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Longleigh - Longleigh

Member Spotlight - Longleigh Foundation

We spoke to one of ACO's newest members Longleigh Foundation about the work of their charity.

Longleigh was set up in late 2015 by the social housing provider, Stonewater. They had recognised the increasing needs of their residents against the backdrop of continuing reductions in public spending and welfare reform. Our formation led to Stonewater winning a 24 Housing Award for innovation and we set out with the goal to develop a model that could become of value to other social housing providers who wanted to look at how they provided enhanced services for their residents and communities.

Longleigh is in that minority of funders that provides grants to both individuals and organisations. Our Individual Grants are for vulnerable residents who are in situations that do or could place them in financial hardship and distress. Our Project and Research Grants are focused on addressing themes that might be more prominent and prevalent for the individuals and communities served by the social housing sector.

The learning we gain from our Individual Grant activity helps us identify what themes we should consider funding at scale via Project and Research Grants. We also benefit from the insights and experiences of our donor, who manage over 33,000 homes for over 75,000 residents. Bringing our own experiences from across the social sector into the mix, we are seeing how we can enable transformation one life at a time, a community at a time and, in the future, across wider society.  

We see many stories of lives changing for the better. We have provided a number of Individual Grants for people having to flee from abusive and violent relationships and who need some support in setting up home again, in a new part of the country, for themselves and their children. It’s hard to face that level of distress and then have to try and find the resources to get a sofa, beds and white goods; and that’s before the three new sets of school uniforms too.

Through our Project Grants, we have funded a charity, set up by an Assistant Head Teacher of a large, inner-city primary school, who was alarmed and upset by the number of children who didn’t have a bed of their own to sleep in at night. It has been wonderful to hear about the number of families receiving new beds, bedding, pyjamas and hygiene packs for their children, all within 48-hours of a school making a referral to the charity. Knowing our funding has enabled this charity to scale-up their work is a perfect example of how we learn from one part of our grant-making activity and take it into the other parts of what we do.

Over the last couple of years, our Individual Grants activity has increased by over 3000% and our funding to organisations for Projects and Research Grants, by over 400%. We’re still a young foundation and upon the platform of this increased activity we are, first and foremost, dedicated to being effective in what we do and to then doing this as efficiently as we can. This continual development and improvement is certainly something that we’re working hard on right now so that all those we provide grants to have the best possible experience of their engagement with us.

As new members to ACO, we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the Chief Executives of a number of members who have really welcomed us into the fold. The warmth, openness and absolutely evident desire to share and collaborate has been amazing. So, to Joe at Buttle UK, Paul at the Smallwood Trust, Julie at Glasspool and Tom at Turn2Us - thank you!!

We hope to be engaging with more ACO activities in this first full year of our membership and to keep soaking in all the learning from the power of the membership group. We’ll also do what we can to share our experiences, adding into the tapestry and richness of the conversations we can already see are so much a part of ACO.

Andy Peers
Chief Executive
Longleigh Foundation


Phone: 07791 512546
Twitter: @LongleighFound


Link to our story about our Annual Review: