Whilst COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the third sector, it has also paved the way for the use of technology. As charities and grassroots organisations found their services cancelled overnight, this became a catalyst for changes and saw 77% of charities embrace the use of digital technology.

The Foundation has witnessed first-hand the need for charities to adapt and pivot in order to continue operating within the ‘new normal’. Embracing digital technology that they’d never used before, more and more organisations supporting communities across the West Midlands and Warwickshire have started to deliver services remotely over the last 12 months.

The Foundation’s Chief Executive, Tina Costello, has seen the Foundation help charities within the region embrace this new need for technology by providing grants to help fund the move to digital. She said:

“During the last year, charities and grassroots projects across the region have experienced a number of challenges due to the ongoing pandemic, which in turn has created situations which they may have never faced before. The Third Sector has often lacked funding to make technology their priority and a lot of the applications we received from community groups were looking for grants to help secure their immediate futures online and keep in touch with those who really needed ongoing support.


“The need for online and remote services meant that many of these organisations had to act fast so that they could continue to help our communities. To help address the need for this digital change for many, last year we launched ‘Doing Things Differently Fund’, a dedicated pot of money to help organisations adapt and pivot to stay online and active within the community. The fund awarded over £2m to 167 groups and without these grants, a lot of the services that people rely on would have been unable to continue to operate throughout the numerous lockdowns enforced across the UK.”

Breakthrough CIC is just one of the charities that has been supported by the Foundation during the last 12 months. The community group, based in Sandwell, was awarded £3,000 which funded a virtual group connecting isolated South Asian women, offering them a range of therapeutic and stimulating activities. Other charities which have benefited from the Foundation’s grants to help them provide digital services are, Shine A Light, Urban Devotion, The Hill Community Partnership, Academy for Karate, and Solihull & District Hebrew Congregation.

Tina Costello concluded:

“I am so pleased that through our grant schemes over the last 12 months we’ve been able to assist with this new step towards digital services, which I’m sure will prove helpful to the charities and their beneficiaries for years to come. We have such a huge passion and drive to ensure that our communities thrive during and beyond the pandemic, and we are thrilled to have been able to help so many organisations continue with us on this mission, in a digital space.”