Book celebrating the history of Somerset raises £10,000 for local charity

The proceeds from a recently-published book called Deepest Somerset – which explores the history, the characters, the stories and diversity of the county of Somerset – have benefited three local charities, including Somerset Community Foundation.

The book, written by journalists Fanny Charles and Gay Pirrie-Weir, has an introduction by His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, and has been funded by Lord Rothermere’s Rothermere Foundation. Contributors include some of the county’s most creative and engaging residents including Michael Eavis, Cameron Mackintosh, and Alice, Julian and Matilda Temperley.

The other two local charities featured in the book, and who will benefit from sales, are: Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW) and The Farming Community Network (FCN).

Deepest Somerset authors Gay Pirrie-Weir and Fanny Charles say: “We are delighted to support the important work of Somerset Community Foundation, which helps so many groups and individuals across the county. Deepest Books has supported the community foundations in Dorset and Wiltshire, with the two previous books, Deepest Dorset and Deepest Wiltshire, and we know that the money from Deepest Somerset will go to very good causes.

“The pandemic and the lockdowns hit everyone, and the community foundations have provided financial and other support to so many in need. We are glad that our books have been able to help this work.

“For us, Covid meant that bookshops and many of our other retail outlets were closed for months, but we have been thrilled at the response to Deepest Somerset, which has enabled us to make substantial donations to our three charities just eight months after we launched the book at an event at Glastonbury Town Hall.”

Justin Sargent, Chief Executive of Somerset Community Foundation said: “We’re hugely grateful to have been chosen as one of three local charities to benefit from sales of Deepest Somerset. At a time when many of our neighbours are facing incredibly tough times due to the cost-of-living crisis, this donation will help us to support local charities who are working tirelessly to support the most vulnerable in our communities. We are very grateful to the authors, Fanny and Gay, and to the Rothermere Foundation for their support.”

Copies of the book, which retail at £25 each, can be purchased from many local book stockists or online. Further details can be found here: www.deepestbooks.co.uk

 

Photo Caption: Authors Fanny Charles and Gay Pirrie-Weir with copies of their latest book Deepest Somerset, which has raised £10,000 for Somerset Community Foundation

BLOG POST

By Kelly Hall, Development Manager

A couple of weeks ago I had the great privilege of joining some of our supporters on a morning of visits to local groups. We visited three groups in Mendip, all of whom use nature and outdoor settings as a tool to deliver positive impact for  people facing a range of challenges.

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St Peter’s Church, in Stolford, has undergone a major refurbishment after being awarded over £37,000 from the Hinkley Point C Community Fund, which is administered by Somerset Community Foundation.

Stogursey Parochial Church Council was awarded the grant in August 2020 to help improve the facilities of the building to enable it to become the Stolford & Wick Community Hub, providing a much-needed resource for two rural communities which until recently had no space where the community could come together.

Val Bishop, Programmes Director at Somerset Community Foundation, explained: “Rural isolation is a form of disadvantage in its own right, often exacerbating the hardships and difficulties many people face. We see it as the ultimate ‘hidden’ issue, here in Somerset, as it is almost impossible to see or measure.

“This application for funding to the HPC Community Fund was a straightforward project to develop St Peter’s Church into a community hub with the aim of reducing the isolation felt in the community. It involved connecting the building to the main water supply, so that the site could offer refreshments and manage waste water, as well as heating, lighting and a toilet. The project went ahead as planned, despite some delays due to Covid restrictions, and the community now has a hub: a focus to bring people together and foster social connections, which will reduce feelings of isolation and improve their quality of life.”

The Revd Andrew Tatham, Stolford & Wick Community Hub Project Leader added: “Stolford and Wick lie less than a mile from the Hinkley Point C site, which, like any major building site, has a significant – if unavoidable – impact on those living in the area. We sought to make improvements to the existing church – a ‘temporary’ wooden building dating from the 1850s – to create a community hub, providing a warm and welcoming focus for community activity. The project has the aim of enabling, strengthening and supporting the community, not only through the construction phases of the power station, but on into the future, thanks to a grant from the HPC Community Fund.

“One of the attractions of Stolford as a place to live is that there is plenty of space in and around the community. Many houses are separated from neighbours by fields or woodland. While this may seem, and often feels, idyllic, there is a flip side in that being distanced from neighbours can increase the sense of isolation. There was a strongly felt need for community facilities to both provide a focal hub to bind the community together and counter the sense of isolation.

“We recently held our official opening ceremony at The Hub, with a service of re-dedication led by the Archdeacon of Taunton, the Ven. Simon Hill and the Rector, the Revd Nicky Morgan. The service was followed by refreshments, enjoyed by three local Councillors, Hugh Davies, Susan Jones, and Allan Searle, as well as local residents and friends of St Peter’s Church.”

Andrew Cockcroft, Senior Community Relations Manager, Hinkley Point C said: “It’s been fantastic to support the Community Hub at St Peter’s Church by providing a space for the members of the rural communities of Wick and Stolford to get together and socialise in person without the need to travel too far. Community spaces like this can provide a boost to the mental health and wellbeing of those in more isolated areas, it has been great to see how the Parochial Church Council have led such an important community project.”

Somerset Community Foundation has awarded grants worth almost £425,000 from the HPC Community Fund’s Open Grants Programme to groups so far this year:

The HPC Community Fund’s Open Grants Programme is for larger applications, typically over £10,000, and the Small Grants Programme awards grants of up to £5,000 – or up to £10,000 over three years – for charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises that normally operate on less than £100,000 per year. Visit www.hpcfunds.co.uk for more details.

The HPC Community Fund is part of a wider £20 million commitment of funding, provided by EDF through Section 106 agreements, for communities that are affected by the development of the new nuclear power station, to promote their social, economic and environmental wellbeing and enhance their quality of life. Hundreds of projects have benefitted, and in total almost £13.3 million in grants have been awarded to date.

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £19 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.

Photo Caption: Project Leader, The Revd Andrew Tatham, at the recently refurbished Stolford & Wick Community Hub.

The Commissioner’s Crime Prevention Fund, a partnership between the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC), Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) and Quartet Community Foundation (QCF) is open for applications from charities and groups that run community projects and activities helping to reduce crime and antisocial behaviour.

Grants (money that does not need to be paid back) range from £1,000 to £5,000 and are to help create safer communities in our area. Five local groups have been awarded over £22,000 in grants from the fund so far this year.

Andy Ridgewell, Senior Programmes Manager at Somerset Community Foundation said: “The money from the Commissioner’s Crime Prevention Fund is targeted at supporting work that helps prevent, and reduces the impact of, crime in our communities.

“We want to continue to fund a wide range of community-led projects that focus on creating safer streets, raising awareness among young people, and the promotion of restorative justice.”

Mark Shelford, Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner said of the fund: “Local residents know their neighbourhoods better than anyone and we want to help communities prevent crime in their area. We want to support a real range of projects that help prevent crime as outlined in my Police and Crime Plan. So, if you, your neighbours or your community have ideas, initiatives or projects that does just this, please apply for a grant so local people can benefit from reduced crime. I look forward to supporting and visiting these projects – start applying.”

Groups based in Somerset should apply for a grant by visiting Somerset Community Foundation’s website, here: www.somersetcf.org.uk/opcc or by calling 01749 344949. The next two deadlines to apply are Friday 30 September, and Friday 24 February, 2023.

The organisations that have been awarded grants so far this year are:

Any groups based in BANES, Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire should apply to QCF: www.quartetcf.org.uk/grant-programmes/oppc

Somerset Community Foundation is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £19 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.

Photo Caption: The team at Stand Against Violence who were recently awarded a £4,800 grant from the fund

A team of 22 intrepid Mulberry staff members recently completed the Three Peaks Challenge 2022, raising over £6,000 so far for mental health charities across Somerset.

The team consisted of employees from Mulberry’s two Somerset factories (The Rookery in Chilcompton and The Willows in Bridgwater), their Somerset warehouse, and their London office. Led by Supply Chain Director, Rob Billington, they climbed to the summits of the three highest national peaks, conquering Ben Nevis (Scotland), Scafell Pike (England) and Snowdon (Wales) in three days. The total walking distance of this incredible feat is 23 miles (37km) and the total ascent is 3064 metres (10,052ft).

The team is raising money for the Mulberry Somerset Community Fund (MSCF), administered by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF), which gives money to local charities and good causes to make a difference in local communities across Somerset.

Rosie Wollacott Phillips, Head of Sustainability said: “Our partnership with SCF and the creation of our own Mulberry Somerset Community Fund is a great way for us, as a local business, to have a broad impact in our community. The money raised by Team Mulberry from this year’s Three Peaks challenge will go towards supporting the excellent work of mental health charities and organisations in the county.”

Laura Blake, Development Director at SCF added: “We’re incredibly proud to be working in partnership with Mulberry, who are really leading the way as a socially responsible business in all they do, including through their charitable and community support. Since the MSCF was launched in late 2021 we’ve already awarded almost £11,000 in grants to 13 charities in Somerset, with plans to award many more grants to local charities in the months ahead, thanks to the funds raised through this epic challenge.”

Making Space Wells is a volunteer-run, community-based, non-profit making organisation formed in 2021. Crafting skills are shared and individuals can take part in collaborative community craft events, addressing loneliness and isolation, which in turn improves mental health and wellbeing. The group was recently awarded a £3,000 grant – £750 of which was made up by a donation from the MSCF.

Sarah Briton from the group explained: “Over the past few years we’ve watched the opportunities available for folk here in Wells to engage in adult education and craft activities diminish. At Making Space Wells we wanted to change that; we’re demonstrating that in providing a warm welcoming environment with people willing to share skills the learning just happens, fun happens and friendships happen too.  We’re very grateful for our grant which allows us to develop craft courses in Wells including monthly ‘Away Days’ where we’ll visit a variety of crafting events. We also plan to run four weekend-long, affordable, in-depth craft courses including Basket Making. In addition to learning and practising crafts, which in itself has significant mental health benefits, people experience companionship and kindness – both giving and receiving, which is such a contrast to the loneliness that many of us have experienced in the last few years. A recent survey identified loneliness as a key problem for many Wells residents and we hope that Making Space Wells is a positive step in addressing this. We’ve received such great feedback already, it’s been a really uplifting experience for all.”

Any community group or charitable organisation wishing to apply for funding from The Mulberry Somerset Community Fund should visit the SCF website where they can find guidance on how to make an application to their Main Grants programme: www.somersetcf.org.uk/grants-groups

Somerset Community Foundation is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded over £19 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.

Photo Caption: Team Mulberry ahead of their third and final climb last month

Local communities working hard to benefit the environment have been awarded nearly £35,000 by Burnham & Weston Energy, a local enterprise generating electricity from one of the largest community solar farms in the UK.

Eleven groups across Highbridge, Burnham-on-Sea and Weston-super-Mare have been awarded grants from the Burnham & Weston Energy Sunshine Fund in the latest round administered by Somerset Community Foundation. The projects support local people tackling causes and impacts of climate change, and include the creation of nature trails, dance performances, food clubs, plastic reuse, and helping people to repair household items. The successful local groups are:

Lynda Wookey, Impact and Development Director for Burnham & Weston Energy, said: “We had more interest in our Sunshine Fund than ever from community groups wanting to make a positive difference to not only our local environment, but to local people as well. As a community interest company, we are honoured that we can use our profits to support these amazing organisations in making this world a better place for all of us to live in.”

The local volunteering group Friends of Grove Park in Weston-super-Mare, recently received their second grant from the fund. Natalie Donbavand, Volunteer Coordinator, explained: “We were set up by residents concerned about anti-social behaviour and vandalism in the park.

“Our first grant from the Burnham & Weston Sunshine Fund, in 2019, supported a recycling project, which meant every single piece of rubbish in the park was recycled, which was really hard work but very rewarding. This latest grant will go towards a number of things, but mainly our core running costs. Our volunteers include people with learning disabilities, addiction issues and so on, so funding for core costs is crucial as it allows us to put on activities and continue to run a safe and professional organisation for all our volunteers.”

The Burnham & Weston Energy Sunshine Fund has awarded over £50,000 since it was first launched in 2019. Projects benefiting from grants cover an area stretching up the Somerset coastline from Burnham-on-Sea to Weston-super-Mare, and inland to Mark and Winscombe. Burnham & Weston Energy expect to announce further successful grants applicants from this, and criteria for the next round of funding later this year.

For this and other funding opportunities, please visit the Somerset Community Foundation website for guidance on how to make an application: www.somersetcf.org.uk/apply

Local charities and social enterprises seeking funding to start a new service or develop an asset could benefit from the Somerset Social Enterprise Fund (SSEF).

Run by Somerset Community Foundation, SSEF provides funding, typically between £20,000 and £100,000, through a blend of grants (money that does not need to be paid back) and unsecured loans.  

Twenty-three local organisations have now received social investment funding worth just over £1 million from SSEF since it was launched in 2017, providing transformational finance to local charities and social enterprises.

One of the first organisations to be awarded funding was Compass Disability. They used their money – a social investment award of £71,000 – to convert a building into their Compass Wellbeing centre. Compass Wellbeing hosts a range of specialist services, including a hydrotherapy pool and a sensory room for people with disabilities and their families and carers, alongside their fully accessible and inclusive Compass Wellbeing Cafe.

Compass Disability has recently completed paying back their SSEF loan, becoming the sixth organisation to have repaid their loan in full. The charity now has an asset that will continue to deliver great benefits for their clients well into the future, as well as a financial return to support their wider work.

Richard Pitman, CEO of Compass said: “The process of applying for the SSEF funding really challenged us – in a good way – to think about our business model and the way we ran the charity. We received a lot of support from Somerset Community Foundation during the application process and they showed flexibility towards us as we set up and started to run the centre. There is no doubt in my mind that the experience has had far reaching benefits across the organisation, making us stronger and more sustainable overall.”

The Somerset Social Enterprise Fund is designed for organisations that need capital investment or working capital to develop assets or services that serve local communities but that will also generate financial returns to the organisation. It was created with the help of a major grant from Somerset County Council supplemented by contributions from National Lottery Community Fund via the Access Foundation Growth Fund.

Chief Executive at Somerset Community Foundation, Justin Sargent, explains: “The Somerset Social Enterprise Fund was designed to help local organisations that are striving to become more financially sustainable and are interested in exploring flexible finance for the first time to help them on their journey. Compass Disability have been on that journey with us over the past five years and I congratulate Richard and his team on everything they have achieved for people with disabilities in our county.”

SSEF funding is typically between £20,000 and £100,000, with an average investment being around £40,000. Up to 33% can be in the form of a grant and remainder is an unsecured loan. Somerset Community Foundation takes a pragmatic and flexible approach to enable the organisations they invest in to succeed, for example through interest-only periods.

To find out more about the Somerset Social Enterprise Fund click here.

You can read how our funding has made a difference to some social enterprises in Somerset, here and you can watch a film here about the SSEF and hear from some groups who have benefitted from the fund. 

 

Somerset Community Foundation is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £17 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.

Photo Caption: The Wellbeing Cafe at Compass Wellbeing, a fully inclusive and accessible centre which benefitted from social investment funding from the Somerset Social Enterprise Fund.

A brand new fund has been launched in partnership between the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC), Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) and Quartet Community Foundation (QCF).

The Commissioner’s Crime Prevention Fund will support community projects and activities that help to reduce crime and antisocial behaviour.

Community groups and charities can now apply for grants (money that does not need to be paid back) of between £1,000 to £5,000 from the Commissioner’s Crime Prevention Fund to help create safer communities in our area.

Justin Sargent, Chief Executive at Somerset Community Foundation said: “We’re delighted to be working alongside our neighbours at Quartet Community Foundation, and our partners at the OPCC. The money from the Commissioner’s Crime Prevention Fund will be targeted at supporting work that helps prevent, and reduces the impact of, crime in our communities.

“We want to fund a wide range of community-led projects including creating safer streets and green spaces, raising awareness among young people, and the promotion of restorative justice.”

Mark Shelford, Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner said of the fund: “I am delighted that my office, SCF and QCF have set up this important Crime Prevention fund to help create safer communities.

“Local residents know their neighbourhoods better than anyone and we want to help communities prevent crime in their area. We want to support a real range of projects that help prevent crime as outlined in my Police and Crime Plan. So, if you, your neighbours or your community have ideas, initiatives or projects that does just this, please apply for a grant so local people can benefit from reduced crime. I look forward to supporting and visiting these projects – start applying.”

A total of £200,000 is available from the fund and Somerset’s allocation is expected to be around £60,000.  There will be three opportunities to apply across the year, and groups based in Somerset should apply for a grant by visiting Somerset Community Foundation’s website, here: www.somersetcf.org.uk/opcc or by calling 01749 344949 before the deadline of Friday 27 May, 2022.

 

Any groups based in BANES, Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire should apply to QCF: www.quartetcf.org.uk/grant-programmes/oppc

Somerset Community Foundation is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £17 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.

Photo Caption: Mark Shelford, Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner is keen to support community projects that help prevent crime

Grants up to £2,500 are now available for smaller charities, community groups, sports clubs and social enterprises based in Somerset. Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) manages The Somerset Fund and is encouraging groups that run on less than £100,000 a year to apply now for funding. The grants from The Somerset Fund can be used to pay for essential running costs, like rent, utilities, insurance, or staff time – sometimes known as core costs. The money can also be used for the costs of delivering a project or service in or for your community. Applications to the fund can be made through SCF’s website:  www.somersetcf.org.uk/somersetfund and the deadline to apply is 5pm, Friday 3 June 2022.

The Somerset Fund has supported a wide range of local charities since its launch in 2018, thanks to the generosity of local donors. Laura Blake, Development Director at SCF explains: “The Somerset Fund aims to help make our communities stronger by supporting the places, spaces and activities that bring people together. Examples of things the fund will support includes village halls or community centres, community shops, cafés or foodbanks, sports clubs or playing fields, or community events, groups and activities.

“The Somerset Fund also offers a great way for local people to give to local good causes and change lives across Somerset. Thanks to the local businesses and individuals who have supported The Somerset Fund so far, it has already helped over 150 good causes in the county and awarded more than £200,000 in grants to local grassroots charities.”

Bridgwater United Community Sports Trust (BUCST) received a grant for £1,950 from The Somerset Fund to support the delivery of their innovative and accessible community sports programmes. Oli Moore, Community Development Manager at BUCST said: “We strive to support all members of the local community. Our sessions include Mini Robins (ages 1 – 4), Youth Female Specific, Young Adults with Disabilities and Walking Football for the over 50s – amongst other football provisions. There is no key demographic, our activities are for everyone. We offer free-to-attend sessions on the Hamp and Sydenham estates, here in Bridgwater. Thanks to the support we’ve received from The Somerset Fund, we’re now running 16 sessions a week and over 300 people engage in our activities – opportunities that didn’t previously exist in our area.”

If you would like to find out more about giving through The Somerset Fund visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/tsf or you can e-mail: Laura.Blake@somersetcf.org.uk or call Laura on 01749 344949.

Somerset Community Foundation is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £17 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.

Somerset Community Foundation has awarded eight grants totalling almost £44,000 to voluntary and community organisations in Somerset from Arts Council England’s Let’s Create Jubilee Fund.

The Let’s Create Jubilee Fund will ensure that thousands of people from communities all across England will have the opportunity to take part in exciting creative events – all in celebration of the Platinum Jubilee. From puppetry and story creation, through to making crowns, carnival and art trails, there will be a huge range of exciting activities for people of all ages and backgrounds to get involved in.

Made possible thanks to National Lottery players, the Let’s Create Jubilee Fund has been administered by UK Community Foundations on behalf of Arts Council England. The programme is designed to help voluntary and community organisations develop creative and cultural events to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June.

Somerset Community Foundation is one of 44 community foundations awarding grants across the country on behalf of the Arts Council.

The groups are:

A 4-day festival is planned, including musical performances, a village fete and a barn dance: £2,000

 

A partnership has been created between Dulverton Town Council, Dulverton Traders Association, Two Moors Festival, Visit Dulverton, Dulverton Development Forum and Dulverton Town Hall to organise Jubilee celebrations for the town: £1,750

 

A band will tour around Frome, showcasing music from each decade of the Queen’s reign: £2,658

 

Community workshops to create 10 mosaic roundels for the Jubilee Community Garden seating area in Taunton: £5,250
 

Free-of-charge activities including workshops and performances, both amateur and professional, across a one day festival in Wells: £8,704

 

A community-led, celebratory event including activities and performances that welcomes everyone, held in two areas of Highbridge: £10,000

 

A brand new, interactive theatre production to be delivered in collaboration with 10 primary, secondary and special schools around Somerset: £10,000

 

A number of performances held over the Jubilee weekend. The project will culminate in a ‘big lunch’ picnic on Sunday in the recreation ground: £3,499

 

Darren Henley, Chief Executive at Arts Council England said: “The Let’s Create Jubilee Fund is a wonderful example of our ambition to give everyone the opportunity to participate in and experience the arts, culture and creativity – made possible thanks to National Lottery players. This June, we’ll see communities across England coming together to celebrate a historic milestone for this country. I’m excited to see these projects brought to life in villages, towns and cities across the country as our wonderfully creative communities celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.”

Rosemary Macdonald, CEO, UK Community Foundations, said: “For community foundations, people and places are the priority and the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is a unique opportunity for people to get together and celebrate in their communities. We are proud to have connected Arts Council England with local organisations whose imaginative and exciting projects and collaborations with professional artists will bring communities together to enjoy marking this milestone moment in our history.”

HM Queen Elizabeth II is the first monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, having overtaken Queen Victoria as the longest reigning monarch in 2015.  Her reign has been marked by a commitment to public service, reflected by her extensive programme of engagements at home and abroad, and support for over 600 cultural organisations, charities, military associations, professional bodies and public service organisations.

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £17 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.

A community hub in Burnham-on-Sea has undergone a refurbishment, after being awarded thousands of pounds from the Hinkley Point C Community Fund. The Crafty Teacup Creative Hub is open to those living in the Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge area, and is a space for people to meet, attend events and learn new skills. Activities on offer range from arts and crafts, cooking, and stress management sessions. The funding has been used to buy new furniture and to expand the workshop area.

The venue has been given £4,199 from the HPC Community Fund, which is administered by Somerset Community Foundation. It awards money to community groups and organisations that work in places that are impacted by the Hinkley Point C development.

Gill Hills, owner at The Crafty Teacup said: “The Crafty Teacup is here to support the local community and families who have moved from Bridgwater to Highbridge recently – often due to lack of affordable housing. We’re here for anyone who is interested in learning new skills. Our learning sessions are a great alternative for those who are reluctant to take part in more formal education, because of financial constraints or other difficulties. Our centre has become a real community hub and is a great source of comfort to many local people who want to learn new skills and socialise.”

The centre works to address social isolation in the area. In recent years, it has seen an increase in clients and customers who have experienced mental illness and loneliness, and adults with disabilities. It is also a safe space for families to gather and socialise. The health benefits of socialisation are well known for improving mental health, and can often help people feel happier. It can also lower the risk of dementia which is considered the leading cause of death overall both nationally and in Somerset.

Worryingly, over 9,000 people in Somerset are estimated to have dementia, and this figure is projected to almost double to 18,000 by 2035 [Source: (2017) www.somersetintelligence.org.uk/dementia.html].

Val Bishop, Programmes Director at SCF said: “We’re delighted that the HPC Community Fund grant has enabled The Crafty Teacup to increase the level of support on offer by upgrading their workshop spaces. Since the pandemic it has become more and more important for us to help groups to provide spaces within the community that allow people to reconnect. Loneliness and isolation remain challenges for all ages and The Crafty Teacup really does have something for everyone.  Like many organisations in the voluntary sector, The Crafty Teacup is playing an important role in rebuilding their local community.”

Andrew Cockcroft, Senior Community Relations Manager at Hinkley Point C said: “The Crafty Teacup is just one of the many projects and organisations benefitting from the Hinkley Point C Community Fund. We’re proud of the continued difference we are making to lives across Somerset.”

The Hinkley Point C Community Fund has funding available for projects, schemes or initiatives that will mitigate residual and intangible impacts of the Hinkley Point C build and associated projects, improve community quality of life and wellbeing, in addition to maximising the potential benefits of the construction.

To be considered for funding from the HPC Small Grants programme at the next award meeting applications must be submitted by Wednesday 30 March. The next deadline following this will be Wednesday 25 May. To find out more about grant funding from the HPC Community Fund please visit: www.hpcfunds.co.uk or call 01749 344949.

The HPC Community Fund is part of a wider £20 million commitment of funding, provided by EDF through Section 106 agreements, for communities that are affected by the development of the new nuclear power station, to promote their social, economic and environmental wellbeing and enhance their quality of life.

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £17 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.

A Wiveliscombe food project set up during the pandemic, a therapeutic counselling service for children and young people, and a personal development project for those not currently in employment, education or training are among the first charity projects of 2022 to receive backing from Taunton-based legal firm Clarke Willmott.

With the help of Somerset Community Foundation, which administers Clarke Willmott’s charitable endowment fund, the sum of £1,450 was contributed to Wivey Cares as part of a £2,450 grant. Wivey Cares used local rugby club facilities to turn food supplied by FareShare into meals for local people during the height of the pandemic.

A further £750 was given to Wellington Community Counselling as part of a £1,750 grant to support the continuation of the 1,400+ hours of free or low-cost online counselling delivered during the last year, largely to vulnerable children and young people.

Another contribution of £800 was given as part of a £4,800 grant to the charity Actiontrack to support the provision of bespoke creative and personal development sessions for individuals or groups of young people referred to them who are not currently in employment, education or training, or are in danger of becoming such. The sessions aim to increase employability and access to further learning among participants, as well as developing improved mental health, providing positive peer group networking, and countering tendencies towards negative behaviour.

Chris Thorne, head of Clarke Willmott’s Taunton office, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the great work of Somerset Community Foundation, which has administered our charitable endowment fund for a number of years, and to have made a contribution to their grant-making for a range of good causes.

“Working with our local community is key to us. Although we are now a major national legal firm, we will never forget that our roots are deeply embedded in the life of Somerset, where it all began.”

The money comes from The Clarke Willmott Fund which, since its launch in 2010, has donated more than £40,000 in awards and grants, ranging from £250 to £5,000, and focuses particularly on grassroots voluntary groups, local charities and social enterprises located in Taunton and the surrounding area.

John Osborne, Treasurer and Trustee at Wivey Cares, said: “The Wivey Food Project has been an immense joy and such a success. We have been able to support the entire community, especially those impacted by Covid. Our fresh ingredients come to us from FareShare who source it from surpluses from within the supermarket supply chain. Whilst the project was primarily set up to help those in need, we make and supply food for everyone in our community, and those that can pay do pay.

“Recently, the cook at a local care home went down with Covid and we delivered 100 meals – within an hour – that fed them for the entire weekend. This project has not only helped people who have benefited from the food but also the cooks and drivers have found the volunteering experience to be enormously beneficial to their wellbeing.

“We’re so very grateful for the grant and to Somerset Community Foundation and Clarke Willmott. By supporting this project, they have helped us to support some of the most vulnerable in our local area and bring the whole Wivey community together, united through food.”

Rhonda Lovell, CEO at Wellington Community Counselling, said: “The grant went towards providing low cost or free counselling for vulnerable children and young people in Wellington who would otherwise not get counselling. We offered them face-to-face or Zoom counselling that fitted around their school/college life and parent/carers commitments. In this way we can see, hear and help children and young people in our community for as long as they need our help.”

If you run a local community project and would like to find out more about grant funding in general, please contact Somerset Community Foundation at: info@somersetcf.org.uk, call: 01749 344949 or visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk

For further information on Wivey Cares see www.wiveycares.net; Wellington Community Counselling see www.wellington-counselling.co.uk; Actiontrack see www.actiontrackperformance.co.uk

Clarke Willmott is a national law firm with offices in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, London, Manchester, Southampton, and Taunton. 

For more information visit: www.clarkewillmott.com  

Sedgemoor Dementia Action Alliance (formerly Bridgwater Dementia Action Alliance) was awarded a grant for £5,000 from the Hinkley Point C (HPC) Community Fund in October 2021 towards the costs of setting up a weekly Memory Café for people living with dementia, and those who care for them.

Dementia affects one in three people in the UK, and most carers are unpaid close relatives. With roots in the Netherlands, Dr. Bere Miesen, a Dutch psychiatrist, introduced the Memory Cafe concept in 1997. It is designed to be a place where people are surrounded by items such as crockery, cutlery and other commonly used items from the past which spark recognition and memories, leading to conversations and stories, and cutting through the confusion and effects of dementia. An old sewing machine for example may bring back memories of making or patching clothes for significant occasions in the past.

The recent grant allowed the group to pay for volunteer expenses, refreshments and games as well as helping with salary costs of a specialised reminiscence worker to support the sessions.

The HPC Community Fund Small Grants programme, managed by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF), awards grants to community groups and organisations that work in places that are impacted by the Hinkley Point C development. The Small Grants Programme awards grants of up to £5,000, or up to £10,000 over three years for charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises that normally operate on less than £100,000 per year. It is an ongoing programme with decisions made every 6-8 weeks.

John Hardy, Co-ordinator at Sedgemoor Dementia Action Alliance, explains: “We support people with dementia, their carers and relatives from all across Sedgemoor. The weekly Memory Café sessions started in November 2021 in the Hub at the Angel Place Shopping Centre in Bridgwater, and we’ve seen first-hand how it’s had a really positive effect. This is especially important as the pandemic has been so disruptive for many of the people we support; it has exacerbated the difficulties experienced by many. Socialising and reminiscence activities have been shown to positively influence people living with dementia, and without this grant, the Memory Café simply would not have been able to go ahead.

“It’s also a great place to talk. A client of the Memory Café recently told us how she couldn’t afford to travel to her husband’s nursing home, as he had recently been moved outside of the local area. Along with SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) and the Royal British Legion, we supported her, and awarded her a short-term grant, whilst longer-term funding was secured, which has allowed her to carry on visiting him.” 

Val Bishop, Programmes Director at SCF adds: “We’re so incredibly pleased that the HPC Community Fund grant has enabled Sedgemoor Dementia Action Alliance to increase the level of support on offer.

“Their project is part of the wider community support network that improves the lives of families impacted by dementia. During the pandemic, the Alliance helped families with things like deliveries and prescription pickups, and this project is an extension of this, allowing people to get back out into the community and socialise in a safe and easily accessible place.”

Andrew Cockcroft, Senior Community Relations Manager at Hinkley Point C said: “Our support for the Sedgemoor Dementia Action Alliance underlines the breadth of projects and organisations supported through the Hinkley Point C Community Fund. We continue to be extremely proud of the difference that it is making to the lives of people from across the local area.”

Funding is now available from the Hinkley Point C Community Fund for projects, schemes or initiatives that will mitigate residual and intangible impacts of the Hinkley Point C development and associated projects, improve community quality of life and wellbeing in addition to maximising the potential benefits of the construction.

