Supporting our communities in 2023
Columbia Threadneedle Foundation News

Supporting our communities in 2023

In 2023 Columbia Threadneedle Foundation’s ongoing support for its long-term charity partners enabled them to deliver vital work to improve individual lives, whilst also driving fundamental social change.

In addition, Columbia Threadneedle made a number of grants to support charities within the communities in which we live and work and our employees took part in volunteering opportunities to help worthwhile causes.

Charity partners

Clean Break

Clean Break delivers high quality theatre programmes in prisons and communities across the UK and has an excellent track record of working with women to address the long-term issues affecting those involved in the criminal justice system through theatre-based activities and holistic support.
The Foundation’s grant helps fund Clean Break’s Member Programme where women can enhance their wellbeing, develop new skills, look for opportunities to find their voices and play a more integrated role in society.

With the Foundation’s support in 2023, Clean Break Members were able to develop and perform in a number of theatre productions, including:

Dixon and Daughters at the National Theatre in London;

Playwrights Pathways included extracts from plays written by Members;

Clean Break’s first digital film, Hope, was screened at the Kiln Theatre;

and their touring play, Catch, was developed and performed by Members.

Clean Break has also launched their Member Facilitator Training programme for Member Artists and Playwrights Pathways writers, with the support of the Foundation. This new project assists Members to further their development in the arts, as well as giving Members the opportunity to take part in masterclasses with industry professional and attend theatre trips.

Clean Break Theatre Production_Foundation roundup 2023
Dixon and Daughters, a Clean Break and National Theatre production. Photograph by Helen Murray.

Take One Picture at The National Gallery

Columbia Threadneedle supported the National Gallery’s annual ‘Take One Picture’ learning programme and exhibition for the sixth consecutive year.

Take One Picture is the National Gallery’s countrywide scheme for primary schools which uses one painting from the Gallery’s collection to inspire cross-curricular work in primary classrooms. The programme aims to put art at the centre of children’s learning, inspiring a lifelong connection with artists, museums and galleries.

Family day at National Gallery

This year A Shipwreck in Stormy Seas (1773) by Claude-Joseph Vernet was the source for inspiration.

Bounce Back

Bounce Back advocates social mobility with the firm belief that rehabilitating people in prison, leaving prison, or at risk of re-offending can be achieved by equipping them with the skills and self-assurance they need to re-engage with their communities and gain employment.

Bounce Back employed a Community Trainer [CT] based at the charity’s community training centre and hub in London with funding from the Foundation this year. The CT is responsible for delivering a variety of ‘built environment’ training courses and additional courses to develop soft skills. If a client begins to disengage, lacks motivation or feels anxious, a plan is developed to support a client’s mental wellbeing, confidence and employability skills.

Additionally, Bounce Back has explored the creation of digital badges for clients, which will enable the charity to scale up and reach more clients over the next few years, while offering innovative qualifications.

Access Sport

Access Sport places inclusion at the heart of community sport across the UK. Their mission is to make sport and physical activity accessible to everyone, irrespective of their background or ability.

Children riding bikes
In 2023, the Foundation continued to fund Access Sports’ Growth Strategy. This includes the appointment of a Cycling Activator in London for the Changing Sports – Cycling Programme, investment in cycling equipment, volunteer and coach development, community cycling events and competitions, with the aim of reaching 350 young people from deprived communities in London.
In addition, hiring a new Cycling Development Manager in London has been key to the successful expansion of the Changing Places cycling work initiative in Bexley, Bromley and Harrow in the UK. Based on participant data, Access Sport were able to engage with 551 disabled and disadvantaged children and young people through cycling.
Thanks to the Foundation’s support, Access Sport has also invested in core systems to improve their financial processes.

AT The Bus

AT The Bus provides school-based programmes of art as therapy to aid the mental wellbeing of children and young people aged 5–18 in Oxfordshire and London.

With the mental health crisis impacting children and young people coupled with the economic challenges facing people in the UK continue schools are struggling provide sufficient support, and new schools have contacted AT The Bus for their services. In response, the Foundation’s grant in 2023 has been vital in helping AT The Bus reach more children.


AT The Bus has trained more facilitators in the Beattie Methodology, a creative therapeutic intervention that supports mental wellbeing, alleviates anxiety, and helps young people build their self-confidence, to meet the increasing demands for intervention.

AT The Bus is also publishing The Beattie Method Manual, which has received positive endorsements and quotes from artists and educators.

Overall, more than 250 students per week have benefited directly from Columbia Threadneedle’s funding.

Christmas tree Christmas art work
This festive artwork was made by students at Cherwell School, Oxford, working with AT The Bus.

Supporting research to drive social impact

The Foundation announced two charitable grants funded through the CT UK Social Bond Fund to support research carried out by The Centre for Financial Capability and the Centre for Local Economic Strategies.

The Centre for Financial Capability (TCFC) is a UK charity with a mission to ensure every child in the UK develops the skills and behaviours necessary to navigate critical financial decisions in their life – starting from primary school.

The aim of the research was to understand what financial education works, what is still needed, and to create practical resources for the 95,000 small charities working with children and young people. This would enable access to financial education for families of young children in need as well as ensure knowledge and behaviour is embedded as early as possible, supporting long-term education and short-term support for families.

The Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) is a UK national organisation dedicated to developing progressive economics for local communities. For this research project CLES worked in partnership with Leeds City Council and the Women’s Budget Group (WBG), a not-for-profit network whose aim is to promote a gender equal economy.

The pilot project provided decision makers at Leeds City Council with greater insights into the lived experience of women as part of their economic development strategy. With the findings, CLES aims to create a blueprint of good practice that will help local and other government authorities to better design and tailor interventions to support economic gender inclusion in their communities.

Additional charitable giving

Community support

Columbia Threadneedle Investments continued to provide a number of grants to charities within the communities in which we live and work.


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City Harvest alleviates food poverty by putting surplus food to good use in a sustainable way by distributing it, for free, to more than 350 charities, food banks, schools and community groups across every London borough.


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Youth Adventure Trust – helps young people, from ages 11-16 in Swindon and Wiltshire to fulfil their potential, build resilience and lead positive lives in the future.

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Reach Inclusive Arts – this theatre-based charity provides a variety of artistic opportunities for people with a range of disabilities and additional needs, throughout Swindon and Wiltshire.

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Swindon Music Trust – a small charity that uses music therapy to help children overcome trauma, assist children with special educational needs, support children from low-income families or where children in care.


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Drum Riding for the Disabled – provides therapy, fitness and skills development for disabled adults and children through interactions with horses.

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Light up Learning – delivers one-to-one mentoring for high school students.


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A LA PAR – helps children and adults with learning disabilities through sports activities at their Mountain Bike school.

19 December 2023
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