Our Journey with Local Trust

Delivering £217m investment directly to local UK communities by 2026

We are proud to share the story of how we worked alongside Local Trust to launch an entirely new system to help them manage £217million in grants to local communities across the UK.

Local Trust

Local Trust is a place-based funder that supports communities to achieve their ambitions. Their aim is to demonstrate the value of long term, unconditional, resident-led funding. They support 150 local areas to transform and improve their lives and the places they live.

The project

Back in 2012, the National Lottery Community Fund entrusted Local Trust to deliver the Big Local programme, which would give 150 local communities, £1m each, with no strings attached.  The £217m fund to support the programme is the largest single purpose Lottery-funded endowment ever made and the biggest ever investment by a non-state funder in place-based, resident-led change in the UK.

Last year, Salesforce became the central place for Local Trust staff and grantees to manage all funding to community projects in the 150 Big Local areas. This includes the processing of funding applications, payments and reporting. Hyphen8 facilitated the development of this cloud-based platform using the Salesforce Outbound Funds module and Experience Cloud.

As well as transforming the business processes for the Local Trust funding team, the introduction of a Salesforce community has given grantees access to the information and tools they need to make the most of their funding. In each area Local Trust fund, Big Local works with a Local Rep and Local Trusted Organisation. It is now easy for them to view funding information on their area page, apply for further funding and communicate with Local Trust in real time about their activities and needs for support.

“It is really important to us as a resident-led funder to know people are much happier with how the system works, and that we are able to exchange much more timely and accurate information from the communities we work with.

Adam Cross, Big Local Programme Coordinator

Why does it work?

From the first day of the project, our Service Design team engaged with ALL users,  from Grant managers and administrators to Finance officers and Local Reps. This included:

  • Journey mapping
  • Active observations of people’s daily work
  • Visioning sessions
  • Testing sessions
  • User interviews
  • Developing and playing back user stories
  • Pre-deployment observation
  • External user sessions

Three key decisions made Local Trust’s new approach to tech successful.

Rather than tweak the old system or choose any off-the-shelf grant management solutions, Local Trust’s management trusted Hyphen8’s recommendation to invest in a new Salesforce solution. The flexibility of the platform allowed them to design a data model that matched their unique funding model, working with dedicated Local Reps each responsible for supporting specific Big Local Areas. Using predominantly features available in Salesforce such as Experience Cloud and Flow, we were able to create an online Community for Local Reps to access live information about their funding, apply for new funding and interact with the central Local Trust team.

One of this project’s design principles was for the Local Trust team to grow in self-sufficiency meaning they wouldn’t need to rely on a 3rd party supplier for help as they scaled-up the use of their platform. Working side by side with the Hyphen8 team meant that the Local Trust team could train as they went throughout the project.

Hyphen8’s Salesforce consultants and Service Designers worked closely with Local Trust users every step of the way. Engaging deeply with users meant we were able to build empathy, address assumptions and focus on building the tools people actually needed. 

"The biggest difference that we found so far is that the process for submitting the financial spend information has been made more accurate, as it is easier for people to do that. "

Adam Cross, Big Local Programme Coordinator