Luton Rising charitable foundation plan to help tackle 'deep-seated' problems in Luton

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Luton Borough Council considers fresh approach to double or triple airport company funding for community and voluntary groups

An overhaul of a community funding source for voluntary and other groups in Luton aims to double or triple amounts raised, which totalled more than £160m during the last 20 years, a meeting heard.

The plan is to increase the scope of donations from the borough council’s airport company by setting up a charitable foundation. Its contract with Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation for the administration of the funding ends on March 31, 2024.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We simply can’t continue as before with any hope of tackling the deep-seated problems in this town,” LBC service director Luton Rising and monitoring officer Mark Turner told the council’s overview and scrutiny board.

Luton councilLuton council
Luton council

“Basically there’s a problem of finite resources and infinite demand which needs levelling,” he explained. “Our community funding is derived from the concession fee we’re paid by London Luton Airport Operations Limited.

“That’s dependent on passenger numbers, which are limited either by planning conditions or the constraints of the airport site. There’ll reach a time when, if that remains the only source of funding, it’ll stall. We know the needs of Luton’s people are great and continuing to grow.

“How do we bring more money into the town to support our stretched voluntary and community sector? That’s the question the board of London Luton Airport Limited, trading as Luton Rising, has been considering during the last few months.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The options contained in a report to the board are to maintain the status quo, obtain direct funding, receive finance from LBC, a partnership with another organisation, or a Luton Rising charitable foundation.

“We’re proposing Luton Rising should establish a charitable foundation capable of raising funds outside the borough to help meet our objectives,” said Mr Turner.

“It would make sense for that foundation to concentrate on strategy, policy and fundraising, and for the funding administration to be handled by a competent and qualified third party.

“The target is growth in our social impact without being dependent on growth in airport passenger numbers. Our aim is to double or triple the amount of money provided to the community already.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Read More
Schoolgirl from Hemel takes on walking challenge for Eaton Bray charity

“During the past 20 years, that’s exceeded £160m pumped into Luton’s voluntary community sector. If we grasp the opportunities, the rewards could be great.

“But it requires some investment, at least in the early stages, until we’ve begun the process of attracting funds from outside. This will probably cost around £200,000 a year, which can be met from Luton Rising’s free cash.

“We hope that would encourage the growth of an organisation speaking on behalf of the voluntary sector in the town to act as its advocate and voice.”

Liberal Democrat Stopsley councillor David Wynn said the foundation should be “visible, so people in the community can see what’s happening”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Labour Farley councillor Mahmood Hussain explained: “The concern is around small organisations with few skills to organise funding bids. This would be ideal for these independent groups to access the funding. Those with more expertise are taking most of what’s available.”

Councillors backed the charitable foundation option, which the executive is due to consider on January 9.

Related topics: