Martha’s Nurturing Communities Update


For over two decades we’ve been gathering in depth knowledge of the problems and aspirations of our communities which we use to develop and deliver our strategy of maintaining and building upon a critical mass of small local organisations, often referred to as a ‘lifeline’ by vulnerable people needing help.

We believe DCF is the largest independent grant maker in the county and as such we have a responsibility to take a leadership role as champions of the groups, beneficiaries, donors and communities we serve. But we neither want to, nor do, work in a vacuum. Partnerships and collaborations are vital to our success in our core objective of facilitating change in Devon.

We’re only able to do this because of the large network of relationships we’ve established over the years with the wealth of organisations, groups and individuals working here. We share a mutual interest and passion for making things better for our communities and we use our grass-roots awareness and up-to-date research to inform our role as broker and community leader, not only giving informed advice to philanthropists and other funders, but also encouraging a strategic approach that cuts across all sectors and makes the most of increasingly scarce resources.

We continue to be involved in partnerships to help close the gap between the private, public and voluntary sectors and we welcome working closely with others, to demonstrate the critical importance of local groups and donors in creating and maintaining Thriving Communities. We know that in our region we’re blessed with a passionate network of experts and innovators, who recognise the value of early intervention, prevention and joined-up approaches to seemingly entrenched disadvantage but if that was easy – we wouldn’t be needed. Collaboration and partnership are hard to do. Innovation carries risk and is, of course, intrinsically breaking new ground. And trust takes time to build.

As a result we and our partners are often unsure about where the journey will lead us, but we could not be more sure that we all need to find ways that we can be more effective together than apart. The projects we are involved with place communities and local people at the heart of the solutions, finding new ways of working and not simply as consumers of services. We want to share our own knowledge and combine it with thaWellbt of our partners and others in a productive and transparent way: what we cannot achieve alone, comes within reach when we work together. This is perfectly illustrated by Wellbeing Exeter and the Historic Exeter Fire Appeal and, of course, the celebration of our 20 years of giving more locally.

Martha Wilkinson
Chief Executive