The Law Centres Network (LCN) is celebrating today after being awarded nearly £500,000 in National Lottery funding over a period of three years to transform its digital capabilities.
The new grant from the UK’s biggest funder of community activity will see LCN conduct a multi-year programme of digital research and development. This will build on existing work and devise new practical tools to enhance local Law Centres' services to their clients nationwide. Aims include better managing and meeting public demand for Law Centres’ assistance; improving responsiveness and resilience through enhanced digital infrastructure; and using service data for better advocacy on behalf of Law Centre clients.
Julie Bishop, director of the Law Centres Network, said:
“After talking with both lawyers and clients, we realised that we need to think about how we can use digital tools to make the most of lawyer time, which is our most expensive resource.
“The funding will make a big difference to Law Centres up and down the country - helping us develop simple innovations like SMS reminders to clients about appointments and what documents to bring and focusing on how we communicate with clients. We will open source all we develop and making available our learning to our peers and the wider sector.”
Joe Ferns, UK Knowledge and Portfolio Director at the National Lottery Community Fund, said:
“In a digital society it’s important that charities and community organisations are not only able to adapt to be fit for the future, but can harness the power of digital to identify new opportunities to improve services to support more people. Now, thanks to National Lottery players, these organisations can increase their digital capacity to have a greater impact in communities and support our sector to thrive in the digital age.”
In total, 8 organisations have been successful within this round of the National Lottery Community Fund’s Digital Fund and will collectively receive £3.4 million to help them grow their digital capabilities, particularly around their operations and service delivery.
The announcement follows the launch last week (11 July) of the Centre for Acceleration of Social Technology (CAST)’s Digital Field Catalyst project, which has received £500,000 in National Lottery funding to support small civil society organisations across the UK incorporate digital ways of working and tools into their activities.
In addition to the grant, LCN will benefit from being part of an ecosystem of support set up for Digital Fund grantees, made up of Doteveryone, CAST, Shift, Snook, the Dot Project and a network of coaches and mentors. This support will range from help with recruitment and board-level engagement through to responsible tech practices, service design and data audits.
Grantees will also collectively document and share learning between themselves and the wider sector – a key aim for the National lottery Community Fund when setting up the Digital Fund.
The digital fund was developed through a series of one-to-one interviews and workshops, and builds on the National Lottery Community Fund’s previous experience of supporting the voluntary sector’s digital transition, which extends back over a decade.
Today’s announcement is also a key part of The National Lottery Community Fund’s commitment to enabling civil society to be fit for the future – supporting organisations and the voluntary sector to create opportunities to help local communities thrive.
Notes to Editors:
The National Lottery Community Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK, proudly awarding money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since June 2004, it has made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people. NLCF is passionate about funding great ideas that matter to communities and make a difference to people’s lives. At the heart of everything they do is the belief that when people are in the lead, communities thrive.