John and Dorothy Ball were long-term residents of West Somerset, and their daughter, Mary, had very happy memories of growing up in the area. When both her parents passed away, Mary wanted to remember them by creating a fund in their memory. We consult Mary before distributing the funds generated by the endowment, supporting valuable projects. In doing so we are also helping to Mary re-connect with the communities she grew up in.
The John and Dorothy Ball Fund was specifically created to make a long-term impact on the needs of older people in West Somerset. The grants awarded from this fund include two very strategic interventions delivered by the West Somerset Advice Bureau and Accessible Transport West Somerset.
In the case of West Somerset Advice Bureau, the grant paid for the travel costs of an staff member to reach isolated older people living in and remote rural communities through home visits and ‘surgeries’ in village halls. Six new outreach venues have been established and 80 isolated clients were helped on a one-to-one basis in their homes. Astonishingly, through their work the Advice Bureau has helped secure over £468,000 of additional financial support for their clients in 2013/14.
Accessible Transport in West Somerset approached us for a grant to help pay essential training costs for volunteer car drivers as they introduced a new flexible service, again for people living in isolated communities. It has enabled them to ensure their drivers keep up to date with training, and in particular helping drivers provide a better service to passengers who are disabled or suffering poor health. This small grant will benefit over 2,000 people over the next three years.