Annual Review 2021

The year in review by our Chair, David Emerson CBE

A priority this year has been the need to adapt and respond to the impact of the pandemic, and tackle the most urgent issues faced by communities served by the social housing sector. That is what we were set up as a charitable foundation to address and we have continued to serve those customers across the Stonewater families and communities. In addition to transforming the lives of those most in need we have helped many others made more vulnerable during this time, whether reflected in job precariousness, delays to benefits, or other financial hardships.

Last year we improved our delivery by strengthening our staff and governance teams; this year saw a greater emphasis on refining our priorities to address the growing needs arising from the pandemic. In this we were helped once again with additional resources from Stonewater to whom we remain most grateful.

With the support of the expert team on our Finance and Investment Committee our resources have continued to be well managed for both long-term investment, creating a future income for the foundation, and for spending, enabling us to meet the increase in demand. We have seen an impressive doubling of our individual grant giving to a total of more than half a million pounds, delivered through well over 700 individual grants.

Learning from the experiences of many individual grantees who have benefitted from help with their economic, physical and mental well-being, we have created a new project, ‘Circles of Support’, to provide holistic and wrap-around support to Stonewater customers. We have also continued with the inventive ‘Cuppa and Chat’ sessions which give project grantees a valuable space to connect and talk through issues in these challenging circumstances.

In enabling all that we do, I express my sincere thanks to the Board and staff team of Stonewater for their continuing financial and moral support, and I reiterate my thanks to our dedicated small staff team who have responded with dedication to the personal and professional challenges they and our grantees have faced. But ultimate responsibility lies with our trustee board who proved critical in shaping the decisions we have made, and I am very grateful to all of them for their support and including the invaluable governance guidance from Anne Harling.

With the needs of the communities we serve continuing to increase, our role is more necessary than ever, so we shall continue to be the very best we can in the year ahead.

Words from our CEO, Andy Peers

Our CEO, Andy Peers, shares his thoughts on the past 15 months and what is coming next for the Longleigh Foundation in the video below.

Our aims, mission and values

In late 2020, our trustees and staff realised our mission and ‘plan’ had been surpassed or was now simply out of date. We’ve learnt so much about who we are and how we needed to work with Stonewater to improve our service to their customers and communities. We wanted our plan to reflect the impact of the pandemic on those in society who were already dealing with significant vulnerabilities and how the road to recovery would be long and tough.

And so, our 2025 plan, Progress and Partnership, was formed.

Our social mission:

To support transformation in the lives of the customers and communities, becoming a valued charity partner to the social housing sector.

Our values are always to strive to be: compassionate, collaborative, agile, insightful and ethical.

Our key aims are:

Be a valued and integral long-term partner to our donors in how they enable transformation in the lives of their customers and communities.

Embed a learning culture so we can understand, improve and demonstrate the difference we make and then share this with others.

Improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our work through continual development and integration of systems.

Partner with more social housing sector organisations, and their supply chains, so our model can reach more individuals and communities.

We are a mission-driven and values-led team. From the boardroom to the frontline, there’s no get-out clause, there’s no decision that is too big or too small to be taken outside of the framework set by our mission and values. It’s an all-in culture that we’re building.

Our social mission means our grant-making needs to have the potential to see lives truly changed. Our Individual Grants enable us to see this happen a life at a time, a family at a time. With our Project Grants, it’s at that wider community level. With our Research Grants, we want to influence societal change. We hope that the information in the rest of this review helps tell some of that story.

The past 15 months in numbers

Our total income

Out of our total income, £3.8 million was donated from our founding donor, Stonewater.

A breakdown of our expenditure

Our total expenditure is £1,831,394.

Our current investment value

Our total return on investment was 14.4%.

Working in partnership by Stonewater Chief Executive, Nick Harris

When Stonewater established Longleigh back in 2015, we knew how valuable it would be for those most in need, but we could not have foreseen just how vital it would become for so many. The Covid pandemic triggered a significant increase in demand, which has continued to climb over the past year, with no sign of letting up.

It’s a sad reflection of the wide-ranging impacts across both individuals and communities, whether on finances, vital services, well-being, or mental health. It’s been good to see Longleigh step up to the challenges and increase funding support at a time when many others are cutting back. There are so many examples of the very real difference Longleigh is making, (some of which feature in this Review), which are testament to the Longleigh team’s commitment and professionalism during the most testing of times. For me personally, a few highlights stand out:

Firstly, the Service veterans who were able to celebrate their first year in a home of their own thanks to an innovative partnership between Stonewater, Longleigh and Herefordshire Council. The project, at Noden Mews, saw six ex-members of the Armed Forces build their own homes and settle into civilian life as part of a supportive community.

Secondly, the joint work by Stonewater and Longleigh to welcome Afghan refugees under the Government’s Resettlement Scheme, particularly families who assisted the UK’s efforts in Afghanistan and those in vulnerable groups, such as women and girls at risk and the LGBT+ community.

And thirdly, the ground-breaking work done by Stirling University looking at how assistive technology can aid the elderly and those living with dementia. Funded by Longleigh and supported by Stonewater retirement communities, this specialist research is providing valuable insight, with full findings due to be published later this year.

Of course, these ‘headline’ stories run in parallel with the day-to-day work of Longleigh – from providing a washing machine for a single mum or new shoes for a child, to mental health support or well-being therapy – I’m proud that Longleigh continues to be there for those in need, with the little (and sometimes big) things that really matter.

Our individual grants in numbers

How much we spent on individual grants

That’s an increase of 106% from the previous period!

How many people did we help?

We had 704 successful applications – that’s an 89% success rate!

What was the average amount of our grants?

Our average amount increased by £50 this year to £750!

What our individuals grants cover

The power of our individual grants

Watch the story of XXXX, as she/he/they share their experience of receiving a Longleigh grant. Illustrating the power of our individual grants, this video gives an insight into the impact of our grant making.

Learn more about our individual grants

Lippy People Lockdown Story

Our story of learning during the lockdown

Lippy People is a video storytelling charity based in Leeds that contributes to positive social impacts through coaching people. They learnt much during lockdown and they wanted to share these learnings with you.

Read more

Our project and research grants in numbers

How much we spent on project and research grants

These grants focus on themes and issues prevalent in social housing.

How much we’ve awarded to fulfil multi-year grants

That’s £732,862 going on 18 grant commitments.

How much we’ve awarded to new grants

Out of the £196,390, 45% went towards projects supporting those impacted by Covid-19.

The story of young people and the Alcohol Education Trust

Watch Louise and Kellcie share their experiences as part of the Alcohol Education Trust’s project at one of Stonewater’s Foyers for young people. Revealing how we work in partnership with social enterprises, charities and Stonewater, this video shows you the impact of our project and research grants. In the past year, this Alcohol Education Trust programme has engaged 3,300 people aged between 18-25 and over 500,000 aged between 11-17.

Learn more about our project and research grants

Thank you

The continued support by our founding and major donor, Stonewater, is something we will never take for granted. For this support – from the board to the frontline – I would like to express our sincere thanks. We value the trust that Stonewater places in us. We strive to fulfil their original vision for Longleigh.

Longleigh is privileged to be supported by a brilliant board of trustees. Their skills, experience and commitment ensure our governance is of the highest order. I am so grateful to our board for all their behind-the-scenes work that enables us to make great progress on a day-to-day basis.

The money entrusted to us always needs to be well looked after. I would like to thank the ongoing diligence from our Finance & Investment Committee and our investment fund managers, Cazenove.

Through the turbulence of the pandemic, our small team has not been immune from these challenges. But, together, we have risen to the ever-increasing needs of the individuals and communities served by Stonewater. I am so proud of the sheer volume of work the team has done. I am so thankful for the resilience, support and good humour you have all shown – you make each day at Longleigh an enjoyable and enriching experience.

There are so many other partners and organisations that help us succeed. From our partners, suppliers and IT support to our social impact partner and colleagues across the grant-making sector – thank you.

I would like to end my thanks with recognising the work of the organisations we have awarded project and research grants to. During the pandemic, I’ve seen many of them re-shape their entire service and operating models so they could continue to reach the communities they support. Witnessing their fortitude and innovation provides a continual source of inspiration to us – thank you.

—from Andy Peers, CEO of Longleigh

Our team and trustees

Our team

None of our work would be possible without our dedicated and hardworking team. We are a small group driven by Longleigh’s mission to transform the lives of those living in social housing and led by our values. Our thanks go to the team for their commitment and efforts over the past, challenging and unprecedented fifteen months.

Learn more about our team

Our trustees

We are privileged to have trustees with expertise in social housing, charities, changemaking and more. Thanks to their experience, guidance and leadership, Longleigh continues to go from strength to strength. Our thanks go to our trustees for their tireless efforts and commitments over the past period.

Learn more about our trustees

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