Juliet Singer KFR
In Conversation with Vicky Hickey Joint Chief Executive Wiltshire Community Foundation
This is our Christmas edition; we would like to guide the minds of our Wiltshire community to consider the plight of those living in abject poverty.
Financial deprivation resulting from numerous causes erodes the fabric of our society with devastating effect. KFR wanted to focus the Christmas spotlight on Wiltshire Community Foundation who do so much to alleviate hardship through their grant giving and advice and support to the local voluntary sector. Therefore, who better to be in conversation with at this time than the Joint Chief Executive of WCF, Vicky Hickey.
Vicky – a little background pre WCF?
VH ‘’I am a born and bred Wiltshire lass educated at primary and secondary school in Devizes. To my parents dismay I decided to skip the lure of uni, instead I trained in accountancy. I started my career at Allied Dunbar where I qualified as an Accountant, followed by 5 years at Live Nation and Ambassador Theatre Group, looking after the finances of theatres throughout the country, and then followed a few precious years of simply being a Mum.’’
About Wiltshire Community Foundation an independent charity
Connecting people who care with causes that matter giving support and financial assistance
Supporting the voluntary sector
VH ‘’ I applied for a part time position of Finance Manager at WCF nearly 10 years ago and became Director of Finance & Operations in January 2018. In March 2020 our then CEO, Rosemary Macdonald, was seconded to be CEO of UK Community Foundations, and Fiona Oliver, who was our Director of Development & Marketing at the time, and I became Interim Joint Chief Executives, roles that became permanent for us in September of that year.
The charity is the largest grant giver in the County, covering the whole of Wiltshire and Swindon and is one of 47 Community Foundations in the UK. Wiltshire was the first Community Foundation to be founded in the UK, back in 1975 by Lord Joel Joffe, who was one of Nelson Mandela’s lawyers and founded Hambro Life in Swindon.
Thanks to the amazing generosity of our supporters and donors over the last 47 years, we look after an endowment fund of nearly £30 million, which provides a sustainable source of funding for the county’s voluntary sector.
Donors who support our charity have many reasons for their philanthropy. Some are keen to support specific themes like mental health, homelessness, poverty, and others may want to give to a specific geographic area in the county. There is no shortage of need and thankfully a vast range of community groups who can help. We work with individuals, businesses, charitable trusts, and institutional funders.
A snapshot of your working day at WCF
What do you see and hear? How can you help?
VH ‘’In addition to the funding and support we provide to the voluntary sector, we are also a listening organisation, we hear the problems facing our community and the voluntary sector within. The challenges of poverty and all the strands that link to human suffering are immense. My role is primarily internally focussed on Finance and Operations, but in the last couple of weeks I have attended AGMs of other Wiltshire charities, which has been extremely insightful and has enabled me to hear first-hand the challenges they are facing. I’m able to then feed this back into the team, building our knowledge of the voluntary sector we exist to support.
In addition to supporting the voluntary sector we also offer a range of grants for young people in the county, supporting their development, education, and future employment. We also have our Welcome Fund which provides support to groups working with refugees that find themselves in our county.
JS – WCF ears are attuned to the voices of our community.
Tell me about the working partnership WCF and the KFR effect – WCF generous donation to KFR during Covid
The award winning charity KFR is proud to have developed an excellent working relationship with WCF.
‘because no one should be without a bed to sleep on, a cooker to cook on or a sofa to sit on’ REUSE NETWORK 2019”
VH “ KFR does a fantastic job and has impacted on the lives of many not only with the KFR Crisis Fund but providing a warehouse full of affordable goods at affordable prices. WCF were delighted to give KFR a grant of just under £10k in the darkest days of Covid. We were able to award the grant due to the donations we received from our supporters and donors but also due to funding received from the National Emergencies Trust, who chose to work with Community Foundation’s across the UK to distribute their funding, with nearly £500k from their national campaign coming into Wiltshire communities.”
VH “Not only have KFR been battling the fallout from Covid but no sooner did the pandemic subside than the escalating cost of living crisis overwhelmed our lives. Unprecedented demand and sky rocketing running costs have inflicted financial wounds meaning all small charities were yet again chasing the same ever diminishing funding pots”
VH “That’s why it is essential for WCF to continue to support small local organisations like KFR in this time of constant challenges”
For this Christmas edition – the saddest story:
VH was having none of the gloomy stuff. “’It’s Christmas and a time of year when a miserable story or case should not be offered up! Let’s concentrate on positivity and take the readers back to 1975 when a few great minds founded WCF. These forward-thinking individuals launched an organisation that would keep on giving, providing KFR and other similar organisations with the assistance they richly deserve and badly need”
“ VH asks herself the question ‘how would our founders see us now 50 years on? My answer is that with the community asset of the WCF endowment that they created, and many have added to and nurtured over the years, along with our fantastic team and trustees, I hope they are as proud as we are in what we have achieved and continue to deliver for communities in Wiltshire”
VH “Juliet I am a netball nut” Not quite Vicky’s words but clearly an avid participant in the game! Joint captain of the Devizes Vixens team who won both their summer and autumn 2022 leagues to prove their proficiency!
VH “No hesitation here – Beef from Poulshot Lodge Farm, cooked to perfection with all the trimmings plus another favourite, cauliflower cheese!
Favourite Holiday destination
VH “New Zealand is the most amazing country I visited when travelling around Australasia and the Far East many years ago. This would be my dream ticket – one day. But in the UK the Seven Bays area south of Padstow Cornwall will do nicely”.
Thank you Vicky Hickey for an overview of the inspired work achieved by
Wiltshire Community Foundation
KFR wishes everyone a very happy Christmas!
Contact: Juliet Singer KFR
01380 720200 Juliet.email@example.com
Contact: Vicky Hickey Joint Chief executive Wiltshire Community Foundation
Reg charity No 1123126