To be considered for funding from the Small Grants programme at the next award meeting applications must be submitted by Friday 4 February. The next deadline following this will be Wednesday 30 March. To find out more about grant funding from the HPC Community Fund please visit: www.hpcfunds.co.uk or call Peter Stolze on: 01749 344949.

The HPC Community Fund is part of a wider £20 million commitment of funding, provided by EDF through Section 106 agreements, for communities that are affected by the development of the new nuclear power station, to promote their social, economic and environmental wellbeing and enhance their quality of life.

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £16 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.

 

Photo Caption: The Memory Café is set up at the Hub in the Angel Place Shopping Centre, Bridgwater

Looking for a new challenge for 2022? An exciting opportunity has arisen at Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) to join and lead their board of trustees. This unique local philanthropic charity is seeking an ambitious person to provide inspiring leadership as their new Chair and help steer the Foundation into the future.

Tim Walker, a current trustee at SCF, explains: “The trustees of Somerset Community Foundation are seeking a new Chair to replace Jane Barrie OBE DL who will retire from this office at the end of 2022. We’re starting the recruitment process now so that the appointed person can work with Jane during a transition period and learn something of the great work this Foundation delivers, before taking over.”

Somerset Community Foundation is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Justin Sargent OBE, Chief Executive at SCF continues: “We’re looking for someone who shares our passion and enthusiasm for the work of local charities to join and lead our board. Building on the success of the Foundation in recent years, they will help us fulfil our goals for the next stage of our growth and development.

“This will be a fascinating and rewarding role; alongside shaping the direction of the Foundation, there will be many opportunities to meet and spend time with people and charities who help make stronger and thriving communities across Somerset, and see first-hand the impact our funding makes to local communities every day.”

Somerset Community Foundation is looking forward to its 20th anniversary in late 2022. Since the Foundation were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £17 million to thousands of great local causes, changing thousands of lives across Somerset. They have received national recognition for their annual Surviving Winter campaign, built the £1.5m Somerset Flood Relief Fund in 2015, created the £1.5m Somerset Coronavirus Fund in 2020 and are building an endowment fund to meet the changing needs of Somerset for generations to come.

The deadline to apply is 5pm, Wednesday 26 January, 2022. For more information, or to apply, visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/vacancies

As I approach a year since joining Somerset Community Foundation (SCF), I find myself reflecting on the generosity I have seen from our donors and the wonderful ways in which they have supported our community, here in Somerset. The places and people they seek to support are so varied but are nearly always closely related to experiences they have had. These range from the family wishing to support the type of work their son had done before his untimely death, to the mental health projects close to the heart of someone who has experienced their own mental ill-health, and everything in between.     

Understanding the motivations of our fundholders and those who give to other funds such as Surviving Winter and The Somerset Fund have really brought community philanthropy (community members working together and leveraging community resources to better address challenges and improve the quality of life in a community) to life.     

Perhaps one of the saddest things for me is not being able to have these types of conversations with those who have passed away, leaving a gift to Somerset Community Foundation in their Will. Sometimes we have been close to those people during their lifetime and have a good understanding of their motivations and interests but sometimes we haven’t had much, if any, contact with people choosing to leave us a legacy.   

What is clear though, is that those who leave a gift to SCF have a commitment to, or love for, Somerset and/or their local community. Beyond that they recognise our expertise in philanthropy and grant making and know that through us they can play their part in community philanthropy and support the local causes and places that matter most to them. They recognise that we support the charities, community groups, social enterprises and individuals in Somerset who can best use grants and funding to make a difference, helping to change the world on our doorsteps.   

I have also been amazed by the reach that the Foundation has across our county, the tireless effort that staff and trustees put into making Somerset thrive and the breadth of the projects that are supported. Perhaps one of the more enlightening things has been our Hidden Somerset reports which shine a light on many of the unseen issues in our county.  I was recently involved with the launch of the Food Poverty report and was particularly touched at the virtual launch event when I heard Jusna from the Community Council for Somerset speak of the challenges ethnic minority communities face and the work that she and the Somerset Diverse Communities team are doing to support ethnic minority community groups to thrive.      

I feel very privileged to be part of the Somerset Community Foundation team and to witness the special role that community philanthropy plays in our county. Together, SCF, our donors and the wonderful organisations we support can work towards helping our local communities build stronger, thriving communities for a better future.


If you are reading this and have already remembered Somerset in your Will, thank you. If you are thinking of updating or writing your first Will and are considering the impact you can make after your lifetime, please do feel free to get in touch for a confidential and no obligation discussion about the options we can offer. Whatever the value of your gift, it can make a real difference to your local community. We can talk with you about the impact you wish to make, the types of people and organisations you want to support and the places and issues that matter most to you. We can help you to understand the need in the county and tell you more about the amazing work that is already taking place. We can also help you to ensure that anything you write into your Will now, is still relevant in years to come.   

Whether giving during your lifetime, in your Will or a combination of the two, community philanthropy can make a significant difference to the lives of our neighbours living in Somerset now and for future generations to come.  

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is thrilled to announce that, following the appeal launch at the end of November, the 2021/22 Surviving Winter appeal has already raised a phenomenal £100,000 – thanks to the incredible generosity of local donors. The team at SCF have been busy distributing funding across the county, and aim to support over 500 vulnerable older people in Somerset with a Surviving Winter grant again this winter, helping to keep them warm, safe and well.

The annual appeal encourages pensioners to donate some or all of their Winter Fuel Payment, if they don’t need it themselves. These donations provide funding and support to our older neighbours across Somerset who are struggling to heat their homes.

SCF’s Development Manager, Kelly Hall, thanked local people for their incredible support: “We have been astounded by the magnitude of support we’ve received for the Surviving Winter appeal so far this year. We’re hugely grateful to each and every person who has donated – and particularly those who donate year after year. Without your support, we know lots of older people in Somerset would be suffering in silence during the cold winter months.”

To donate some or all of your Winter Fuel Payment, or to make a donation of any size to the Surviving Winter appeal, please visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/winter to donate online, or send a cheque made payable to Somerset Community Foundation (writing SW on the reverse) to Yeoman House, Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, BA4 6QN, or call 01749 344949.

Photo caption: No one should have to choose between heating and eating. If you can afford to, please donate your Winter Fuel Payment and help people like George stay warm, safe and well this winter.

Somerset Community Foundation will be one of the network of community foundations distributing the Arts Council England Let’s Create Jubilee Fund, a £5 million programme that will support community and voluntary organisations in England to develop creative and cultural activities as part of Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June 2022.

The programme is made possible with funding from the National Lottery, whose players raise £30 million for good causes every week. The fund’s distribution will be managed by UK Community Foundations on behalf of their community foundation members across England.

Applicants will be able to apply for grants of up to £10,000, and are encouraged to partner with established artists, creatives and cultural organisations to develop their activities, ensuring that The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations give people throughout England the chance to experience the best of the country’s culture while also celebrating an important milestone in our national history.

Darren Henley, Chief Executive at Arts Council England said: “We’re giving people across the country the chance to come together to experience the joy of culture and creativity in celebration of this historic milestone. With the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee taking place alongside the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Festival and the Unboxed festival of UK creativity, next year is set to be a magnificent celebration of our nation’s artistic achievements.”

Rosemary Macdonald, CEO at UK Community Foundations said: “UK Community Foundations is proud to partner with Arts Council England to deliver the Let’s Create Jubilee Fund. Our members look forward to working with local groups and artists who will create imaginative and innovative celebrations to mark this historic occasion, and strengthen cultural involvement and opportunities in their communities.”

Full guidance on the fund can be found on the UK Community Foundations website here.  Applications will open on Tuesday 4 January, when organisations will be able to apply through the Somerset Community Foundation website.

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) has launched this year’s Surviving Winter appeal, which encourages people who can afford it to donate some or all of their Winter Fuel Payment to help vulnerable older people in Somerset who are unable to afford to heat their homes to stay warm and well.

As we head into winter, rising energy costs mean more of our older neighbours here in Somerset are forced to choose between heating and eating. This winter will continue to be difficult and worrying for many in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, as many pensioners will need to stay at home to keep themselves safe, and will find themselves cut off from family and friends, facing higher costs to heat their homes while becoming even more isolated.

Justin Sargent, Chief Executive at Somerset Community Foundation said: “We estimate that at least 9,000 older people households in Somerset will not have enough money to afford to heat their homes sufficiently this winter. Cold weather is a prime cause of around 500 preventable deaths a year, with older people and those living in older or isolated rural homes most likely to experience the largest degree of fuel poverty.

“Thanks to the bright idea of one generous pensioner, we can make sure that hundreds of older people in Somerset are being supported to stay warm, safe and well every winter through our Surviving Winter campaign.”

Every year Surviving Winter helps around 500 elderly people living in Somerset through the cold winter months, thanks to generous local donors who, last year, donated over £150,000 to the appeal. And this year, the first £15,000 of donations will be boosted by an incredible 50% thanks to matched funding from the Field House Trust, meaning your giving makes an even greater impact.

SCF is delighted to announce that Glastonbury Festival organiser and long-time Surviving Winter supporter Michael Eavis CBE is supporting Surviving Winter for another year.

Of this year’s Surviving Winter appeal, Michael says: “I’m very pleased to be donating to Surviving Winter again this year. We would be so pleased if you would consider giving some or all of your Winter Fuel Payment to the appeal. It is a simple and easy way to help people in our community who will be struggling to stay warm and healthy this winter.”

Help Somerset Community Foundation reach their target of raising £120,000 to help at least 500 isolated and vulnerable older people this year.

If you would like to donate to Surviving Winter, visit www.somersetcf.org.uk/winter or call 01749 344949. A donation form is also available to download from the Somerset Community Foundation website.

Further information on how to apply for a Surviving Winter grant will be published shortly on Somerset Community Foundation’s website. Please check: www.somersetcf.org.uk/winter for updates.

Somerset charity Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is inviting businesses to help support vulnerable older people and help spread some festive cheer in our county this Christmas, as part of their long-running Surviving Winter appeal.

As we head into winter, rising energy costs mean more of our older neighbours here in Somerset are forced to choose between heating and eating. This winter will continue to be difficult and worrying for many in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, as many pensioners will need to stay at home to keep themselves safe, and will find themselves cut off from family and friends, facing higher costs to heat their homes while becoming more isolated than ever.

Surviving Winter encourages people who don’t need their Winter Fuel Payment to donate some or all of it to help local older people who are unable to afford to heat their homes to help them stay warm, safe and well every winter.

Alongside providing winter fuel grants to hundreds of vulnerable older people, SCF is inviting local businesses and individuals to help reduce loneliness and spread some warmth and cheer by donating £250 to fund local charities to safely provide festive activities, Christmas meals and gifts to our isolated older neighbours.

Supporters will receive a personalised Christmas e-card with their company logo to send to colleagues or clients to celebrate their support of the appeal. Crucially, every donation will help to make Christmas merry and bright for our neighbours in need.  

Graeme Crosbie, Founder and Director at Level Up South West said: “We are delighted to be able to support the Festive Fund and the work of Somerset Community Foundation again this year. Because we are rooted in Somerset, supporting those in need in our community is very important to us.  As a business, we work with organisations right across the county, supporting growth, skills development and the creation of quality employment opportunities within our community.

And through the work of SCF and the Festive Fund we know that our contributions are directly benefiting people all around us, helping to combat loneliness and working towards transforming lives – all of which aligns closely to our business values.”

Please help Somerset Community Foundation to help even more isolated and vulnerable people this year. Donate £250 and spread some festive cheer this Christmas. If you would like to sponsor a community Christmas meal, please visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/christmas or email kelly.hall@somersetcf.org.uk  

The Hinkley Point C Community Fund has recently been supporting the more vulnerable members of our community. Accessing vital services can be difficult for some people at the best of times, but when many of these services were withdrawn during lockdown, the effect was devastating.

Somerset Sight was awarded a grant for £85,000 from the Hinkley Point C (HPC) Community Fund in August 2020 to both deliver and expand their befriending service in Sedgemoor, over a three-year period. The charity provides a unique and consistent point of support for many – especially during those difficult times at the height of the pandemic – supporting 2,500 people in Somerset and offering specialist information, advice, and practical and emotional support to anyone in the county experiencing sight loss. Last year, they were the only point of contact for many throughout the lockdowns, and provided a crucial frontline service. 80% of the people they help are over 75 years old and a third of them live alone, with an additional 500 new people seeking their help each year.

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) manages the HPC Community Fund Open Grants programme, which awards large grants to community groups and organisations that work in places that are impacted by the Hinkley Point C development.

Jackie Sopwith, Chief Executive Officer at Somerset Sight, explains: “We used our grant to grow our Volunteer Visiting Befriending Service in the Sedgemoor district of the county. Each of our volunteers visits one or two service users who they befriend, going on walks or taking them on trips to local garden centres or cafés. They assist with correspondence, check the fridge for out-of-date items and generally offer bespoke support, helping in any way that’s needed. Each volunteer is an absolute lifeline and provides contact with the outside world. Reading and communication is so difficult for many of our service users – and quite a few of our more elderly service users also have hearing loss.”

Val Bishop, Programmes Director at SCF continues: “The HPC Community Fund grant has enabled Somerset Sight to increase its support of sight impaired vulnerable people living within the area, most crucially throughout the lockdowns. Voluntary work in vulnerable people’s houses was allowed within government guidelines at that time, and by ensuring these guidelines were observed, the Somerset Sight volunteers were able to continue delivering their support throughout the height of the pandemic.”

Andrew Cockcroft, Senior Community Relations Manager at EDF said: “It is fantastic to see our fund supporting some of the most vulnerable communities in our local area. The value is even greater given the context of the pandemic and I am really pleased to see it benefitting people at a time when they need it most.”

Jackie goes on to say: “One of our clients, Mrs Q, was referred to the Somerset Sight Volunteer Visiting Service in February of this year. The HPC Community Fund grant enabled our coordinator to provide her with a range of support to enable her to continue to live in her own home and yet still go out and about safely in Bridgwater. This lady is 85 years old with substantial sight and hearing loss, and she has no close family in Somerset. She was born and bred in Bridgwater, and worked at a factory in town for 40 years; needless to say she knows the town well.

“However, Mrs Q recently told our coordinator that, because of the increased volume of traffic in Bridgwater, she was becoming nervous about going out, due to her inability to see or hear traffic clearly. Within a month, our coordinator had placed a volunteer with Mrs Q, to take her to hospital appointments, help her mobilise safely around town and aid her with reading, correspondence, phone calls and bills.

“Our coordinator has also helped Mrs Q in many other aspects of her life, including accessing talking books, and safety around the house. They have applied for Blue Badge parking, a discount on her TV licence and referred her for extra mobility training to help her to walk around safely by herself.

“This was made possible thanks to the HPC Community Fund grant.”

Funding is now available from the Hinkley Point C Community Fund Open Grants Programme for projects, schemes or initiatives that will mitigate residual and intangible impacts of the Hinkley Point C development and associated projects, improve community quality of life and wellbeing in addition to maximising the potential benefits of the construction.

Applications will be considered for capital and/or revenue costs for projects of £5,000 and over. If you are unsure about whether your project fits the criteria, or have any other queries please feel free to contact Val Bishop, Programmes Director, via e-mail at val.bishop@somersetcf.org.uk or on 01749 344949.

Information on how to apply to the next round of HPC Open Grants can be made by visiting: www.hpcfunds.co.uk and the deadline to apply is Monday 10 January, 2022.

