Posted 18 March, 2024

A few reflections after my first 100 days

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Richard Barron, CEO

At Hampton Fund we have just embarked on a strategic review. I’m pleased to have been able to kick this work off so early in my time at Hampton Fund, and I am excited about where the discussions will go with our very knowledgeable and dedicated board of trustees and staff team. The work will give us clarity in defining our strategic priorities, but through it we will also create the organisation’s first theory of change. 

While the term ‘theory of change’ can feel a bit jargony, it is something that I know from previous experience can really help to ensure we understand whether what we think we are achieving is what we actually are achieving. That definitely sounds like the sort of thing a new CEO should be aiming for. But why exactly?

Hampton Fund represents a hugely important community asset – a significant endowment and a history of providing support to the local community that dates back to 1811.  The trustees and staff team are therefore custodians of a vital local resource and a mission that is over 200 years old. As a source of financial support, Hampton Fund’s role is particularly important in a London borough where the perception is of affluence, and therefore a lack of need. One important implication of this is that there is also a lack of inflowing support and resources from outside the borough. This makes our role as a funder to the local community all the more critical. As a result, I believe that we have a duty to ensure we are deploying that resource, and delivering our inherited mission, as effectively as we can. That is not to say that Hampton Fund have not been providing important and effective support over the years, we definitely have. But it is absolutely right that we should challenge ourselves and ask the question: can we be doing more and better? And are there changes we need to make to achieve this?

Hampton Fund’s areas of benefit are within the London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames. This perception that Richmond is affluent, and generally a nice place to live, is difficult to refute. In fact, it has recently been proclaimed the happiest place to live in Britain. But like all urban areas, there are still very pressing issues to address. While Richmond was amongst the 10% least deprived local authorities in England according to the last Index of Multiple Deprivation in 2019, it also had one area ranked amongst the 10% most deprived in London. Nearly a quarter of the borough fell amongst the 50% most deprived areas in London according to the same statistics. We have had the pandemic and cost of living crisis in the meantime, and there is little to suggest this situation has improved. But at an individual level, deciding whether to turn on your heating in winter, or having to choose between this and feeding your children, are terrible choices to have to make, wherever you live.  And I am sure that the experience of being cold or hungry is not made better as a result of living in one of the more desirable parts of London. Perhaps, in some ways, it makes the experience harder. The demand for our support demonstrates the need locally - Hampton Fund made 2,000 grants to help with peoples’ fuel bills in the last year, and we are on track to deliver a similar number again this year. This is up from an average of around 1,500 annually, prior to the pandemic. These grants are awarded based on eligibility criteria that could be applied anywhere in the UK to reach people in exactly the same circumstances.

Hampton Fund also funds community organisations, and over my first three months I have met with many of these fantastic charities, run by incredibly dedicated people who are often doing so with scant resources. The wide range of needs these organisations meet – whether on health or homelessness, or to support carers or those with disabilities - are also no less real here than they would be anywhere else. Indeed, Richmond has some particular challenges – a working age population that is declining in relation to older age groups and particularly high levels of mental health problems amongst children and young people. Like everywhere else, there is increased pressure on budgets as a result of the cost of living crisis.

And that includes ours.

So that is why our strategic review and new theory of change are worthwhile. They will help us to see how we can do more and better with the important resources we hold. We owe that to the people for whom Richmond is not the happiest place to live in Britain.

Posted 12 hours ago Community Grants - approved 20th June 2024 At our Community Grants meeting on 20th June 2024, Trustees approved 16 grants with a total value of £412,032 including grants to the following community organisations:
Posted 6 days ago Individual Grants awarded in June 2024 At the Individual Grants Panel meeting on 27th June 2024, Trustees awarded 222 fuel grants amounting to £121,450.