Launching the Community-Led Investment Policy in Parliament

We’re going to the UK Parliament House of Commons to share our community-led investment approach and policy. 

We’re thrilled to share the Barking & Dagenham Community Endowment Fund investment policy on behalf of the Community Steering Group (CSG).

The CSG is made up of a dozen or so local people who have developed an investment policy that has the potential to directly benefit local people and businesses by influencing how money moves in the borough. 

The Community Endowment Fund was transferred from the council to BD Giving in December 2020 to secure a much-needed legacy for Barking and Dagenham. The CSG were recruited, trained and supported by BD Giving, with expert advice from The Curiosity Society.

The Investment Policy was approved by BD Giving’s board of trustees on 02 June 2022. It puts local interests at the heart of decisions about how the Fund is invested or re-invested. As new developments in housing, transportation, international trade, film, food, and tech move into the borough, this policy will help secure access to the opportunities that come with that growth for local people and businesses.

We’re passionate about this approach. We think it can provide a sense of empowerment to local communities across the country, as well as an innovative way for other funders, donors, and local authorities to invest in a locally-led vehicle. 

This policy is the beginning of something revolutionary, not just for the borough but for the country. We expect other communities to want to adopt this model and that’s why we’re going to Parliament on Monday 20 June to celebrate what the CSG has achieved and share what we’ve learnt

You can read the Investment Policy here after its launch on Monday, and in the spirit of participation, we asked a CSG member and a trustee to tell us a few things about the policy, in their words.

Read what Liliana Hristova and Alex Jeremy have to say:

What’s an investment policy? How would you explain it to a friend or family member?

Alex: An investment policy is a set of principles and parameters governing how and what a sum of money is invested in. It acts as a rulebook or guide about how investment decisions should be made. A policy normally reflects the priorities and/or values of the company, organisation or individual.

Lili: Ours contains the goals, principles, tools, and strategies of how money is to be invested. It also contains responsibilities, who is accountable and how the terms of the policy are monitored.  

How is BD Giving’s Investment Policy different?

Lili: it is driven by participation. Residents and people working in the borough are given the opportunity and power to shape it.   

Alex: BD Giving’s Investment Policy has a number of distinct qualities. In particular, its primary aim of increasing access to capital for charities and social enterprises in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, using a ‘total impact’ approach. 

It has been developed by a group of residents whose understanding and passion for their local community have shaped the policy in its entirety, despite not having any background in corporate or social investing.

How was your personal experience of developing the Policy?

Alex: it was a really enjoyable, positive and learning experience.

Lili: I feel proud and grateful to be part of this process, learning about investments, working together with other residents, BD Giving and Curiosity Society.  

Setting out the objectives, targets and boundaries was much easier than I expected. There is a great deal of cohesion, which I found interesting especially that most of us did not know each other and all our communication and meetings were online to begin with. 

It was at times tricky to make sense of some of the unfamiliar tools we used during the learning process, but it all made sense further down the line and I could clearly see their relevance. 

I also feel that the meeting timings, facilitation process, learning strategy and choices of experts to help us on our way was spot on by BD Giving.    

Here are our Alex and Lili’s 3 top tips:
  1. Keep an open mind. Trust and enjoy the process and learning, and know that your opinions and ideas as a local resident do matter.
  2. Planning, facilitation, and structure play a big part. A well thought out process is very important to maintain engagement, commitment and keeping on task, especially working with people who might have not met in person.
  3. Get professional advice from people that understand and value the vision for the investment policy and the role of local people in shaping it.

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