The HPC Community Fund is part of a wider £20 million commitment of funding, provided by EDF through Section 106 agreements, for communities that are affected by the development of the new nuclear power station, to promote their social, economic and environmental wellbeing and enhance their quality of life.

If you run a local community project in Somerset and would like to find out more about grant funding from the HPC Community Fund please email Somerset Community Foundation at: info@somersetcf.org.uk, call: 01749 344949 or visit: www.hpcfunds.co.uk

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £16 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.

The Discovery Community Fund, administered by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF), provides grants to support improvements in the health and independence of people with learning disabilities and/or autism across Somerset.

This new round of funding will focus on supporting organisations to recover, innovate, and restart services in the wake of the pandemic.

The grants range from £1,000 to £10,000, and applications from groups that aim to tackle health inequalities, combat hate crime, and support people into employment are welcomed.

Helen Orford, Managing Director of Discovery, said: “We are delighted to reopen the Community Fund for a new round of funding, as it means that we can continue to support organisations across Somerset that share our commitment to improve the lives of people with learning disabilities and autistic people across the county. If you are involved in supporting people to live a great life, then we would strongly encourage you to apply.”

Success projects in the past have been as diverse as Orchard Vale Trust’s online safety courses, Adventure Therapy and PodPlus Frome’s expanded youth social club.

Andy Ridgewell, Senior Programmes Manager at Somerset Community Foundation added:

“If you are involved with a group or organisation which supports people with learning disabilities and autism in Somerset, we would love to hear from you. Particularly if you have a project that will strengthen the transition to young adulthood, tackle health inequalities, support people into employment, remove barriers to community spaces, combat hate crime or which puts people with learning disabilities and autistic people in the lead.

“Any community group or charitable organisation wishing to apply for funding should visit the SCF website where they can find guidance on how to make an application: www.somersetcf.org.uk/discovery or call us on 01749 344949.”

The deadline for submissions is Friday 17 December 2021.

 

If you work or volunteer for a group that needs money to help pay for staff, activities or project costs and you are based in the district of Somerset West and Taunton (SWT) – or your group provides support to residents of the district – then grants of up to £1,000 are available now. The deadline to apply is by 5pm, Friday 26 November 2021.

The Somerset West and Taunton Small Grants Fund, managed by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) on behalf of Somerset West and Taunton Council, will consider applications for grants from charities, community groups, sports clubs, and social enterprises.

Andy Ridgewell, Senior Programmes Manager at SCF said: “We want to support a wide range of community activities or projects, as well as contributing to the core costs (or every day running costs) of local groups. Whatever we fund it must improve the health and wellbeing of people living in the Somerset West and Taunton area, and applications for funding must be clear about the difference you will make for people who live in this area of Somerset.”

Cllr Chris Booth, Executive Member for Community at SWT, said: “Our Small Grants Fund can provide a lifeline for charities, voluntary and community groups working tirelessly across the district. The importance of having access to grant funding has been particularly evident during the coronavirus pandemic when so many people have gone out of their way to help others.

“We are proud to be able to support these very worthy causes who in turn help so many of our residents in many different ways.  I would encourage all those who feel they may qualify to apply so we can continue to work together for the benefit of our communities.”

The Somerset West and Taunton Small Grants Fund awarded £18,000 of grants to help support charities during the height of the pandemic last year, helping 21 groups to set up virtual services, urgently deliver food where it was needed the most, purchase PPE, and support people’s mental health. It was matched by SCF with an additional £39,650 of funding which was raised by the national coronavirus appeal run by the National Emergencies Trust (NET), making the total awarded to the groups £57,650.

The groups that were supported by the Fund last year, were:

Any Somerset West and Taunton community group or charitable organisation wishing to apply for funding should visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/swt before Friday 26 November 2021. For more information, contact Somerset Community Foundation by emailing: info@somersetcf.org.uk or call 01749 344949.

Somerset Community Foundation is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £16 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.

 

Photo Caption: Community Council for Somerset (CCS)’s £7,700 grant went towards creating an online Somerset Together event, helping to translate official Covid-19 guidance into other languages.

By Kirsty Campbell, Programmes Manager

It was with more than a little trepidation that I joined the Quantock Landscape Partnership Scheme and South West Heritage Trust team for three days at the Cothelstone Hill dig on the Quantocks at the end of July, this year. It had been almost 20 years since I last stepped foot in a trench and I wondered if I would remember what to do, and if my back would hold out!

However, I needn’t have worried, as I couldn’t have received a warmer welcome from the archaeologists and volunteers, and it wasn’t long before I remembered what I loved about archaeology – the camaraderie, teamwork, shared interest in what can be learned from the past, and the outdoor physical activity, despite the heavy showers and strong wind! The sense of satisfaction I feel from reaching the bottom of a feature and identifying its shape, along with straight trench sides (or sections as they are known) is very rewarding, and there is also the strong feeling of being connected to the landscape and imagining it from the perspective of those who were there many years before.

Over the three days it also struck me just how interested many people are in archeology; we had numerous visits from local people including families, keen to find out about what we had discovered, to see a dig in action, and for some to share their own interests in archaeology. The skills the archaeologists had in bringing the past to life was noteworthy! I also worked with some very lovely, amazing volunteers, some who, like me, had given up a career in archaeology when children came along, and others who were totally new to it, including a grandmother who is a carer for her husband and wanted a short break and to try something different; a young man who, following mental health difficulties left a career in care for a degree in archaeology and who impressed us with the typology series he created for his dissertation; and an A-Level student who was thinking about her future and discovered a passion for archaeology along the way. There were many more volunteers of all ages that I sadly didn’t get to meet, but I know everyone involved really appreciated the opportunity the dig gave them to meet new people and work outdoors on a team project, achieving a clear goal, and discovering more about the Quantocks.

At Somerset Community Foundation we fund a vast array of projects and voluntary organisations, but actually very few in the heritage sector. We have, for some time, recognised the importance of using activities to support and improve mental health, as well as the benefits of being outdoors. Along with activities such as gardening, and art and theatre, archaeology can also play a part, using physical activity which seeks knowledge of the past to support and enrich communities today.

Also, on the theme of benefitting from the outdoors, Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership (SASP) has launched the campaign ‘Get Outside In Somerset’. Click here to check out the website and meet their ambassadors who are embracing being active outdoors, and for tips, advice, events and suggestions.

I’d like to personally thank Quantock Landscape Partnership Scheme and South West Heritage Trust for running the dig with funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, and SCF for the volunteering leave which enabled me to join in, and also to my fellow volunteers who helped make it so enjoyable. I’m looking forward to taking part in another dig next year – the passion has been reignited!

Photo caption: Kirsty with Dan Broadbent, Historic Heritage Officer, Quantock Landscape Partnership Scheme

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) would like to support community groups in Somerset that can help to reduce loneliness and share some Christmas cheer through food and festive activities.

Christmas can be a difficult time for some of our neighbours. And this year will be another tough Christmas for many due to the ongoing coronavirus situation and increased energy bills. SCF wants to fund groups who can reduce loneliness in their communities through festive food – and bring the spirit of Christmas to people either at home, or arrange flexible, in-person activities that can be delivered safely within the coronavirus guidelines in place at that time.

The Festive Fund for Somerset offers up to £300 to groups if they can tell SCF how their work can combat the isolation and loneliness that many people can feel in the winter months. Groups will need to think about how they can safely prepare and deliver food and gifts, or think creatively about how they can bring people together safely to create happy Christmas memories. Grants will be awarded for work that supports people of all ages who may experience loneliness or disadvantage at Christmas.

To apply, you will need to complete a short application form by Friday 29 October. SCF will let applicants know if they have been successful by Friday 12 November, so they will have plenty of time to plan their activities.

For information on how to apply for a Festive Fund grant, visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/festivefund

 

Photo caption: Santa at a community Christmas meal at Heads Up, Wells in December 2019.

Funding is available from Somerset Community Foundation for young people, from two grants programmes:

•           Enterprise Grants

•           Training and Employment Support Grants

Both programmes are open to young people who live in Somerset.

Enterprise Grants are for those not in employment, education or training, aged 18-30 to launch their business idea or to support their business in its early stages. This money could be used to pay for things like equipment, materials, stock and services to help get their business up and running. Grants for up to £1,000 are available from this programme.

Training and Employment Support Grants could help a young person aged 16-30 with the cost of essential items for training or apprenticeships, or to start a new job. This could include the cost of a course, a laptop, tools or clothing, or transport costs. Grants for up to £500 are available from this programme.

Gina, from Taunton, received an Enterprise grant of £1,000 for her online business The Notion Box (www.etsy.com/shop/thenotionbox), which provides haberdashery (or notions) boxes comprising a complete kit of sewing essentials. Gina said: “The grant has already made a massive difference, allowing me to produce three types of Notion Boxes including a special design for Christmas. Being able to have more designs available on my Etsy shop has helped to move my business forward immediately.”

She added: “The grant has been more than just a financial support; Somerset Community Foundation has offered additional business mentoring too which I hope to learn so much from.”

Grants awarded from the two funds have included safety clothing and tools, beauty equipment and uniform, laptops, kit for a photography business, and supplies for a gift card business.

Kirsty Campbell, Programmes Manager at Somerset Community Foundation said: “We’re delighted to be opening up this fund again for applications.

“Whether you need an extra bit of money to help get your new business off the ground, are starting a new job after a period of unemployment or are taking a course at college or an apprenticeship – we’d like to help if we can. It’s amazing the difference these grants can make.”

The deadline for applications is Friday 19 November, 2021. For more information visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/grants-individuals or if you have any questions, please contact Kirsty Campbell by emailing info@somersetcf.org.uk or by calling 01749 344949. 

Somerset Community Foundation is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £15 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.

Photo Caption: Gina received a £1,000 grant from Somerset Community Foundation for her online haberdashery business The Notion Box

Tales of the unique community of Somerset have been unveiled in a new book called Deepest Somerset – the proceeds from which will benefit three local charities.

The book, written by Fanny Charles and Gay Pirrie-Weir, has an introduction by His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, and has been funded by Lord Rothermere’s Rothermere Foundation. Its contributors include some famous names including Michael Eavis, Cameron Mackintosh, and Alice, Julian and Matilda Temperley.

Deepest Somerset delves into all corners of the region, into the small towns and villages where community is still the beating heart, and explores the history, the characters, the stories and diversity of this great county.

In celebration of the launch, a host of local businesses and personalities from the county came together at Glastonbury Town Hall yesterday evening (23 Sept) to mark the occasion.

Gay said: “All three Deepest titles – Wiltshire, Dorset and Somerset – raise funds for local charities and the proceeds of Deepest Somerset will be donated to Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW), The Farming Community Network (FCN), and Somerset Community Foundation (SCF). Their work has been particularly valuable during the pandemic and we thank them for their dedication throughout such a difficult time.”

SCF helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy.

Kelly Hall, Development Manager at SCF said: “We’re so delighted to have been chosen as one of the three charities to benefit from the sale of this fantastic book and our grateful thanks go to Fanny, Gay and everyone else involved in making this book a reality. Every single sale will make such a difference to so many people in Somerset.”

Tamara Downes, Fundraising Manager at CHSW’s Charlton Farm hospice, said: “By purchasing this book you are standing alongside more than 200 families who benefit from all that Charlton Farm can offer, including specialist palliative care, respite for the whole family, a sibling service for brothers and sisters, emergency support, end of life care and bereavement support. We are absolutely thrilled to be one of three great local causes supported by its publication.”

FCN has been working with farming families across Somerset since the 1990s. It provides pastoral support and practical help to anyone working in the agricultural industry. Suzie Wilkinson, Coordinator of the FCN, said: “We are all blessed to live in this beautiful county of Somerset so we were delighted to be involved with this well informed and inspiring book.”

To purchase a copy of Deepest Somerset, visit: www.deepestbooks.co.uk

Photo caption: SCF staff attended the Deepest Somerset book launch, which was held at Glastonbury Town Hall. L-R: Carolyn Phimister (Administrator), Mary Hancock (Operations Director), Kirsty Campbell (Programmes Manager), Kelly Hall (Development Manager) and Jane Barrie (Chairman).


Our thanks go to CHSW for leading on this press release.

Working together to create a Roadmap to Recovery for the Somerset VCSE sector

We’re excited to be working in partnership with public, community and voluntary sector organisations throughout Somerset to support an important new research project. Together, we want to reflect on what has happened during the past 18 months and more importantly, focus on what we need to do as a sector to reflect, recover and renew.

The aim of this project is to identify the strengths of the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector in Somerset and understand what it needs to thrive in the future. We want to bring together a diverse range of voluntary and community organisations from across the county to develop a shared vision for recovery and highlight how our sector has adapted and continued to deliver vital support during this challenging time.

The project is being delivered by Spark Somerset, Somerset Community Foundation and Somerset County Council. It is being led by a researcher and will be supported by a number of organisations including Community Council for Somerset, Diversity Voice, Frome Town Council, Somerset Activity & Sports Partnership and Somerset Association of Local Councils.

We need your help too! Initially, we are inviting VCSE organisations, large and small, from across Somerset to take part in our online survey. It will only take around 10 minutes to complete and your answers will provide valuable insight into the voluntary and community sector in Somerset, how it has adapted and survived during the pandemic, and crucially, what it needs to develop and grow.

You can take part in the survey here.

In addition, Spark Somerset will be hosting a series of online focus groups and events in the coming weeks to give you the opportunity to share your thoughts, ideas and opinions. Dates are TBC, so keep an eye on their website where the details will be shared as soon as they become available.

By Kirsty Campbell, Programmes Manager

I recently attended a webinar which presented findings from the Zoe Project, run by King’s College London. The project, which has been collecting data from over 1 million people since the first lockdown in March 2020, looks at a range of issues, including mental health, and is one of the largest studies of its kind.

It identified that young people’s mental health has been particularly impacted by the pandemic, in part due to the disruption to their education and employment, and the effect this has had on their view of the future. Many young people were also struggling with mental health before the coronavirus pandemic, and at SCF we were already aware – from some of the organisations that we fund who support children and young people – that the problem was growing. Feedback from our grant-making has continued to show us just how important our voluntary sector is in supporting young people in many different ways, and it also shows us what young people can give back.

Perhaps in a less direct way, our grants to individuals programmes also support young people’s mental health by helping them access services, employment, education or experiences, or funding something which will make life a bit easier or more enjoyable. It is also a way of showing young people they are valued and worth investing in. As one Youth Offending Team member put it: “A grant would give the message that organisations are willing to support people who wish to make positive changes and move forward in their life.”

Our Eagle House Trust Fund supports young people who have experienced time in care, many having traumatic and unstable childhoods.

Included in one application was a video, made by a young care leaver who continues to cope with mental health problems, but had been supported to find her voice through poetry. In the video she reads her poem against a backdrop of changing images, all of which she created. Her video really touched me, and I have yet to come across anything else that so vividly explains how anxiety and depression can impact someone’s life. Her creativity is astounding, and yet her leaving care worker says she can’t see it.

Horseshoes and Handprints, a fund transferred to us earlier this year, helps with the cost of equine therapy, and although I love hearing applicants’ stories, I regretfully know, as with all our grant programmes, we can never help everyone.The courage of Mary’s parents to fundraise and set up the Mary’s Beat fund after the death of their daughter is truly inspiring. It always brightens my day to know how a grant from Mary’s Beat helps people with a physical and/or learning disability, many of whom are children and young people, to access a music or outdoor activity they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do. Most recently the photo Harrison’s parents sent of him on his new, specially modified trike [pictured], now able to join in with the family cycle rises, makes me smile. 

