TownFunder 2014: notes, presentations and interviews


TownFunder 2014, a national conference which I organised, programmed, and chaired on behalf of my client Towns Alive, took place on 1st April at Sheffield Town Hall.

The packed programme covered how towns, cities and neighbourhoods could secure funding for projects through Community Share schemes, crowdfunding, community development finance and ethical finance, and local lottery schemes.

Speakers’ presentations and workshop notes are available – click on the links below to download them (powerpoint / pdf files).

Community share issues

–       Simon Borkin of the Community Shares Unit. Download presentation (powerpoint).

Portland Works Community Share Issue – “how we raised our funds”

–       Nikky Wilson and Steve Connelly, Portland Works, Sheffield (which has raised £270,000 in community share issues between 2011-13). Download presentation (powerpoint).

Community Development Finance

–       Sam Tarff of Key Fund – what are locally based “CDFIs” – community development finance institutions – and how can they help to fund projects? No presentation, but you can find out more about CDFIs at the Community Development Finance Association website; and about Key Fund at their website.

Socially responsible banks

–       Who are they and what can they do for your town? Charity Bank’s Simon Thorrington explained. Download presentation (powerpoint). You can also listen to this short (6 minute) interview with Simon recorded at TownFunder:

Better Data for better funding applications

–       Unlocking the supply of data enables towns and neighbourhoods to develop an evidence base for funding applications. Jag Goraya, The Better With Data Society, explained. No presentation, but visit The Better with Data Society.

Introducing Crowdfunding

–       Bruce Davis, Managing Director of ethical investment regulated crowdfunding platform Abundance. Download presentation (pdf). You can also listen to this short (4 minute 30) interview with Bruce recorded at TownFunder:

Crowdfunding – how we did it

–       Mansfield Business Improvement District wanted to provide free access to wifi across Mansfield town – to encourage visitors to stay longer; give them the opportunity to freely access information about the town and its history, shopping offers or the latest events; and open up opportunities for independent retailers and market traders. They secured a £20,000 corporate sponsor and ran a successful crowdfunding campaign reaching their target of £36,850. Presentation from Sarah Nelson, the BID Manager, explaining how (powerpoint).

Town and area-based lotteries

–       Society lotteries can be used to fund and support community activity. Leia Bunker, Lottery and Regular Giving Development Manager for St Luke’s Hospice in Sheffield explained how Play Local, the St Luke’s Hospice Lottery, works to generate fundraising income for the charity; the challenges of running a Society Lottery that St Luke’s have encountered to date and how the lottery’s brand and messaging is key to engaging the local community. Download presentation (powerpoint).

Sheffield City Centre

–       Richard Eyre, Head of City Centre Management at Sheffield City Council, explained the council’s successful use of High Street Innovation Fund and Keep Sheffield Working Fund to support independent and multiple retailers, and generate footfall through the Summer Saturdays programme of events. No presentation, but find out more in this interview with Richard.


  • Build your own Crowdfunding Campaign (discussion).
  • Community Share Issues – getting them right, making them work – Simon Borkin. Download presentation (powerpoint).
  • Open Data – how “better data”, collaboration, and sharing (public) data can help with finding applications. Jag Goraya and Danny Antrobus, Better With Data Society. Visit The Better with Data Society.

Charity Bank LogoCharity Bank kindly sponsored this Towns Alive event

Charity Bank was established in 2002 to be a different kind of bank, lending to charities and social enterprises so that they have access to the money they need, when they need it.

Charity Bank have approved over £185 million in loans to more than 1,100 charities and social enterprises that support people and communities across the UK. Visit

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