Evergreen love – Four years on

Back in 2014, we shared a special love story from Foundation funded group, Crick Jubilee Wood committee. The story featured newly engaged committee members, Dan Slater and Niele Bruce. Dan proposed to Niele by sponsoring a circle of red oaks at the new woodland as a permanent engagement ring showing his eternal love for her.

The couple tied the knot in 2014 and four years on they’re still very much in love and now have a daughter.


Niele, Dan and Lilana
The happy couple: Niele and Dan with their daughter Liliana


We caught up with Niele to hear about what they’ve both been up to since the article was first written:

“I can’t believe it’s been 4 years already since Dan sponsored the trees and proposed to me!  Dan and I married  on the 28th March 2014, we moved from our rented house and purchased our first home together in Crick in June 2014 and our daughter Liliana was born in October 2016.  Dan and I have loved watching the Jubilee Wood grow over the last 4 years and we enjoy taking Liliana and our two dogs there for family walks.

“We are really looking forward to the weather improving so that we can have picnics in the “Engagement Ring” (the official name for the ring of red oaks) and hope that the residents of Crick and surrounding villages love it has much as we do.”

In time, as the oaks grow, when Dan and Niele reach their 25th anniversary, the trees should be at least 15 metres high.


Engagement Ring.jpg
‘The Engagement Ring’


Dan and Niele Slater began their love story as members of the Crick Jubilee Wood Committee. The group received funding from the Yelvertoft Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund to develop a new woodland to benefit the residents and visitors of the area. Since the project began in 2013, Crick Jubilee Wood has provided new walking routes, increased wildlife habitats and has provided new resources for local children to enjoy and learn from.

Did you meet your partner at a Foundation funded project? If you have a great love story, we’d like to hear from you. Please email lucy@ncf.uk.com.

If you’d like to find out more about Northamptonshire Community Foundation or the Yelvertoft Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund, head to our website.

Amazing Maisie Benefits From Champions Funding to Achieve Para – Swimming Success

In July 2012, 9 – year – old Maisie Summers – Newton from Wollaston in Northamptonshire attended a Para-Swimming Talent Identification event organised by Northamptonshire Sport, the Amateur Swimming Association and Northampton Swimming Club. Having impressed the coaches who ran the event Maisie progressed on to the British Para-Swimming talent pathway and started competing at events around the country.

To assist Maisie with the additional costs of training and competing at this level she successfully applied for support from the Champions Fund held by the Northamptonshire Community Foundation in 2014 and 2015. This helped her to achieve success in events like the National Para-Swimming Championships in Sheffield, the National School Games in Loughborough and British International Para-Swimming Championships in Glasgow. Maisie’s explained how the money from the Champions Fund helped her during that 2 year period:

“The Champions Fund grants provided me with the extra financial support I needed to help me achieve my seasonal goals. They contributed towards the additional equipment, coaching, travel, accommodation and competition costs that were needed to help me develop further towards the next level in my sport.”     

Maisie, unfortunately, missed a substantial amount of the 2015 – 16 season due to injury and the chances of selection for the British Paralympics team who competed in Rio as a result. She used this disappointment as an extra source of motivation for the future, and started training harder than ever to make up for lost time.

Maisie’s dedication to training and the hard work of her coaches at Northampton Swimming Club, not to mention the great support of her family has led to her having her best season to date in 2016 – 17. She finished it ranked number 1 in the world for the S6 class 100m Breaststroke, 100m Backstroke and 200m Individual Medley.

All of these achievements resulted in Maisie’s selection for the British Para-Swimming Podium Potential squad. She competed for the national senior team for the first time at the IPC World Series event held in Berlin at the start of July where she showed no sign of nerves to win 3 medals.

Then only a few weeks later came Maisie’s performances that finished off her amazing season in perfect fashion. At the National Championships in Sheffield having only just turned 15 – years – old, Maisie won the 200m Individual Medley and 100m Breaststroke where she broke the European record in the final, narrowly missing out on the world record by 0.04 seconds. She also won a silver in the 400m freestyle and 50m Butterfly.

