FUNDRAISING NEWS: Barclays rejigs community work

Emma Maier

Barclays is scrapping its 16 national charity partnerships in favour of a single £10m a year community regeneration scheme involving numerous charities and local groups.

The bank, which currently has relationships with charities including Samaritans, Barnardo's and Childline, will not renew existing partnerships when they come to an end. It aims to complete the transfer to the new scheme by 2005. However, regional fundraising and volunteering partnerships will continue.

"Although we won't be renewing partnerships, we will be able to keep up the relationships at a grass-roots level," said Barclays' spokeswoman Jo Thethi. "We will continue to match regional staff fundraising pound-for-pound and staff will still be able to take part in our volunteering scheme."

The replacement scheme, Barclays Spaces for Sports, launches next summer.

It will involve Barclays partnering charities and community groups across the country to turn neglected land into sporting facilities such as skateboard parks and football pitches.

The scheme replaces the bank's existing SiteSavers project, which was launched in 1996 to regenerate derelict land for education and recreation and has transformed more than 750 sites.

Regeneration charity Groundwork, which already manages the Barclays SiteSavers scheme, has been appointed as the first Spaces for Sports voluntary sector partner.

"Barclays Spaces for Sports builds on the very best of Barclays SiteSavers, and we are delighted to be involved," said Groundwork chief executive Tony Hawkhead. "The importance to our health and wellbeing of having access to good quality open spaces and facilities has been well documented."

Barclays intends to appoint more partners before the launch, but it is unclear how the selections will be made. The company might accept applications from local groups for particular sites, or it may select the sites itself and then appeal for help from local groups.

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