Adapting to meet tomorrow’s challenges

By Joanne McDowell, Big Lottery Fund NI Director

It helps to reflect and do some soul searching in order to take stock in our ever changing world. Looking back at the last 10 or even five years, so much has changed. Did I and others ever think we would be blogging, using smartphones or tweeting? But as we adapt to these changes we are acutely aware of the permanence of poverty and disadvantage and the constant challenges delivering of our mission of bringing improvements to the lives of individuals and communities most in need.

Joanne McDowell, big Lottery Fund NI Director
Joanne McDowell, big Lottery Fund NI Director

We are committed to seeking the opinions of those who are impacted most by the disparities in wealth, health, education alongside those who have an interest in tackling the issues that exist within our society. We do believe we could be doing more to contribute to and improve the life chances for those most in need. And perhaps at times, we are trying to do too many things at the same time.

Is it our role to help committed individuals to change things in their community through for example a small grant from our Awards for All programme? Or do we have a more strategic role in attempting to address structural inequalities across health, education and community safety agendas through programmes like Live & Learn or Safe & Well? How should we balance immediate needs against longer term support? Could we use our systems, skills, expertise and connections more effectively to bring others to the table? For instance, should we be influencing change by using our role to broker relationships with government and other funders? Or should we simply be a funder who responds to the needs of the voluntary and community sector.

We want to engage in a conversation about change and hear as many viewpoints as possible, so we can be a more effective funder in the future. We need you to share your thoughts, opinions and ideas with us. We need your input to help us meet tomorrow’s challenges as we vision for the period 2015-2021.

Join in the conversation at


Twitter: @blfYourVoice #yourvoice

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