The most recent addition to our grants to individuals programmes, the South West Youth Enterprise and South West Youth Training Funds, awarded 14 Training and Employment Support Grants and four Enterprise Grants in the first round, thanks to the generosity of a donor who wants to support young people. I have been so impressed by the determination and creativity of these young entrepreneurs and really look forward to seeing how they and their businesses progress.

Having experienced my own mental health difficulties, and tried to support my children through theirs, to be honest, things have sometimes looked bleak. But the chance to help a young person have a brighter future, even in a small way, with a grant, is so rewarding. I appreciate this wouldn’t be possible without the generosity and forward thinking of our donors, and fund holders, the support of the dedicated public and voluntary sector workers, and of course the young people themselves! I’m really proud to be able to say SCF’s grants to individuals programmes are growing and hope this continues so that we can support even more young people in the years to come. Their stories are truly inspirational.

And do watch the video – you may just be as blown away as I was!

Time is running out for charities and community groups who were significantly affected during the height of the coronavirus outbreak to apply for grants to support their day-to-day running costs (also known as core costs).

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) has opened a special round of the Hinkley Point C Small Grants programme and is encouraging applications for grants of up to £5,000 from community groups and organisations who work in places that are impacted by the Hinkley Point C (HPC) development.

Val Bishop, Programmes Director at SCF explains: “Many small community groups and charities were unable to fundraise for a significant period of time during the height of the pandemic. Lockdowns have meant that activities like fun runs, charity dinners and coffee mornings were all unable to go ahead and many groups and charities have struggled financially.

“These small groups also proved themselves invaluable to many during this time of crisis. It’s important to us that we make our funding as accessible and flexible as possible, to support the charity sector and help them to continue to build stronger, thriving communities. This is universally crucial for communities across the whole county, but it is so very important in those areas affected by the HPC project.”

SCF expects to award up to £50,000 in grants to those groups who have been affected by the pandemic, to help support them as they start to recover from the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak. The HPC Community Fund will also continue to be open to applications from groups that wish to apply for project or activity costs.

For those wanting to learn more, Programme Manager for the Somerset Community Foundation’s HPC Small Grants programme, Peter Stolze, is available to answer your questions by email: peter.stolze@somersetcf.org.uk or you can call him on: 01749 344949.

Applications to the next round of HPC Small Grants can be made by visiting: www.somersetcf.org.uk/hpcsmall and the deadline to apply is Wednesday 29 September.

The HPC Community Fund is part of a wider £20 million commitment of funding, provided by EDF through Section 106 agreements, for communities that are affected by the development of the new nuclear power station, to promote their social, economic and environmental wellbeing and enhance their quality of life.

If you run a local community project in Somerset and would like to find out more about grant funding from the HPC Community Fund please email Somerset Community Foundation at: info@somersetcf.org.uk, call: 01749 344949 or visit: www.hpcfunds.co.uk

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £15 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.

Photo Caption: Peter Stolze, Programmes Manager at Somerset Community Foundation, is ready to take your questions

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) has launched a new fund to help children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Somerset, East Devon or North Dorset, access horse-facilitated therapy sessions.

Kirsty Campbell, Programmes Manager at Somerset Community Foundation explains: “These new grants from the Horseshoes and Handprints Fund will cover 50% of the cost of a course of horse therapy sessions up to a maximum of £250. Horse therapy – or equine assisted therapy – is provided in a horse-based environment to promote physical, occupational, and emotional growth for people with needs arising from, for example, ADHD, anxiety, autism, Cerebral Palsy, dementia, depression, developmental delay, PDA, Down Syndrome, brain injuries and behavioral/abuse issues.

“Close contact and interaction with horses is highly sensory and there are a variety of horse therapy providers in Somerset. Benefits for the users are many, including better speech and communication, improved memory and attention span, greater confidence, and a happier family environment. The Horseshoes and Handprints Fund is open to applications until Friday 5 November, 2021.”

Applications will be considered if you:

Any community group or charitable organisation wishing to apply for funding should visit the SCF website where they can find guidance on how to make an application: www.somersetcf.org.uk/apply

Somerset Community Foundation is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £15 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.

Photo Caption: A client at Move the Mind, which helps children with autism and other neurocognitive conditions.

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is looking for an individual to volunteer on the Hinkley Point C (HPC) Community Fund Awards Panel – and applications from people with knowledge of west Somerset are particularly welcome.

Somerset Community Foundation manages the HPC Community Fund, awarding grants to those seeking support for projects and initiatives that will help to mitigate the impacts and increase the opportunities of the Hinkley Point C build in their community. The Awards Panel, which includes members of the local community, makes the decisions about which Somerset-based projects will be awarded grants. To date they have helped to award over £5 million to local organisations, with grants ranging from £200 to £370,000.

Steve Mewes recently finished a three-year term on the panel. He said of the role: “The independent panel member position on the Awards Panel was hugely rewarding. Not only did it test my local knowledge and contributory skills but I also learnt a lot about so many phenomenal community projects that take place in Somerset. I would highly recommend it.”

Justin Sargent, Chief Executive at SCF, said: “We’d be really interested to hear from anyone who lives in Somerset and knows it well – particularly the west Somerset area – and who can bring their life experience to support our grant-making. This is a terrific opportunity for anyone who is committed to local communities, and changing the world on their doorstep.”

Justin added that applicants do not need experience of serving on a grants committee, as Somerset Community Foundation will provide support and guidance. The successful panel member should be able to commit for at least three years.

To find out more about this exciting voluntary role, visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/vacancies or apply by sending your CV and a covering letter to: info@somersetcf.org.uk or post to Carolyn Phimister, Somerset Community Foundation, Yeoman House, Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet BA4 6QN, to arrive by noon, Monday 11 October. Applications received after this deadline will not be considered.

If you run a local community project in Somerset and would like to find out more about grant funding from the HPC Community Fund please visit: www.hpcfunds.co.uk or call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949.

Photo Caption: Steve Mewes recently finished a three-year term on the HPC Community Fund awards panel.

 

The HPC Community Fund is part of a wider £20 million commitment of funding, provided by EDF through Section 106 agreements, for communities that are affected by the development of the new nuclear power station, to promote their social, economic and environmental wellbeing and enhance their quality of life.

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £16 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.

 

Mary’s Beat, based in Cossington, between Street and Bridgwater, is a fund created in the memory of Mary Christabel Dyer, to help disabled people take part in activities that will build self-confidence and encourage participation, that they may not otherwise be able to afford.

Grants of up to £1,000 are awarded for individuals to take part in music therapy, music experiences or outdoor adventures and activities, and are made possible thanks to Mary’s family, who normally organise fundraising activities every year.

Since the Fund was launched by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) in July 2017, a total of £12,405 has been awarded in grants, to 23 individuals with physical disabilities, learning disabilities or both, living in Somerset or Devon. However, the pandemic has meant that Mary’s family haven’t been able to do their planned sponsored cycle ride or other fundraising activities. To be able to award grants early next year more funding is now desperately needed.

Piers Dyer, Mary’s father, explained: “We normally raise around £3,000 each year for the Fund which is then given out by SCF as grants to people living with disabilities. Our sponsored cycle to the Hoge Veluwe National Park in the Netherlands, where Mary had her first ride on a special wheelchair bicycle, was planned for August 2020, but due to the pandemic it unfortunately had to be postponed.

“We’re keen to start fundraising again and hope to plan events for 2022, which include a concert as well as another sponsored cycle ride. Also, if anyone would like to arrange a fundraiser for Mary’s Beat we can offer support and would be happy to come along to an event to speak about the Fund. We also welcome any donations which can be made at our Justgiving page: www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/somersetcf/marysbeat .”

Harrison, aged 9, has Fragile X Syndrome, which causes him to be severely intellectually and learning disabled. His condition is lifelong and has a significant impact on Harrison’s mobility and ability to access physical activities and the community in a safe way. A Mary’s Beat grant of £750 was awarded earlier this year towards the cost of a specialist trike so that Harrison can join his family on cycle rides. Having this trike has given Harrison access to cycling, significantly increasing his level of outdoor and physical activity, giving him the sensory feedback he needs.

Harrison’s mum, Natasha, said: “I would like to thank Somerset Community Foundation and the Mary’s Beat Fund for helping us to fund Harrison’s new Tomcat trike. He loves it and was so happy to receive it for his 8th birthday.The different control options mean he can achieve a level of independence, which is brilliant for boosting his confidence and self-esteem.”

His dad, Chris, adds: “The trike has given Harrison a newfound freedom, bringing him such joy and happiness.”

Paul has Myotonic Dystrophy type 1. He was once a Church of England vicar but had to take early retirement due to his disability, and before that was a PE teacher. Paul had always enjoyed sailing but also had to give this up due to his disability. Paul discovered Sailability in Torquay, a Disabled Sailing Association club and a £300 Mary’s Beat grant was awarded to go towards petrol costs to get to the sailing centre, session costs and membership fees. In Paul’s application for funding he added that he has lost the ability to take part in other physical activities and that this would give him that opportunity, along with a sense of freedom and self-worth, benefitting his physical and mental health.

Paul said: “With the help of the Mary’s Beat grant, I was able to join the Disability Sailing Association (DSA) based in Torbay. The DSA has two yachts adapted for physically impaired people. Having had to give up my lifetime hobby of dinghy sailing due to myotonic dystrophy, this has enabled me to continue my passionate interest and ability to sail. Not only can I be taken out to sail but I also get plenty of opportunity to helm the boats under the oversight of fully qualified skippers and crews. This in turn has made a massive difference to my health and wellbeing. I am very thankful to Mary’s Beat and Somerset Community Foundation for this grant.”

Mary’s Beat will consider funding for individuals to participate in an activity which would not otherwise be available to them. Eligible activities include music therapy, one-off concerts, and outdoor activities that will build self-confidence, encourage participation and inspire hope for the future. Previous grants have been awarded towards the cost of specialist buggies, trikes and wheelchairs, football season tickets, music and equine therapy, and outdoor activity days.

Kirsty Campbell, Programmes Manager at Somerset Community Foundation, said: “It’s fantastic to see Mary’s Beat helping people have fun, positive experiences which they’ll enjoy and remember for years to come. If the fundraising is successful we hope to open the Fund so that more people can apply early next year (2022), and we can help turn more peoples’ dreams into realities.”

If you have any questions regarding Mary’s Beat please visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/marysbeat or email: Kirsty.campbell@somersetcf.org.uk

Mary was born with severe disabilities and required constant care, however, she lived a rich and rewarding life. She loved attending live music concerts and enjoyed the great outdoors: camping, going for walks with family and friends in her adapted wheelchair, and cycling in her ‘Duet’ wheelchair bike.

Any person wishing to apply for funding should visit the SCF website where they can find guidance on how to make an application: www.somersetcf.org.uk/apply

Somerset Community Foundation is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £15 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.

Photo caption: Harrison on his specially adapted trike

Made By Sport has partnered with community foundations across the UK to distribute £4.4m of funding to organisations and sports clubs who deliver sports development programmes for young people up to the age of 25. Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is managing the applications for Somerset and grants of up to £2,021 will be awarded to eligible organisations from the #ClubsInCrisis Fund.

The fund is looking for applications from clubs and community organisations that use sport to improve young people’s lives through one or more of the following means:

Kirsty Campbell, Programmes Manager at Somerset Community Foundation, said: “We’ve already awarded £42,000 in grants to Somerset groups and clubs from the #ClubsInCrisis Fund this summer. The fund is open for applications until Wednesday 18 August, so do get in touch with us if your charity or sports club needs a grant to support your development work with young people.”

Groups that have been awarded grants from the fund this year are:

Purple Elephant Productions CIC in Frome has been awarded a grant of £2,021 from #ClubsInCrisis towards the cost of providing free-of-charge summer sports activities for children, where they’ll have fun and get fit together, whilst also developing and improving their social skills and mental health.

Sue Willis, Director at Purple Elephant, said: “It means so much to us to receive this grant funding, which allows us to keep supporting vulnerable families during the long summer holiday period. Many families struggle when the support usually provided to them by schools is not available. We help to bridge that gap and even include free meals at our activity sessions, in partnership with Fair Frome. For many families our activities are an absolute lifeline.”

Recent research indicates that 25% of community clubs may never reopen due to the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic. In an attempt to prevent this becoming a reality, Made By Sport is offering grants to groups who use sport as a vehicle for social good.

The #ClubsinCrisis Fund is supported by the Cash4Clubs scheme, and Sophie Mason, Made By Sport’s Chief Executive, urged clubs to apply. She said: “We’re delighted to be able to provide £4 million worth of grants through our #ClubsinCrisis Fund. With sport returning, now is the time to invest in grassroots sports and give our young people the best opportunity to thrive. Access to sport will provide them with more confidence, more resilience and better mental and physical health.

“We believe funders and policy makers should consider sport in a different context and Made By Sport will continue to lead the way in redefining what community sport can do as part of the national rebuild. Now more than ever, sport has a big role in reinvigorating communities and supporting young people post-pandemic.”

In order to be eligible, clubs must provide clear evidence of how they use sport to help young people develop life skills, employment opportunities, reduce crime and anti-social behaviour or tackle mental health issues.

Any community group or charitable organisation wishing to apply for funding should visit the SCF website where they can find guidance on how to make an application: www.somersetcf.org.uk/apply

Somerset Community Foundation is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £15 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.

Photo Caption: Many activities are on offer during the school holidays at Purple Elephant’s holiday sessions

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) has recently awarded £50,000 in grants to 22 groups to create or develop green community spaces across Somerset. These grants were made possible thanks to Somerset County Council and with the support of Somerset Community Food.

Green social prescribing, nature-based therapy, growing and nature all featured prominently in the applications for grants from the Growing Grants funding programme, many in relation to recovery from the pandemic. The pandemic has had a huge impact on people’s health and wellbeing and has further increased awareness of the value of spending time outdoors and the benefits of engaging with green spaces.

Leader of Somerset County Council David Fothergill said: “Gardening, growing and being with others who enjoy these activities have such benefits for mental as well as physical health.

“The pandemic has made us all appreciate being outdoors and it’s even better if that means growing your own produce and enjoying the fruits of your labours. It is so encouraging to see our seed funding grow such strong community roots.”

Andy Ridgewell, Senior Grants Manager at SCF explains: “A few years ago we started to get more applications from groups using gardening to help people in their communities. In March 2019 we worked with Spark Somerset to organise a networking session called Grow for Good, bringing together over 20 local gardening and horticultural projects to network, exchange ideas, and potentially work together.

“The outcome was a conversation with Somerset County Council about sustainable food systems and food poverty, and directly influenced the creation of the £50,000 Growing Grants fund.”

Caroline Lewis from Somerset Community Food added: “The Growing Grants programme highlights the diverse range of community-focused gardening and growing schemes across Somerset. There is clearly a lot of expertise across the network. We’re working with Spark Somerset to host regular forums to bring project workers / volunteers together to provide useful information and project support, and the Grow for Good Facebook page is a really great place for projects to connect and share advice and information.”

The groups that were awarded funding from the Growing Grants programme are:

Westfield Community Association is a community group working in one of Somerset’s most socially and economically challenged communities. With the help of a £5,000 grant from the fund, they are creating an allotment area as one of six zones within the brand new Westfield Community Garden in Yeovil.

Mike Chant, from Westfield Community Association, said: “The growing allotment area will complement the five other ‘zones’ within the garden – the Peaceful zone, Social zone, Wildlife zone, Art zone and Exercise zone. The positive benefits of gardening for people’s health and wellbeing are well known, and the allotment zone, where residents of all demographics will grow fruit and veg for the community, will be a core functional element within our community space. The idea is to help the community become more ‘food aware’ ​whilst offering them a place to get involved in some gardening. The aim is for the garden to become a place where people of all abilities and interests can come together to promote health and wellbeing in a sustainable way.”