Maisie Summers - Newton photo for Champions Fund article
Maisie at the national British Summer Championships 2017

All of the achievements mentioned above have resulted in Maisie recently winning the Para-Swimming Emerging Athlete of the Year at the British Swimming Awards, and Disabled Sports Person of the Year at the Northamptonshire Sports Awards.

If you’re under 25 and are competing nationally or regionally in your sport, then you could receive funding support, like Maisie did, from the Northamptonshire Community Foundation’s Northamptonshire Champions Fund.


5 benefits to becoming a Trustee – Jo Gordon

Jo Gordon

As Trustees Week draws to a close we hear from Jo Gordon, Marketing & Sales Director of Northamptonshire Arts Management Trust who joined the board of Northamptonshire Community Foundation in January. 

Here are her top 5 reasons for becoming a Trustee:

Teamwork- Teamwork is one of the biggest elements of Trusteeship and gaining a totally new group of peers, new colleagues to learn from and draw upon to navigate through your responsibilities is so valuable.

Local knowledge – My knowledge of Northampton has dramatically increased in a short time of being a Trustee. My own engagement with the town and my understanding of its communities, its subtleties, its history and its nuances has developed more in 9 months than in the previous 10 years I worked in the town.

Skills development –You are fundamentally learning a set of new skills to apply to this crucial governance role – not just how to get the best from the teamwork required and how to apply your own skills, but also how to most appropriately support the executive- getting stuck in where you need to and sitting back and providing more hands-off support and reassurance too. In turn, this is building my own confidence both in delivering back to the Foundation but also in my existing job role.

Networking – The opportunity to network locally with members of the community and nationally with peers in charitable trustee positions is so important – not just in being able to deliver your responsibilities effectively, but in creating connections that benefit your wider life as well.

Pride – The immense sense of pride in being involved in such an effective organisation is extraordinary. The impact that is achieved by the Foundation, delivering its own charitable objectives so effectively, while fundamentally enabling so many other people in our community to deliver so brilliantly too, is a very powerful mix.

To find out more about the Foundation and our work head to our website

Northamptonshire Champions: Tom Symons

Sporting champions logo

Tom Symons has had a September to remember, he won the European Champion title at the World Association of Kickboxing Organisations (WAKO) Junior European Championships in Skopje, Macedonia and sustained his Grand Champion titles at the CIMAC Superleague in Windsor.

At the beginning of the month, Tom faced his WAKO GB teammate, Darryl Oldham in the WAKO Junior European Championship final. It was a close fight throughout, with Darryl maintaining the lead up until the third and final round but Tom managed to keep up his strength and fitness for one last shot and win the gold and Junior European Champion title.

Tom, who also brought home a bronze medal for Junior -69kg points said “I have loved every minute of the European Championships. I had some tough fights and wasn’t sure how far I would make it as it was my first year in the Junior age category, so was thrilled to have made it to the podium, let alone take the gold and European Champion title.  The GB team came fifth in the medal table overall after Russia, Hungary, Italy and Ireland, with the final medal count being twelve Gold, eleven Silver and twenty-four Bronze which is brilliant as the team is improving year on year.”



When Tom was 15 he joined the WAKO GB Junior & Cadets Squad and started competing at National and International Kickboxing events. To help support the additional costs of training and attending tournaments, Tom successfully applied for funding from the Northamptonshire Champions fund through Northamptonshire Community Foundation.

Tom explains how funding from the Champions fund has helped him to excel in his sport, “As kickboxing is a personally funded sport, mainly the ‘Bank of Mum & Dad’, it is only with the help from the likes of Northants Champions fund that I can afford to travel and attend the bigger tournaments.  With the continued support of Northants Champions I can’t wait for the World Championships in Venice next year.”

Tom’s next competition is in November, he’ll be flying out to Orlando to compete for Great Britain in the World Karate and Kickboxing Commission (WKKC) World Championships.

If you would like to find out more about the ‘Northamptonshire Champions Fund’ or would like to apply for funding go to our website.

