Anne-Helene Sinha

Investment Manager

Charities Aid Foundation

Small is beautiful and other takeaways from the Locality convention '18 

13 November 2018

Going to a convention with almost 500 attendees is both exciting and daunting, but it always makes you wonder, “will it all be worth it?”

The 2018 Locality convention didn’t disappoint, with inspiring leaders and activists, truly transformative stories and humbling experience sharing. Even the sometime tedious task of repeatedly introducing ourselves during the breaks became fun as we learned to introduce ourselves in sign language!  Yes, anyone can learn how to sign the whole alphabet in sign language in about 30 minutes, so why don’t we all learn it at school? 

Here are my takeaways:

Injustice, hope and perseverance are the three key ingredients of a true community leader or activist

These three words are what drives Miriam, day in day out, to sell coffee in a highly deprived area where no other dare to engage with the local population, despite the adversity she has faced and continues facing. She is an every-day hero, a community role model who should be championed and celebrated by local authorities, by the media and by the wider public. 

Community engagement can really be transformative

It counters the years of local government disinvestment, transforming the lives of individuals who thought their lives were at dead-ends. Measuring outcomes is one thing, but being able to evidence that community work is truly transformative with a long-term impact is the grail in the charitable sector. I was amazed to hear so many of the transformative stories that participants had to tell.  This is the type of news I wish would appear more in the headlines of our newspapers; I would feel inspired and energised rather than often left depressed and powerless.

Small is beautiful

The vast majority of charities in the UK are ‘’small’’. Latest figures from the NCVO suggest that 97% of charities generate less than £1M turnover per year. Small charities are effectively the main event. We know they work because they are flexible, they are able to respond quickly and effectively to local needs, they are able to establish trust with the community they serve, and they are part of the virtuous circle of building the local economy. We need to continue to support their transformative work, and help spread their success.


If you're a social organisation looking for finance to help with cashflow or to fund your growth, or if you're a philanthropist looking to have more impact, we'd love to hear from you.

Talk to our team on 03000 123 300 or email us at and we’ll be happy to help.

Anne-Helene Sinha

Anne-Helene Sinha

Senior Investment Manager

Anne-Helene is our Senior Investment Manager, overseeing the whole Venturesome portfolio with primary responsibility for our Community Led Housing Fund.  She also continues to manage the portfolio of social investments in our now closed, Community Land Trust (CLT) Funds and our active Development Fund. Anne-Helene is on the Grant Committee of a Power to Change Fund entitled “Homes in Community Hands”.

Prior to joining CAF Venturesome, she worked for over 10 years as a management consultant for social enterprises and charities, as well as the public and private sectors.