Case Study: Hull Community Development Programme

The Rank Foundation’s flagship place-based programme in Hull

The Hull Community Development Programme build on Rank’s experience of place based funding programmes in Burnley, Corby and Blackpool.

In its first phase from 2013-2016, Rank funded 21 organisations in the area. Its second phase began in March 2016 and included nine organisations.


Programme structure

The programme was a three-year proactive funding initiative launched by Rank and Esmee Fairbairn in 2013. 21 projects were supported in four broad themes: Better Communities, Diversionary Activities, Encouraging Enterprise, and Developing Restorative Practice. These were funded by an initial £1.5m investment from Rank.

Rank believes its greatest value-add to the projects was in connecting and convening people. All projects are brought together by a steering group to encourage knowledge sharing and collaboration. The networking events they ran led to several mutual partnerships with grantees, some of which have continued after the programme ended.



  1. Understand context: Rank spent twelve months visiting Hull and trying to understand the assets and needs of the community before giving any grants. The Foundation employs a field executive with the right level of commitment, people skills and knowledge of the area to seek out new opportunities, learn and act as the point of contact for all issues.
  2. Build expertise: Rank selects projects for funding by identifying people who are, or could be, leaders in their communities. These are often community activists, charity founders or social entrepreneurs already making change happen on the ground, but could be anyone from a local politician to a pub landlord. Putting its support behind great local leaders has been critical to the success of programmes.


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This case study is part of our framework for place-based funding.


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