5 Benefits of an Endowment Fund

Kevin Smith
Financial External Advisor

Endowment donations, both those that create new funds and those that add to existing funds, provide numerous benefits to donors that other donations may not provide. Below are my 5 benefits of setting up an endowment fund:

1. Donations to endowments survive beyond the lives of their givers, creating true legacies
The benefit to the recipient is magnified beyond what the donor might have been able to give during his or her life.

2. A donor who gives to an endowment is relieved of the burden of managing those funds
The Foundation will deal with all of the administrative work of the fund.

3. An endowment fund can be added to at a later date
The donor, or the donor’s friends and family, can add to a named fund from time to time by simply identifying the fund as the object of the gift. It provides a vehicle for people, especially family members, who wish to make meaningful gifts.

4. A donor who can donate to an endowment fund to support the issues that want to into the future
The donor can remain involved selecting the grant recipients to be awarded grants from their fund. They are not, however, burdened with the administrative and record keeping tasks that must be maintained.

5. An endowment fund allows for both annual grantmaking whilst achieving capital growth

If you’d like to find out more about setting up an endowment fund please contact Naomi Butters or head to our website for more information.

Why you don’t have to be Bill Gates to be a philanthropist

Spot the Philanthropist!

One of the things we’re most proud of here at the Foundation is our “seeing is believing” project visits. These visits enable donors to see the projects they’ve funded and provide a platform for groups to really shout about what they do.

On Monday we took some of our N100 members to visit Desborough Men’s Shed. The group had been awarded £1500 by the N100 panel to kick-start the Men’s Shed project in December 2016. Nearly a year on, the project has over 30 members, with the eldest at 89 years old. It’s enabled local older men to connect with peers and helped reduce social isolation in the area.

One of the misconceptions of a philanthropist is that you have to give millions, but that’s simply not the case. The people in this photo are all philanthropists; some give their time, some give a donation and some do both.

Here at the Foundation we make giving easy and enjoyable, so if you’re interested in philanthropy, get in touch.

Naomi Butters
Fund Development Manager



Make a lasting impact in your community

Rachel McGrath
Grants Director & Deputy CEO

Is there an issue that you or your business feel passionate about in your local community? Whether you are an individual, company, charitable trust or statutory organisation we can help you make a lasting impact.

Through our impact work, we are able to share with you insights and highlights into the value and demonstrated difference that your donations and grants are making to our County and local communities within.

Since 2011 Northamptonshire Community Foundation has been directly involved in developing and piloting a successful impact assessment tool on behalf of UK Community Foundations, the national network of Community Foundations. The result of this development work is a framework for providing compelling evidence of the impact of donor investment in community grantmaking.

We are able to provide impact case studies across individual awards and donor programmes. The themes, outcomes and indicators of the framework enable us to capture the kind of change that community groups and local charities are achieving and we’re able to track transformation and communicate this to current and potential donors and the wider community.

Northamptonshire Community Foundation also works in partnership with local infrastructure organisations to better support the groundwork for voluntary and community activity to thrive in local communities. This helps create opportunities for new groups and projects to help provide local solutions to the issues that affect our communities.

Take a look at our latest Impact Review to see how the Foundation is making a real difference in Northamptonshire.

For more information please contact Naomi Butters, Fund Development Manager or visit our website.

International Day of Charity – Deep Roots Tall Trees

Deep Roots Tall Trees is a Corby based arts charity that aims to extend the relevance of music, singing and the arts to the widest possible local and regional audiences. The organisation brings people in the local community together with professional artists to create music and art of the highest possible standard. This helps to empower beneficiaries to achieve their full potential, build confidence, and find purpose and agency in their lives.

The regular activities that the group has to offer include a choir and a dance theatre group. The choir writes most of its own repertoire having an active songwriting group and local musicians, George Reilly and Mark Brennan led by Barb Jungr.

The organisation was founded in 2012 with Rosalind Stoddart commissioning jazz singer songwriter, Barb Jungr, to write a song cycle for the people of Corby. Since then they’ve gained commissions from Made in Corby to work with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and from the Buccleuch Monument Trust. The choir has also performed at the Royal Festival Hall in London as well as The Core at Corby Cube.