Any community group or charitable organisation wishing to apply for funding should visit the SCF website where they can find guidance on how to make an application: www.somersetcf.org.uk/apply

Somerset Community Foundation is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £15 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.

Photo Caption: Planting blossom and fruit trees in the allotment zone at the community garden in Westfield, Yeovil.

BLOG POST

By Justin Sargent OBE, Chief Executive


During the pandemic we saw how communities took a strong lead in developing local responses. They took what they had and used it with an energy and vigour that was nothing short of inspiring, and it certainly helped me and my team to keep pace as we fed off that energy in those crucial first weeks of the outbreak.

What communities did not do, however, was wait for the state to intervene. It was a swift and nimble response to an unprecedented situation, and it was instinctive: the same instinct that saw communities rise up urgently to help the people impacted by the 2012/13 and 2014/15 Somerset floods.

As lockdowns and social distancing come to an end (for now at least), it is tempting to sit back and wistfully reflect on that glorious uprising of community spirit, as we contemplate going back to life as it was.

In our day-to-day work at SCF we continually witness how communities make the most of what is available to them to change the world on their doorstep. Rarely is this a strategically planned intervention to have ‘X’ in place to fill a need. No, the bedrock of local charities, community groups and social enterprises is invariably a group of connected individuals who take the opportunity to do something good, starting with what they have.

They use their interests, concerns, and skills. They may have the use a local building or some land, and they can draw in favours, goodwill and, of course, money when they need it. Let’s face it, people are more likely to be generous if offering assistance to something that is organised by their neighbours. This happens day in, day out and I think it is one the greatest causes for hope we have today: People coming together to do something good with what they have within their reach and changing the world on their doorstep.

One of the greatest assets that our communities can almost universally access is land, or more specifically here in rural Somerset, soil. Alongside this, another of our greatest assets are the people who want and can do something with that soil.

In 2017 we started to notice an increase in enquiries and applications from groups using gardening and horticulture to effect positive change in people’s lives. We saw a whole spectrum running from those that are focused on health and wellbeing, using gardening and food production as a catalyst for change, to those that are about sustainable food production, through which people might develop skills or simply find meaning in their lives.

In March 2019 we worked with Spark Somerset to organise a networking session called Grow for Good, bringing together over 20 local gardening and horticultural projects, just to get to know one another, learn from each other and maybe work together. We played to our respective strengths; we provided some funding, and Spark did the organising – but it was the participants who made it. As a result, a Facebook group started up and is still active today, and currently has over 80 members.

That energy and interest has, in turn, fed into our discussions with Somerset County Council about sustainable food systems and food poverty, and directly influenced the creation of a £50,000 fund. Grants from this fund have now been awarded to 22 local organisations, including Westfield Community Association in Yeovil, who are creating new allotments in one of Somerset’s statistically most deprived communities, and the Plotgate Community Farm on the fringes of the Somerset levels, a community supported agricultural scheme providing volunteering and traineeships.

Against a backdrop of sustained interest in environmental issues, and a raised consciousness of what the environment can do for our wellbeing, I have a feeling this is an area that (and, please, excuse the pun) is going to grow and grow.

So, what to draw from this? I think that part of our job is to follow community leadership, adding our support – usually funding – where it will help fill a gap or unlock community potential. Sometimes we are in a position where we can see patterns and encourage people to learn from each other and work together. Sometimes we’re able to use the insights that come from the groups we support to influence the direction of future funding. Above all, though, our job is to work with the grain of our communities and then stay firmly on the sidelines, only emerging if we have something additional or helpful to contribute: and only then if it’s helpful on their terms.

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) has opened a special round of the Hinkley Point C Small Grants programme to support the day-to-day running costs of community groups who were significantly affected during the coronavirus outbreak.  

Grants are now available for what is sometimes known as ‘core costs’ – or every day running costs. Val Bishop, Programmes Director at SCF explains: “The pandemic has hit small community groups and charities hard, and many of them have not been able to fundraise as they would have normally, with activities like fun runs, charity dinners and coffee mornings all unable to go ahead. Many groups and charities have struggled financially.

“Since the start of the outbreak, these groups have proved themselves invaluable during this time of crisis. It’s important to us that we make our funding as accessible and flexible as possible, so our sector is able to continue to help build stronger communities, so important in those areas affected by the HPC project.”

The HPC Community Fund’s Small Grants programme is welcoming applications for grants of up to £5,000 from community groups and organisations who work in places that have been impacted by the HPC development and who have been affected by the pandemic, to help support their core costs as communities start to recover from the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak. The Fund will also continue to accept applications that apply for project or activity costs.

SCF expect to award up to £50,000 towards core costs in this round.

For those wishing to learn more, Programme Manager for the Somerset Community Foundation’s HPC Small Grants programme, Peter Stolze, will host a presentation via Zoom on Wednesday 8 September at 11am. The free-of-charge event, which should last around an hour, is a great chance to find out if this funding is for your group and to ask any questions you may have.

To book a place on the September event, click here

Applications to the next round of HPC Small Grants can be made by visiting: www.somersetcf.org.uk/hpcsmall and the deadline to apply is Wednesday 29 September.

The HPC Community Fund is part of a wider £20 million commitment of funding, provided by EDF through Section 106 agreements, for communities that are affected by the development of the new nuclear power station, to promote their social, economic and environmental wellbeing and enhance their quality of life.

If you run a local community project in Somerset and would like to find out more about grant funding from the HPC Community Fund please email Somerset Community Foundation at: info@somersetcf.org.uk, call: 01749 344949 or visit: www.hpcfunds.co.uk

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £15 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.

Photo Caption: Peter Stolze, Programmes Manager at SCF,  is ready to take your questions at an online event in September

Grants up to £2,500 are now available for core costs for smaller charities, community groups, sports clubs and social enterprises based in Somerset. Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) manages The Somerset Fund and is encouraging groups that run on less than £100,000 per year to apply now for funding. The grants from The Somerset Fund can be used to pay for ongoing running costs, known as ‘core costs’. Applications to the Fund can be made through SCF’s website and the deadline to apply is 5pm, Friday 13 August 2021.

The Somerset Fund has supported a wide range of local charities since its launch in 2018, thanks to the generosity of local donors. Kelly Hall, Development Manager at SCF explains: “The Somerset Fund is about helping us make our communities stronger by providing the places and spaces for people to get together. Examples of things the Fund will support includes village halls or community centres, community shops, cafés or foodbanks, sports clubs or playing fields, or community events, groups and activities.

“Donating to The Somerset Fund a great way for local people to give to local good causes, helping to strengthen our charities and communities and change lives across Somerset. Thanks to the local businesses and individuals who have chosen to give through The Somerset Fund so far, it has already supported 96 good causes in the county and awarded more than £170,000 in grants to local grassroots charities. Plus, all donations are matched by 50% thanks to funding from Somerset County Council, meaning it has an even greater impact.”

Leader of Somerset County Council David Fothergill said: “The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the tireless work that grassroots charities and community groups do every day. I would encourage them to apply to the Fund and look to the future as we move further along the road to recovery.

“I would also like to thank them for all that they have done – and continue to do. That extra bit of financial support will help those groups and organisations to carry on with their much-appreciated community work.”

Shepton Mallet Ukulele Group received a grant for £682 from The Somerset Fund for equipment for their community performances. The group performed at a lot of the open-air community events where the sound was being carried on the wind, and the grant was for an amplifier and microphones to improve their sound levels.

Chairman Ray Smith said: “We’re delighted that now the coronavirus restrictions are starting to lift we’re getting booked up again: new bookings for 2021 include a summer picnic event, a retirement party and we’re doing regular monthly slots at local get togethers for people living with dementia, thanks to a group called Music Connect.

“It’s well known that people with dementia respond positively to music, and I think it’s really important to help people in need in your community, especially the elderly, if you can; it’s a simple thing to be able to enhance their lives. We’re self-funded with annual membership and group fees, and without The Somerset Fund grant we wouldn’t be able to improve our offer to the community. We’re extremely grateful for the grant – it’s just been invaluable to us.”

If you are involved with a Somerset-based community group or charity, supporting children and young people, older people, and adults, larger grants from other funds are also available from SCF.

To find out more about how to apply for funding, from £250 up to grants in excess of £50,000, please visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/apply or email: info@somersetcf.org.uk or call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949.

If you run a local business and would like to find out more about giving through The Somerset Fund visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/tsf or you can e-mail: kelly.hall@somersetcf.org.uk or call Kelly on 01749 344949.

Somerset Community Foundation is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £15 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) has an exciting opportunity for up to three people to shape their future by joining their board of trustees. Successful candidates would help passionate people change the world on their doorstep by supporting SCF’s grant-making programmes and helping to grow their philanthropic services.

 SCF would love to hear from anyone who has experience and knowledge of at least one of the following:

Justin Sargent, Chief Executive at SCF explains: “By setting the strategic direction of the Foundation and supporting our work, our board of trustees has an essential role in the success of the Foundation. Given the breadth of the causes we support and the diversity of donors we work with, it is also a very rewarding way to contribute to the wellbeing of local communities across Somerset, not least as they recover from the impacts of the pandemic.

“We’re looking for a local person who is able to commit the time to support and promote the Foundation’s mission, and can attend four board meetings a year. In return we’ll provide opportunities to grow and learn as part of the role, as well as the chance to shape the direction of the charity, meet and spend time with people and charities who help make stronger and thriving communities across Somerset, and see first-hand the impact our funding makes to local communities every day.”

SCF would especially welcome applications from minority ethnic people, people with disabilities, younger people, LGBTQ+ people and people with ‘lived experience’ relevant to their work. Previous trustee experience is not necessary to join the board.

For more information, or if you wish to apply, visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/about-us/vacancies

The deadline to apply is Monday 26 July.

Somerset Community Foundation is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £15 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.

Photo Caption: Interested in becoming a trustee? Justin Sargent, CEO at Somerset Community Foundation, would love to hear from people interested in supporting their grant-making

Are you passionate about Somerset? Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is looking for an individual to volunteer on the Hinkley Point C (HPC) Community Fund Awards Panel – and applications from people with knowledge of West Somerset are particularly welcome.

The HPC Community Fund – managed by Somerset Community Foundation – awards grants to those seeking support for projects and initiatives that will help to mitigate the impacts and increase the opportunities of the Hinkley Point C build in their community. The Awards Panel, which includes members of the local community, makes the decisions about which local projects will be awarded grants. To date they have helped to award over £4.5 million to local organisations, with grants ranging from £200 to £370,000.

Justin Sargent, Chief Executive at SCF, said: “We’d be really interested to hear from anyone who lives in Somerset and knows it well – particularly the West Somerset area – and who can bring their life experience to support our grant-making. This is a terrific opportunity for anyone who is committed to local communities, and changing the world on their doorstep.”

Justin added that applicants do not need experience of serving on a grants committee, as Somerset Community Foundation will provide support and guidance. The successful panel member should be able to commit for at least three years.

To find out more about this exciting voluntary role, visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/about-us/vacancies or apply by sending your CV and a covering letter to: info@somersetcf.org.uk or post to Carolyn Phimister, Somerset Community Foundation, Yeoman House, Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet BA4 6QN, to arrive by noon, Friday 30 July. Applications received after this deadline will not be considered.

If you run a local community project in Somerset and would like to find out more about grant funding from the HPC Community Fund please visit: www.hpcfunds.co.uk or call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949.

 

The HPC Community Fund is part of a wider £20 million commitment of funding, provided by EDF through Section 106 agreements, for communities that are affected by the development of the new nuclear power station, to promote their social, economic and environmental wellbeing and enhance their quality of life.

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £16 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.

Photo Caption: Justin Sargent, Chief Executive at Somerset Community Foundation, would like to hear from people who feel passionately about Somerset, in particular the west Somerset area of the county.

Access to natural environments and wildlife is well documented as having positive benefits for people’s health and wellbeing, and never has this been more important than during the past 15 months. The Hinkley Point C (HPC) Community Fund, managed by Somerset Community Foundation, is committed to improving the environment as a catalyst for change in people’s lives in the communities impacted by the construction project. Over £167,000 has been awarded to environmental projects from the HPC Community Fund since 2017, which builds on over £370,000 that was previously awarded from the Community Impact Mitigation Fund, both of which are funded by EDF. Environmental projects supported by the Fund range from building bat boxes to redeveloping park land, enriching many local people’s lives and their communities.

Val Bishop, Programmes Director at Somerset Community Foundation said: “Most people have appreciated their local environment far more over the last year and we’ve seen how spending time outside has benefitted our mental health and overall wellbeing. We’re delighted that we have been able to award these grants, which have helped bring people together and provided the space and facilities that communities have needed during the coronavirus pandemic. If you run a local community project in the area, or have an idea for one, especially if you think it will improve the local environment and have a positive impact on the quality of life for residents, please do get in touch.”

Andrew Cockcroft, Senior Community Relations Manager at Hinkley Point C said: “This support to community-based environmental initiatives is particularly important to us at Hinkley Point C. It is wonderful to see the Fund helping to protect our local habitats and green spaces whilst supporting local people to access them.”

Environmental projects that have benefitted from support from the HPC Community Fund so far are:

 

One of the groups that has been awarded a grant from the HPC Community Fund is Wembdon Parklands and Community Together (Wembdon PACT). The group was formed to make the parklands next to the Northern Distribution Road in Bridgwater more accessible for all, enhancing the health and well-being of people in the community, and encouraging the return of wildlife. A grant for almost £59,000 was awarded in 2019 to help redevelop the green space by putting in paths, planting trees and sensory borders, creating a prairie orchard, a nature trail and a picnic area.

Lorna Edwards, Chairperson at Wembdon PACT said: “We are so grateful to the HPC Community Fund for helping and supporting us. Without the funding we couldn’t have made this happen, and the grant is already making a difference to those who live in the community.”

The HPC Community Fund supports many groups and organisations’ projects to increase opportunity and improve the quality of life and wellbeing in communities most affected by the construction of Hinkley Point C, reaching smaller ‘grassroots’ charities as well as larger organisations. If you run a local community project in the area, please visit: www.hpcfunds.co.uk or call 01749 344949 to find out more about how to apply.

The HPC Community Fund has been awarding grants in Somerset since 2017. To date it has awarded over £4.5 million in grants to community organisations, ranging from £200 to £370,000. 

The HPC Community Fund is part of a wider £20 million commitment of funding, provided by EDF through Section 106 agreements, for communities that are affected by the development of the new nuclear power station, to promote their social, economic and environmental wellbeing and enhance their quality of life.

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £15 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.

Photo Caption: Lucie New, landscape gardener, and some of the Wembdon PACT trustees at the Parklands project which was funded by the HPC Community Fund

Funding is available from Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) for young people, from two grants programmes:

•           Enterprise Grants

•           Training and Employment Support Grants

Both programmes are open to young people who live in Somerset and are not in education, training or employment.

Enterprise Grants are for young people aged 18-30 to launch their business idea. This money could be used to pay for things like equipment, materials, stock and services to help get their business running, and grants for up to £1,000 are available from this programme.

Training and Employment Support Grants could help a young person aged 16-30 with the cost of essential items for training, apprenticeships or employment. This could include the cost of a course, a laptop, tools or clothing, or transport costs. Grants for up to £500 are available from this programme.

Kirsty Campbell, Programmes Manager at Somerset Community Foundation said: “We’re delighted to be launching this new fund, which offers grants for young people in Somerset who are not currently in employment, education or training.

