A message from David Knott, new Chief Executive of The National Lottery Community Fund
The National Lottery Community Fund has today announced my appointment as its new Chief Executive. I am honoured to be leading this incredible organisation, but a little daunted too, as our mission - helping people and communities to prosper and thrive - feels more needed than ever before and our funding is being made at a critical time for communities.
I joined the organisation towards the end of 2020. I’ve learnt that we are the largest UK-wide community funder and that our funding makes a real difference. Over the last five years we’ve backed more than 72,000 community projects through over £3.4bn of grants. We are here for the benefit of everyone, bringing a local approach to reach people and communities. Working with partners locally and nationally we’re able to spread good practice and deepen impact further. This makes us more than just a funder, playing an active role in curating and sharing evidence, learning and insight.
We are proud to have stood with communities during the terrible pandemic of the last 18 months. In all parts of the country, we moved swiftly to respond to the emergency, delivering a 40% increase in awards across the UK, with National Lottery funding working alongside additional funding on behalf of Governments in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The difference this has made can now be seen. Across the UK, we reached 10.9 million people. In England, an independent evaluation tells us not only was this a record-breaking year, but our operating model delivered strong value for money. This was a lifeline for the more than 4,000 charities that were able to continue to operate, offering vital frontline services that helped the most vulnerable at a time of great need.
As the new Chief Executive, I’m proud of this incredible effort and the professionalism and positive attitude of staff who made it possible. At the same time, I’m humbled by the response of the communities we support. The pandemic has brought into sharp focus something I think we all knew to be true, but too often hidden from view - that communities are the heart of our nation, full of the connections with people and places that give us meaning, purpose and belonging.
We have a major role to play in this new era of community renewal. At every step of the way you can rely on us to put communities first. What we’ve learned from many years still stands true - we will be open to all communities, respecting their starting point. We will use our funding to bring people and communities together. We will support ideas from communities. We will continue to be guided by the knowledge that when people take the lead, communities will prosper and thrive.
Today we are publishing Putting Communities First - Our Commitments. It sets out what our partners can expect from us over the year ahead. I can’t wait to see the many amazing community projects we’ll back, and to be part of important moments where we’ll help bring people together, like the Platinum Jubilee, Commonwealth Games and Festival 2022, a big focus across the wider National Lottery family.
As we look ahead, increasingly confident and clear about our purpose, we must match this passion for the difference our service brings with a commitment to being the best we can be within The National Lottery Community Fund. In my time here, I’ve seen what is great about this organisation, but I also know that it is vital we continue to learn and grow. Where there are things that we could do better, you will see me listening, learning and then helping the organisation to take it on.
Fairness and inclusion will be at the heart of this organisation, both in how we fund and how we behave as an employer. These will be priority areas as we move forward - I want to ensure we are the best we can be.
- Date published