Simon Steptoe, General Manager of Deep Roots Tall Trees said “Our Woods was our latest collaboration, bringing together sound, movement and light to celebrate Corby’s unique urban woodlands. It was a creative journey for everyone involved, who came together  through song writing, singing, performing and arts activities, developing confidence, ability, skills and ambition – and particularly… to have a lot of fun.”

“We have been really fortunate in being supported by Northamptonshire Community Foundation regularly since we started. This has included funds for “Our Woods”, another recent project supporting our choir’s members’ develop their vocal skills and our next project, “Changing Corby”, which takes our work forward into 2018 through helping us work with a range of different cultural groups in Corby. This continued support has enabled us to offer consistent opportunities to people involved in DRTT and has given us invaluable match funding to other grants.”


International Day of Charity – The Margaret Giffen Community First Endowment Fund

Giving to charity can be one of the most rewarding things you can do. Here at the Foundation, we work with individuals, businesses and charitable trusts who want to give locally and enable them to see the difference their donations make through impact reports and project visits.

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, Northamptonshire Community Foundation awarded just over £1.2million in grants during 2015/16. We couldn’t do this without the kindness of our donors and therefore in celebration of International Day of Charity, we’ve highlighted one fund that has made a huge difference to communities in Northamptonshire.

The Margaret Giffen Community First Endowment Fund

Established in 2013, in partnership with the trustees of the Margaret Giffen Charitable Trust, the Fund supports charities and non-registered charities in North Northamptonshire.  The Foundation is delighted to have worked on the Fund to support grant allocation and delivery.

Overall the Margaret Giffen Endowment fund has benefited 29,126 people at an average cost of £2.76 per beneficiary in Northamptonshire. The top three outcomes of the fund are;

  • Improve community cohesion
  • Increase access to sport, exercise and leisure activities
  • Support vulnerable people

These benefits have been predominantly for people and communities living in the North of the county and often within wards and areas of disadvantage and poverty.

Barry Rogers, Chair of Trustees and Partner at Tollers Solicitors said
“As Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Margaret Giffen Charitable Trust who have donated to the NCF Margaret Giffen Community Fund which has benefited from the matched funding scheme, I can confirm that many local community projects and charities have benefited from this fund. It would have been very difficult for me and my fellow trustees firstly to have located the many organisations who have benefited from this fund and secondly to have adequately vetted the numerous applications made for financial support. NCF have the necessary resources, expertise, and experience to do so which gives us every confidence that the funds we have donated are in safe hands and finding their way to where they are of most benefit to the local community as a whole.”

Ladies from the Kettering Rugby Football Club, who have recently benefited from the Margaret Giffen Fund.

If you would like to see the difference your donation makes, please contact Naomi Butters, Fund Development Manager for more information.

International Day of Charity – Performing Room

Performing Room is a local charity with a successful 16 year history of volunteering, funding and delivering music workshops, projects and events for up to 10,000 children, young people and adults living in Northamptonshire.

The charity’s ‘learning-through-performing’ approach aims to ‘free-up’ traditional forms of learning as part of an exciting Community Arts development programme for local people facing challenging circumstances to gain a structured creative focus and build upon skills and interests with an emphasis upon personal development and positive integration into modern day working and learning environments.

Projects combine youth work and life enrichment skills using digital media and IT equipment with music activities from a purpose-built people-led community creative hub located in the Castle ward area of Northampton.

Janan Fifield, founder and coordinator of Performing room said of the support from the Foundation:

Funding awarded by the Community Foundation has enabled the group to build a support network and social outlet since 2003 in support of progress towards a future where project beneficiaries living in this zone feel increasingly more confident about their future prospects and enjoy the same opportunities in life. Each Community Foundation funded project helps local people develop an attitude to become innovative, confident, independent and resourceful. At the heart of each is a sense of the role everyone plays in life as a family member, a friend, a neighbour, an employee/employer, and member of the community.”