“Whether you have created a business plan and just need an extra bit of money to help get your new business off the ground or have decided to re-train, or start a course at college or an apprenticeship – we’d like to help if we can. It’s amazing the difference these grants can make.”

The deadline for applications is Wednesday 30 June. For more information visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/grants-individuals or if you have any questions, please contact Kirsty Campbell by emailing info@somersetcf.org.uk or by calling 01749 344949. 

Photo Caption: Kirsty Campbell, Programmes Manager at SCF, is encouraging young people in Somerset to apply for a grant to support new business, training or education.

 

 

Somerset Community Foundation is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £15 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.

BLOG POST

By Justin Sargent OBE, Chief Executive

 

You would be forgiven for wanting to gloss over a column about charities after all the controversies covered (and uncovered) by the press recently. There is, of course, another and much brighter side to the coin and so, at the start of Small Charity Week 2021, please allow me to attempt to lift your spirits and your confidence in a sector I have been privileged to be part of for eighteen years.

While the charities that you may be most familiar with are likely to be the national and international causes that raise tens of millions of pounds each year, did you know that almost 75% of registered charities run on less than £100,000 a year, largely on a voluntary basis?

This 75% of the sector also tends to be the charities that are least well known but, by and large, touch our lives more frequently than we may be aware.

Imagine for a minute, your life without local charities: your local pre-school, which arguably gives your children the best start in life, may no longer be there; the breakfast club in your children’s school may be gone; there would be no counselling for a young person with an eating disorder; no community transport to help your disabled neighbour attend hospital or go shopping; people with dementia and other life limiting illnesses – and their carers – will be left with little or no support; you may no longer have a local community hall; and your village shop (or even pub) may have shut down for good.

These are just a few examples of the contributions small, local charities make to our day-to-day lives. You may call these ‘services’, but they are so much more. They say, “let’s do this together” rather than “this is what we’re going to do for you.” And because they are part of your community, they can go the extra mile – or ten.

I’ll share just one true story here, to illustrate this: when an elderly bus passenger was being dropped off at her home one winter’s evening, she told the driver that she wasn’t looking forward to the weekend: her boiler was broken and the engineer wasn’t coming until the following week. Without being asked, he drove back to the bus depot, picked up an electric heater from the office and took it back to her.

At Somerset Community Foundation we hear stories like this all the time. You can find some of them on our website here.

Please do whatever you can to support the work of small charities through donations or volunteering. But perhaps most importantly, please remember to celebrate the role they play in all our lives. Thank you.

The team at Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) are incredibly proud to announce that their Chief Executive Justin Sargent has been recognised with an OBE for services to the community in Somerset in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Justin said: “It is deeply humbling to have been awarded such an honour. It has been the privilege of my life to have led Somerset Community Foundation for the past 16 years. However, the success of the Foundation is truly a collective effort, and I would like this honour to be viewed as a reflection of the care, compassion and dedication of everyone who has been involved with the Foundation.

“I work with an exceptional team of staff, Trustees and volunteers, but we can only continue to make the difference we make thanks to the very generous support of our donors and funders and the commitment of our local voluntary groups, who all help to change the world on their doorsteps every day. Never has this been more apparent than during the coronavirus pandemic, when local charities and volunteers have gone above and beyond for those in need. It is the unrelenting desire of our communities to make Somerset a better place for all that I feel is reflected in this award.”

Jane Barrie OBE DL, Chair at SCF said: “The Trustees of SCF are absolutely delighted that Justin has been honoured in this way. He is a man of very special qualities who gives far more to Somerset beyond his role as CEO of the Foundation. He is passionate about doing the best for the disadvantaged and vulnerable in our communities, and in crises such as those posed by the Somerset floods of 2013/2014 and the coronavirus outbreak, he has worked well above the call of duty to help provide funding and leadership to the voluntary and community sector.”

Justin joined SCF in 2005 bringing with him considerable experience in community development and grant-making, having previously worked with small non-governmental organisations in Lesotho in Africa, and on environmental and social initiatives here in the UK.

Since SCF was founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £16 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset, and most recently awarded over £1.5m worth of grants in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Today, Justin leads a team of 12, delivering over £2m of funding to Somerset communities every year. In 2017 he was awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Voluntary Sector Management from CASS Business School, and in 2018 Justin joined the Board of Trustees at the Nelson Trust.

Somerset Community Foundation is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Grassroots sports clubs and organisations in Somerset who have been affected by the pandemic – whether financially or operationally – can apply for grants to help them continue invaluable community work through Made By Sport’s Clubs in Crisis fund.

Made By Sport, a charity which champions the power of sport to tackle social issues, is distributing over £4 million of grants to support the important role that grassroots sports clubs and organisations play in communities. Applications for the grants are being managed by Somerset Community Foundation.

Recent research indicates that 25% of community clubs may never reopen due to the devastating impact of Covid-19. In an attempt to prevent this becoming a reality, Made By Sport are offering unrestricted grants of £2021 to those groups who do so much in communities to use sport as a vehicle for social good.

The pandemic has exacerbated many health and social issues. Research from mental health charity YoungMinds found that 83% of young people said the pandemic had affected their mental health, reporting issues with sleep, panic attacks and urges to self-harm.

In the face of these crises, sport can transform people’s lives. As well as helping to overcome mental health challenges, it is also a way to tackle important social issues such as reducing crime and anti-social behaviour, increasing life and employment skills and opportunities. It also brings communities together and it is estimated that for every £1 invested in sport and recreation, there is a £4.34 return on savings in government expenditure on crime, truancy and ill health.

The #ClubsinCrisis fund, supported by the Cash4Clubs scheme, is now accepting applications and Sophie Mason, Made By Sport’s Chief Executive, urged clubs to apply.

She said: “We’re delighted to be able to provide £4 million worth of grants through our #ClubsinCrisis fund. With sport returning, now is the time to invest in grassroots sports and give our young people the best opportunity to thrive. Access to sport will provide them with more confidence, more resilience and better mental and physical health.”

We believe funders and policy makers should consider sport in a different context and Made By Sport will continue to lead the way in redefining what community sport can do as part of the national rebuild. Now more than ever, sport has a big role in reinvigorating communities and supporting young people post-pandemic.”

In order to be eligible, clubs must provide clear evidence of how they use sport to help young people develop life skills, employment opportunities, reduce crime and anti-social behaviour or tackle mental health issues.

To apply for funding for your club, visit www.madebysport.com/clubsincrisis

Somerset Community Foundation recently published their annual impact report for The Somerset Fund, which matches donations by 50% thanks to Somerset County Council. Donations are then awarded as grants to a host of small, local charities and community groups across the county.

Kelly Hall, Development Manager at Somerset Community Foundation said: “We’re so very grateful to the many local businesses and families who have generously donated to The Somerset Fund this year. A lot of the groups we’ve supported find it difficult to secure funding, and are often led by volunteers working at a very local level. For these organisations, a small grant can make the world of difference, and every penny goes a long way to helping them make Somerset a place where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.” 

The report is full of stories of some of the 68 amazing groups supported by the Fund in 2020/21, all of whom are changing lives across Somerset and making our communities stronger every day.

Find out more about The Somerset Fund and read the report here.

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) welcomed His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex on The Royal Bath and West Showground, during his recent visit to Somerset.

The Earl asked how the voluntary sector dealt with the pandemic in Somerset, and heard about the incredible local community response, and how the charity and voluntary sector in Somerset responded so swiftly and nimbly to the immediate need at a local level, with many organisations adapting their services almost overnight. Joining His Royal Highness were SCF Chair, Jane Barry OBE DL; Chief Executive, Justin Sargent; Programmes Director, Val Bishop; Trustees Jan Ross, MBE and Lucy Nelson DL; and Rosemary McDonald BEM, CEO of UK Community Foundations, the umbrella organisation for community foundations across the UK. 

Justin Sargent said: “We’re enormously proud of the remarkable efforts of our sector and the incredible pace at which so many groups and charities responded to the coronavirus outbreak last year. We were honoured to meet His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex and delighted to have the opportunity to talk about our work and introduce him to just some of the local charities and voluntary groups SCF has supported recently – thanks to the generosity of our supporters and donors – all of whom work so tirelessly to help the most vulnerable people in our communities, every day.”

Justin then introduced The Earl to representatives from six groups who were funded by Somerset Community Foundation to help them deliver their vital services and support to the community during the crisis, and His Royal Highness spent time with each organisation, asking questions about their work. The groups were:  

The Earl and Countess also visited nearby Wells, where they visited members of the Wells Coronavirus Network and other members of the community to thank them for their efforts during the pandemic, the Connect Centre, the Cathedral and The Bishop’s Palace.

Any community group or charitable organisation wishing to apply for funding should visit the SCF website where they can find guidance on how to make an application: www.somersetcf.org.uk/grantfunding

Somerset Community Foundation is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £15 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.

Pictured: L – R: Jan Ross MBE, HRH The Earl of Wessex, Val Bishop, Rosemary McDonald BEM and Justin Sargent

The Trustees of Horseshoes and Handprints (H&H) would like to announce that they have regretfully closed the charity but are delighted to be able to say they have handed over the reins to Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) to manage the Fund in the future.

Horseshoes and Handprints was a charity established in 2013, supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), particularly those with autism, who live in Somerset, east Devon or north Dorset and would otherwise not be able access equine facilitated therapy sessions. Operating from Manor Farm, Stocklinch they provided equine therapy until 2017, when they returned to concentrating on delivering funding to families to access the equine therapy provider of their choice.

Desi Fradgley, one of the Trustees at H&H, said: “On behalf of the Trustees I would like to thank all our staff and volunteers, not forgetting our wonderful landlord at Manor Farm. Enormous thanks are due to everyone who has raised money for H&H, made donations and grants, and generally supported us in so many ways – there are just too many people and organisations to mention. We could not have helped so many families without you all.”

Kirsty Campbell, Programmes Manager at Somerset Community Foundation said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be looking after the Horseshoes and Handprints Fund going forward, and wish the team all the best in their next endeavors.

“The Horseshoes and Handprints Fund will open to applications in September 2021. These grants will cover 50% of the cost of equine therapy sessions, up to a maximum of £250. If you would like to find out more about the Fund and how to apply in the meantime, please do get in touch with us directly.”

Close contact and interaction with horses is highly sensory and there are a variety of equine therapy providers in Somerset. Benefits for the users are many, including better speech and communication, improved memory and attention span, greater confidence, and a happier family environment.

To find out more about how the Fund may be able to help you, or to support the Fund, or for more general information about the Fund, click here or call 01749 344949 and ask to speak to Programmes Manager, Kirsty Campbell.

Any community group or charitable organisation wishing to apply for funding should visit the SCF website where they can find guidance on how to make an application: www.somersetcf.org.uk/apply-for-a-grant

Somerset Community Foundation is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £15 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.

 

Photo Caption: H&H’s first client in 2013, pictured in April 2021 at Move the Mind, which helps children with autism and other neurocognitive conditions.

Diversity Voice, based in Bridgwater, champions intercultural integration through initiatives and events, providing support and services that help the inclusion of migrants and incoming workers, in and around Somerset.

In 2018 the group were awarded a grant of £180,000 over three years from the HPC Community Fund, to work with those directly connected with Hinkley Point C (HPC) and the wider community in Sedgemoor and the west of Somerset. The key aim was to help provide legal and welfare advice, and deliver events and training to bolster intercultural integration and English language support, for migrant workers and their families.

Val Bishop, Programmes Director at Somerset Community Foundation, who manage the Fund, explains: “Diversity Voice’s grant award is part of our Strategic Grants Programme, which aims to strengthen community cohesion. With the impacts of coronavirus increasing loneliness and isolation across our communities it is more important now than ever before to support charities such as Diversity Voice to bring all parts of the community together and celebrate the breadth of experience, knowledge and understanding that different cultures bring. Diversity Voice, as with other groups Somerset Community Foundation fund, provide both support and connections, which make our wider Somerset communities stronger.”    

Tanya Lawler, CEO at Diversity Voice added: “The grant funding from the HPC Community Fund has been invaluable. Over the last year our advice service has been busier than ever, as the communities we represent have been not only disproportionately affected by the pandemic, but many have also had to deal with their obligations under the EU Settlement Scheme. Our English lessons and events to promote intercultural understanding have been especially important since Brexit.

“Of course, we’ve only managed to do all this thanks to our close working relationships with our friends in the fantastic voluntary sector in Somerset, including SPARK Somerset, Somerset Diverse Communities, and Citizens Advice among many others.

“Keeping everything going during the pandemic has been a huge challenge for our small team but we’re delighted to have been able to help so many people. We’re really looking forward to meeting everyone face-to-face again, hopefully in the coming year, including at our English club and our drop-in advice service, where support is available in any language.” 

Andrew Cockcroft, Senior Community Relations Manager at Hinkley Point C said: “Whether they are linked directly to the HPC Project or not, Diversity Voice is providing a valuable service to people and communities from across Somerset. We are delighted to be working in partnership with the team at Diversity Voice in building stronger, more cohesive communities.”

Over and above its work with Hinkley Point C, Diversity Voice is providing support for communities across the region; according to the latest Home Office data, applications made by EU applicants (all EAA, but excluding those from other non-UK born origins) for status to remain in the UK beyond June 2021 are at 7140 in Sedgemoor and 6780 in Somerset West and Taunton, showing a clear need for the important work that organisations such as Diversity Voice deliver.

Tanya continued: “People are often surprised at the linguistic diversity in Somerset; speakers of over 25 different languages have registered with us in recent years. But language is certainly not the only barrier to opportunity and wellbeing. Equally important is how we, as a society, understand each other’s cultures. Community cohesion relies on mutual understanding and as the makeup of our community has changed, there’s been a need to both develop this and ensure opportunities are available for all.

“Thanks to our grant from the HPC Community Fund, we’re here to offer a warm welcome and provide the help needed to ensure that everyone can take advantage of all that Somerset has to offer.”

The HPC Community Fund is part of a wider £20 million commitment of funding, provided by EDF through Section 106 agreements, for communities that are affected by the development of the new nuclear power station, to promote their social, economic and environmental wellbeing and enhance their quality of life.

If you run a local community project in Somerset and would like to find out more about grant funding from the HPC Community Fund please visit: www.hpcfunds.co.uk or call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949.

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded £15 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is delighted to have been awarded a High Sheriff’s Special Recognition Award, which cites their ‘outstanding work to the community in Somerset and for their acts of thoughtfulness and kindness during the coronavirus pandemic of 2020.’

SCF launched the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal on 19th March 2020, just a few days before the first national lockdown was announced. The High Sheriff’s Special Recognition Award is made on the one-year anniversary of the first emergency Somerset Coronavirus Response grants, which were approved for payment less than a week after the appeal was launched last year. These first grants were made to food banks across the county, and in those first few weeks of lockdown SCF continued making emergency grants to frontline charities across our county, every day.

Justin Sargent, Chief Executive at SCF said: “We’re truly delighted to have received this Special Recognition Award from the High Sheriff of Somerset. Our grateful thanks go to our local charities on the frontline, who have worked tirelessly to ensure our vulnerable neighbours across Somerset have been cared for and supported through these most difficult of times.

“We’re also incredibly grateful to all the donors who have supported the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal so generously in the last year. Thanks to the £1.5m of flexible funding we’ve received from individuals, businesses, charitable trusts and public sector partners, and a year after we made our first grant, we’ve awarded almost £1.2m of grants to date, to over 370 charities, with more funding being awarded in the weeks and months to come to help local charities recover from the impacts of the pandemic.”

