaces thanks to Foundation funding
A man holds a child in a supermarket. Man with a red hat smiles at the camera while his child faces away,

2021-2022 – Supporting vulnerable households

Household Support Fund

The Covid-19 crisis demonstrated the power of small organisations during a big crisis. Over the course of the pandemic, local voluntary, charity and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations supported thousands of vulnerable people in Norfolk. At Norfolk Community Foundation we also stepped up, delivering millions in rapid-response emergency funding.

Likewise, when the early signs of the costs of living crisis emerged in late 2021, the Foundation was chosen once again as a trusted partner by Norfolk County Council to distribute £1 million in assistance to people living in Norfolk. Called the Norfolk Household Support Fund, this was the first time we worked with a broad range of charitable organisations in Norfolk to deliver direct financial support to vulnerable people.

Working with over 140 community groups, we were able to support tens of thousands of households in 2021. The fund drew on all of the Foundation’s core strengths: collaboration, dynamism and responsibility.

This support has been vital as the cost of living crisis has developed over the past year. Groups have been able to provide £50 payments for food or fuel, which has made a big difference to vulnerable people worried about increased costs. Sam from About with Friends said, “we have had a Mum in tears on the phone as she was so overwhelmed. Some members’ parents just could not believe it.”

Now in its fourth round, the fund has once again been able to offer fuel aid to thousands of people throughout the county with the support of trusted charity partners.

2022 – Nourishing Norfolk

Nourishing Norfolk Network launches

During the pandemic, Norfolk Community Foundation noticed that 1 in 4 funded projects were pop-up food distribution networks. This led to the creation of The Burrell Shop in 2020, Norfolk’s first affordable food hub. It became the founding member of our Nourishing Norfolk Network, and has since been joined by over 10 more hubs operating all over Norfolk.

Each hub supports local people to:

  • Make their money go further – Affordable food hubs can cut 45% off a weekly grocery shop, meaning members can see huge savings.
  • Link them to support – Hubs are in established community venues, so people can be linked to further support like money management, cooking classes or social groups if they need it.
  • Maintain their dignity – Foodbanks provide food in an emergency. Food hubs give people the dignity of choice and the responsibility of managing their food budget.

Food hubs are run by charity partners already working in communities, who build sustainable partnerships with local businesses, supermarkets, suppliers and farmers to provide affordable food to their members. By joining the network, the hubs gain access to a wealth of experience and opportunities and can reach out to each other for help and advice.

As a whole, the Network aims to make sure that no one in Norfolk goes hungry. As the cost of living crisis has deepened, demand for services has exploded. This growth has meant the hubs have had to adapt to meet emerging needs. The Shrublands Community Foodclub, for example, outgrew its original space and has now relocated to a large demountable cabin across the road thanks to a £25k grant from the Norfolk County Council Social Infrastructure Fund, unlocked by the Foundation.

Norfolk Community Foundation coordinates the 21 members of the Nourishing Norfolk Network, linking them to funding opportunities provided by local partners like Breckland Council and Norfolk County Council, as well as national partners like Feeding Britain. Recently, we have been working with the Norse Group to provide centralised warehousing and distribution to all of the hubs so the network can grow faster and go further than ever before.

2022 – Supporting Ukraine

Supporting Norfolk In Ukraine Fund

Norfolk Community Foundation’s ‘Supporting Ukraine in Norfolk’ fund raised thousands of pounds for organisations working with newly-arrived Ukrainian refugees in the county, and helping those who have now been here a little longer to access housing, services and employment. To date, 25 community groups have been awarded funding, totalling over £70,000.

We have funded some amazing projects with your generous donations.

On Saturday, 30th of July, Ukrainian refugees and their host families enjoyed a fun day of activities at The Nest, hosted by the Norwich City Community Sports Foundation thanks to our funding. Participants enjoyed a specially installed selfie booth, arts and crafts sessions, and English and poetry lessons for all ages, which were assisted by translators. Head of Curriculum and Event Coordinator, Stevie Bramble stated: “The day was designed to provide a safe environment and a real ‘Welcome to Norfolk’ experience. The level of resilience shown by these young people is incredible and to see so many smiles at the event was truly rewarding.”

You can read more via the link below.


2022 – improving literacy for children

The Literacy Project launched

In the UK 16.4% of adults have very poor literacy skills – one of the highest rates in the developed world. Low literacy runs along the fault lines in society, and in England this fault line is deprivation. Norfolk Community Foundation is challenging the idea that low literacy is inevitable in areas of high deprivation by introducing The Literacy Project.

When we see a problem, we turn it on its head: issues with literacy come from a lack of confidence and a lack of interest. To overcome this, we are introducing innovative approaches into schools to build confidence in young people, improving their skills and giving them the best possible chance.

We know that collaboration and teamwork can make great things happen. That is why we’ve brought together local and national partners, like The Reading Project and The National Literacy Trust, to pilot the Project in schools in the most deprived areas of Norwich and Thetford.

While we have provided funding for the project, Norfolk Community Foundation is more than just a funder; we have been drawing on our excellent partnerships with local businesses to actively recruit and train volunteers to go into schools to help children build their confidence and improve their literacy.

“I have been stunned by the progress that some of the children have made … it was as if someone had switched the lights on.”

– Reading Support Volunteer