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Further investment in the future of infrastructure

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations and the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF) have announced further plans to support infrastructure organisations under the Big Assist programme.

The announcement comes shortly after the publication of a report from the Independent Commission on the Future of Local Infrastructure, set up by NAVCA.

The report identified a number of areas where infrastructure organisations could benefit from additional support and development, including the extension of the Big Assist programme, and in particular how the support provided should enable organisations to take the lead and proactively redesign their services in response to the environment they operate in.

Justin Davis Smith, Executive Director of Volunteering and Development at NCVO, said:

“We must continue to invest in infrastructure organisations as they adapt to the changing landscape, reforming their services and moving on from simply being providers of services to become enablers and brokers.

“Many are developing new ideas and services but need an injection of funding and support in order to help them realise their ideas. Sharing knowledge and expertise as they undergo this process will enable the sector as a whole to become more sustainable and resilient.”

Lyn Cole, Deputy Director of the NLCF and member of NAVCA’s Commission on the Future of Infrastructure, said:

“Over the past three years, Big Assist has helped over 900 voluntary organisations to develop new ways of supporting the sector. This additional funding aims to give the people who have shown they can make change happen the opportunity to get expert support. We also aim to enable them to share their learning and use their networks and relationships to shape the future of a strong and resilient sector.”

Neil Cleeveley, Chief Executive of NAVCA, said:

“The Independent Commission on the Future of Local Infrastructure felt Big Assist could play a key role in the re-design of local infrastructure. This extension in funding is an opportunity to ensure that Big Assist helps local infrastructure organisations respond to the Commission’s change agenda.”

NAVCA and NCVO will also be hosting a number of joint events. These will bring together infrastructure organisations with funders and policy makers in order to explore what is needed to make the Commission’s recommendations happen.


Notes to editors

The Big Assist programme is delivered by NCVO under contract to the NLCF. Big Assist also provides a wide range of other opportunities through a large ‘peer to peer’ programme including networking events, sponsored visits and mentoring and online events, shared space and resources.

The Big Assist contract, originally provided for three years, has been extended for a further year in order to develop four work areas:

  • A further £1m investment in infrastructure through the Big Assist platform
  • An extension of the evaluation to look specifically at how infrastructure is changing as a result of the programme. This learning will feed into broader work on the future of infrastructure
  • A programme of outreach and consultation with funders and other stakeholders to secure additional investment to support the longer term sustainability of the Big Assist platform
  • A programme of engagement with leading infrastructure organisations to learn from and share their vision for the future.

The NLCF supports the aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities across the UK. It is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery and invests over £650m a year in projects big and small in health, education, environment and charitable purposes.

Since June 2004 BLF has awarded over £6.5billion to projects that make a difference to people and communities in need, from early years intervention

to commemorative travel funding for World War Two veterans. Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £32bn has been raised and more than 450,000 grants awarded.

For further information or enquiries, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 020 7520 2424.

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