Kelly Huxley-Roberts, Wales, Policy and Partnerships Manager at Lloyds Bank Foundation England & Wales delivering a talk at gofod3 2024

‘We have to work with hope’

Published: 14/06/24 | Categories: Information & support, Author: Kelly Huxley-Roberts

Kelly Huxley-Roberts, Wales, Policy and Partnerships Manager at Lloyds Bank Foundation England & Wales, reflects on this year’s gofod3.

I’m still buzzing from the warmth and positivity of this year’s Welsh voluntary sector conference, gofod3.

Recent years have challenged everyone working and volunteering in the voluntary sector. The people who make charities and social enterprises what they are have demonstrated adaptability, determination, and heart more than ever before.

The feeling I’m left with after gofod3 is gratitude. I’m grateful to see passionate, caring, knowledgeable and dedicated people coming together with positivity, open-minds, feistiness, ideas, and determination.

As a key supporter of the event, my colleagues at Lloyds Bank Foundation for England & Wales and I are grateful everything went well. Huge congratulations to everyone who made it happen, those leading sessions and those behind the scenes.


gofod3 was jam-packed with sessions throughout the day, and over 500 attendees. With panel discussions, workshops, seminars, and countless conversations throughout the day, the only disappointment was that we couldn’t attend everything!

As the first in-person conference since 2019, it was a fantastic opportunity for meaningful partnership working with WCVA, charity partners, Welsh Government and others from the voluntary and public sectors.

For us as a Funder, it was also a chance to connect in person with charity partners (current and former), development partners who support our charities, and other funders in Wales. It was also a chance to promote our new funding opportunities and organisational development programme, and a chance to tell people about our new CEO.


Lesley Griffiths gave her first address to the sector since being appointed Cabinet Secretary for Culture and Social Justice, and we saw Lindsay Cordery-Bruce sail effortlessly through the day as WCVA’s new Chief Executive.

I lost count of the number of in-passing chats on the way to other rooms, to the car, or while eating delicious cupcakes offered by the Big Lunch team. The in-person energy just can’t be beaten, and it was palpable how much people wanted to connect.

It is worth noting that it is not always easy or possible for some people to attend in-person events, whether that be due to distance, cost, lack of accessible transport options, or health reasons. We must all continue to be mindful of equity as we resume events like gofod3 moving forwards.


It was great to hear diverse voices from the sector, including those who don’t always get the spotlight, including small charities and social enterprises.

There were excellent ideas – and challenges – raised throughout the day, and a theme that struck me was how valuable the voluntary sector is. People who know this implicitly need to work together to articulate that value, and the whole sector needs to assert itself so that quality stays high and so that burnout becomes an unheard-of word for future generations.


As a funder, we particularly support small and local charities, and we host the Welsh Small Charities Forum. The Forum created a session called ‘Finding the Good’ and asked the question: what really is the most advantageous tender?

The session was well-attended, and we shared a bilingual resource containing our commissioning good practice recommendations. These recommendations have come from leaders of small charities themselves, people who have lived and learned experience of what it takes to deliver vital services that matter to communities.

Our commissioning good practice recommendations have informed Welsh Government’s updated Funding Code of Practice, and will be included in the National Procurement Toolkit, created by WLGA, the National Commissioning Board, and other partners. We invite people to use our ‘Finding the Good’ resource to stimulate commissioning conversations across Wales.


Society and the sector continue to change. In some ways, after a challenging and transformative time, meeting in-person for such a full-on and energising day feels like a bit of a reset.

But let’s not pretend the past hasn’t happened, and that everything is perfect now. Let’s learn from what has worked well so we can strengthen the sector, in a way that builds on what got us here. The strengths I see in abundance are: honesty, commitment, learning-mindset, and experience.

What I also see is hope, which is perhaps simply a determination to keep believing that good will win. I’ll leave the last word to the brilliant Menai Owen-Jones, whose words during the panel discussion about challenges in the voluntary sector strike me as both true and necessary:

’We have to work with hope.’


Kelly Huxley-Roberts leads Lloyds Bank Foundation’s Policy & Partnerships work in Wales and is a board director of the IWA. If you’re interested in hosting a commissioning conversation in your area, email