Mary-Clare Rodwell, High Sheriff of Somerset 2020-2021, said: “To recognise this particularly challenging and unusual year, I have made High Sheriff’s Special Recognition Awards for exceptional acts of compassion and outstanding contributions to the welfare of the community. SCF supports charities and voluntary organisations. Their swift and nimble actions in response to this pandemic showed a resolve and determination over and above what would be expected of them. With impromptu groups forming in towns and villages across the county, SCF provided them with the funds to address the different needs of their individual communities. Their work was, and is, vital to our communities, and I thank them.”

As life slowly returns to normal, national surveys warn that charities will face a funding crisis following 2020, and SCF is standing by to make sure essential charitable services are not lost. If your organisation is based in Somerset, has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and has an annual income under £250,000 you may be able to apply for a grant of up to £5,000. Applications must be made by Friday 23 April. Find out more here.

 

Somerset Community Foundation is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £15 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.

The Somerset West and Taunton Small Grants Fund, managed by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) on behalf of the Somerset West and Taunton Council, awarded £18,000 of grants in the area to help support charities during the early days of lockdown last year.

The funding helped 21 groups to set up virtual services, urgently deliver food where it was needed the most, purchase PPE, and support people’s mental health. It was matched by SCF with an additional £39,650 of funding which was raised by a national coronavirus appeal run by the National Emergencies Trust (NET).

The groups supported by the Fund are:

 2BU Somerset is based in Taunton and supports LGBTQ+ children and young people up to 19 years of age, who are exploring their identity, alongside running a peer-led group for young adults. They were awarded a £2,500 grant towards providing virtual support for LGBTQ+ young people in Somerset.  

One young person said: “I’ve been receiving support from 2BU for almost 3 years now. I don’t know how I would have coped with lockdown without their sessions; it was the one place that I could be myself. I was having trouble staying in touch with the people that I cared about and the sessions helped me to make the effort to maintain contact with them. During lockdown it’s really difficult to deal with my anxiety and lack of motivation, or even just to be myself, and often the 2BU sessions on Zoom kept me going. I don’t know where I would be without them.”

Dulverton Good Neighbours was launched in early 2020 as part of the CCS (Community Council for Somerset Somerset) Good Neighbours scheme. As the coronavirus crisis hit, the group collaborated with the local junior school to use some of their space to set up a local food bank. Dulverton Food Bank was established by the end of March 2020, and was awarded a grant for £4,200 towards supplying food boxes and meals on wheels to those in most need within the local community.

Judy Ernest, a fundraiser from the group said: “We are very grateful for the grant awarded by SCF. It enabled us to react very quickly to the situation caused by the pandemic. There was one 88-year-old local resident who needed to self-isolate and had also had a recent fall. Dulverton Good Neighbours provided her with a volunteer who went grocery shopping, collected prescriptions, and phoned her several times a week.

“Many of those who have contacted our Good Neighbours helpline are still being supported on a regular basis, and it just wouldn’t have been possible to do everything without this funding.”

Grants of up to £1,000 are also available for local charities, voluntary or community groups, sports clubs, or social enterprises based within Somerset West and Taunton from Wednesday 7 April and the deadline to apply is Friday 7 May.

The Local Community Fund, administered by Somerset Community Foundation on behalf of Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWTC), was set up in 2017 to support community projects in the local area by distributing money from the Somerset West Lottery (www.somersetwestlottery.co.uk). The Lottery raises money within the community for the community, enabling people to support the causes they care most about, while also helping good causes to connect with their supporters.

Cllr Chris Booth, Executive Member for Community at Somerset West and Taunton Council, said: “The local lottery makes it easier for us all to support charities, the voluntary sector and not-for-profit organisations in the SWT area, and gives organisations the opportunity to promote themselves through ticket sales.

“It’s wonderful to see so many worthy recipients of this fund who have provided support to so many over the past exceptional year. I would encourage everyone who can to buy tickets and help our local voluntary and community groups at this difficult time.”

A ticket for the Somerset West Lottery (SWL) costs £1 per week, 60p of which goes directly to good causes – more than double what the National Lottery gives. Players can choose to support a named local good cause, or they can decide to award their contribution to the Local Community Fund.

All applications made to the SWL community fund and received by the published deadline are assessed by Somerset Community Foundation and SWTC staff. Applications are assessed on value for money and impact on the local community.

Good causes are checked with financial, governance and operational due diligence. Applicants do not have to be registered charities, but they do need to be run by a committee of at least three people, have a constitution or set of rules, and a bank account with at least two unrelated signatories who are not part of the same household.

Any community group or charitable organisation wishing to apply for funding should visit the SCF website where they can find guidance on how to make an application: www.somersetcf.org.uk/apply-for-a-grant

Somerset Community Foundation is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £15 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.

Thanks to funding from the #iWill Fund *, and in collaboration with the Youth Parliament Somerset and a Focus on Nature, Somerset Wildlife Trust are introducing a new conference: Youth Environment Summit Somerset (YESS).
 
The online event will bring together young people (aged 11-18) from across the county to discuss how they feel and how they can best be supported and inspired to develop their own environmental ideas for actions.
 
#YESS – Youth Environment Summit Somerset, is taking place on Saturday 27 March, 10.30am – 4pm online via Zoom.
 
It’s a free-of-charge event, and features a line-up of amazing and inspiring speakers, with plenty of opportunity for breaks, collaboration and questions.
 
The event is an opportunity for young people to come together and have their voice heard, while learning how to turn their concerns, interests and energy into positive action for wildlife, conservation and the environment; whether that’s understanding how to participate in national events and campaigns or to effect positive direct change in the communities where they live.
 
Find out more and sign up by clicking the link here.
 

*The #iwill Fund is an England wide joint investment that brings together £40 million in funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and The National Lottery Community Fund, creating a central investment pot. The National Lottery Community Fund believes that when young people are leading social action, communities thrive.

The #iwill Fund launched in November 2016 to support the #iwill campaign’s goals in England, aiming to make social action part of life for as many 10 to 20 year-olds as possible by the year 2020 by distributing investment through working with other funders. From the end of 2020 The #iwill Campaign became known as the #iwill Movement. The #iwill Movement is supported by Volunteering Matters and UK Youth who have formed a consortium to host an independent #iwill Coordination Hub that will support the #iwill Movement until 2026.

The #iwill Movement is UK wide whereas the #iwill Fund only funds projects that are delivered in England.

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is absolutely delighted to announce that the 2020/21 Surviving Winter appeal has smashed its target, raising an incredible, record-breaking £160,000, thanks to the generosity of local donors.

The annual appeal encourages those who can afford to, to donate some or all of their Winter Fuel Payment. These donations provide funding and support to our older and vulnerable neighbours across Somerset who, this year due to the need to stay at home during the coronavirus outbreak, are finding themselves cut off from family and friends, and facing higher than usual costs to heat their homes.

SCF team say thank you Feb 2020

The Surviving Winter team at SCF, and their partners, have been distributing funding across the county to those in need. The appeal aims to support more than 700 people this year, helping to keep them warm, safe and well.

Since Surviving Winter first launched in Somerset in 2010, the appeal has raised an astounding £950,000 in total for the county. SCF’s Development Director, Laura Blake, thanked local people for rallying behind the appeal: “We’ve been absolutely blown away by the support we’ve received for this year’s Surviving Winter appeal – particularly as so many older people have been going through challenging times in light of the coronavirus restrictions in the last year. We’re hugely grateful to each and every person who has donated – and particularly those who donate year after year. Without your support, we know lots of older people in Somerset would be suffering in silence and feeling more isolated than usual during the cold winter months.”

SCF would especially like to thank TelePA who generously offered their services free-of-charge to the charitable campaign for the second year in a row. The team-of-two telephone answering service, based in Wells, took dozens of pledges from Somerset residents wishing to donate to the Surviving Winter 2020/21 appeal.

For information on how to apply for a Surviving Winter grant, please contact either Community Council for Somerset on 01823 331222 or visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/winter

To donate some or all of your Winter Fuel Payment, or to make a donation of any size to the Surviving Winter appeal, please visit www.somersetcf.org.uk/winter to donate online. To send a cheque, please make it payable to Somerset Community Foundation (please write SW on the reverse), Yeoman House, Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, BA4 6QN. Or you can fill in the Surviving Winter Gift Aid Declaration Form when you post your cheque. To make a donation over the phone, please call 01749 344949.

Fortitude Wellbeing is one of the latest groups to receive a grant from the Hinkley Point C Community Fund. With their work on improving mental health and wellbeing having even greater significance during the latest lockdown, the group, which is based in Taunton, is focused on providing opportunities based in the natural world to help people rediscover a sense of purpose and enjoyment in their lives.

Using a grant of almost £5,000 from the Fund, the organsiation has been able to start a new project based around the beneficial impact of woodworking on mental health. The latest initiative will bring young people and their families closer together, helping them to connect and develop coping strategies through woodworking and craft workshops. Val Bishop, Programmes Director at Somerset Community Foundation, who manage the Fund, explains: “Fortitude’s original application for funding was for a practical craft-based and woodworking project, particularly promoting wellbeing for young people in Bridgwater and Minehead, to rekindle connections between young people struggling with their mental health and their families. Due to the pandemic, which happened shortly after we awarded the grant, the planned face-to-face workshops could no longer take place and the project model was adapted so that it was Covid-19 compliant.”

Olly Clabburn, Director at Fortitude adds: “Since May of last year we’ve developed DIY kits that have been posted to families across Sedgemoor and Somerset West & Taunton. Included in each kit is everything the families need to create something special. We pre-cut, drill and package everything by hand and include a set of instructions for children to follow during the build. To date, we’ve posted bird boxes, tool caddies and flower press kits to more than 50 families in Somerset.

“The project has been a great success so far, and we have a few more kits that we’re in the process of developing ahead of this spring. We’ve received feedback from the families and young people who’ve told us that spending time together assembling the kits and taking part in a practical task together, especially one that reminds parents of their own childhood, has opened up communication and helped them to reconnect. We’ve been told that the kits are really appreciated as it offers an activity away from technology and screens, especially during the pandemic and lockdown, which has had a negative impact on the mental health of so many.”

Andrew Cockcroft, Senior Community Relations Manager at Hinkley Point C said: “Mental health has always been important but as we all continue to cope with the challenges of the pandemic it has an even greater significance. We are extremely proud to be able to support such a valuable and unique project that is helping to support those that are struggling.”

Fortitude Wellbeing have also connected with other community groups in the area, including Minehead EYE (a youth and community social enterprise based in Minehead), Men in Sheds TAUNTON (MIST), and Home-Start West Somerset, demonstrating their connection with the wider community. As a result of developing these kits with the funding from the HPC Community Fund grant, Fortitude also recently completed a project funded by The National Lottery Community Fund in which memory box kits specifically for grandparents and grandchildren were sent to families across the South West. 

The HPC Community Fund is part of a wider £20 million commitment of funding, provided by EDF through Section 106 agreements, for communities that are affected by the development of the new nuclear power station, to promote their social, economic and environmental wellbeing and enhance their quality of life.

If you run a local community project in Somerset and would like to find out more about grant funding from the HPC Community Fund please call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949 or visit: www.hpcfunds.co.uk

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £10 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.

BLOG POST

By Justin Sargent, Chief Executive

At Christmas I was given Rutger Bregman’s Humankind: A Hopeful History. It is a wonderful antidote to the day-to-day challenges of living in lockdown. I don’t want to underestimate or diminish the hardship that people face in their everyday lives, hardships that have been magnified by the pandemic, but perhaps the continuing success of the vaccine rollout means we can look forward to what comes next.

In this blog I’m going to talk about the charitable sector and the role that community plays in our lives and what this could mean for us at Somerset Community Foundation.

The role of community in our lives

I’ve written before of the pace at which communities responded to the first lockdown through semi-formal mutual aid groups, quickly followed by the local organisations that serve them. What I had overlooked was the very informal help of one person helping another – their family or a neighbour. In a recent survey conducted for The Law Family Commission on Civil Society, of the 40% of the adults who helped in some way during the first lockdown, the vast majority did so, not through an organised structure, but spontaneously and informally for a neighbour, friend or family member.

As we saw during the Somerset floods, people will go to extraordinary lengths to help others in need. This time we have seen many employers swiftly adopting flexible working practices and encouraging their staff to find a work-life balance, allowing them time to volunteer and look after their own mental well-being. Not only that, but we saw many use their assets to serve a greater cause. Just recently we have seen a small group of IT professionals in Taunton use their skills to convert redundant laptops into working equipment for children without access to IT equipment: not a registered charity, just another spontaneous, big-hearted community effort. 

I’m not looking at our society and communities through rose-tinted glasses. Furlough, for example, undoubtedly helped many do more for their community and, in truth, Covid has viciously exposed, exploited and increased inequalities. Too many people have been suffering from the outset, and nurses, doctors, carers, frontline and charity workers are all exhausted.

Maybe, though, the pandemic has given us a sneak preview of how we can build back better and revealed the value of acts of kindness. Before last March, ‘community’ was a word more often than not bandied around without much thought, an abstract notion; now, I hope, ‘community’ will be given the respect, recognition and opportunity it deserves.

The role of local organisations

What does that mean for our local charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises? Again, the pandemic has brought into sharp focus how vitally important our local charities are in our lives, often through the absence of a service we had previously taken for granted. Suddenly, we could see what life could be like if the village hall didn’t exist, if our local pre-school wasn’t there, or if the people who look after one of our parents with dementia for half a day to give the other some respite were not there.

Sometimes, it’s because they were more visibly ‘there’ that we have understood their value in our lives: the village shop that managed to stay open because it is owned and run by the community; the charity that brought sports equipment to a family so that their disabled child could still enjoy physical activity; the community hall that converted its kitchens to allow hot meals to be prepared and served in the local community.

And above all, we saw clearly the adaptability and ingenuity of organisations to find ways to deliver their services to some of the most vulnerable people in our communities at a time when they most needed it. The rapid implementation of digital tools and transformation to deliver services and run local organisations – organisations that are often criticised for not being innovative enough or a bit stuck in their ways. This time last year who would have thought so many essential services run by small groups could go digital so quickly?

In the same survey from the Law Family Commission on Civil Society, there was an interesting (and surprising – to me, at least) insight into the public’s perception of charities. On whether there are too many charities and community groups, there was a fairly balanced view between ‘too many’ and ‘not too many’, while stronger majorities felt that charities are not wasteful nor working on the wrong priorities and that they are efficient, effective and – most notably – can be trusted.

After a number of years when trust in the sector has been relatively low and we have faced a tough time in the press, I do wonder whether this reflects the greater visibility charities have had in our lives, and in our communities, in this last 10 months. If so, it gives us a fantastic opportunity to build on that trust to make a bigger difference in the years to come.

Gazing ahead

I fear that we could slip back into old habits. When the first lockdown ended I had to firmly resist slipping back into the habit of commuting to the office and popping into the supermarket on the way home every day. Not good for me, not good for the environment and, ultimately, not good for SCF.

If we are going to build back better we are going to have to plan and make an effort to sustain that change. In Lewin’s change management model, change starts with unfreezing the status quo; what is often overlooked is the effort required to refreeze in the new, better place.

Here are three things to look out for:

  1. Digital – in this case sustaining and continuing the better use of digital within local charitable organisations, but also across society. As I mentioned previously, our sector proved just how nimble it was by the speed at which many charities adapted to delivering their services online. All done with a little funding, some support but most importantly the imperative to try, learn and adapt and carry on regardless, which it seems can carry us a long way. Crucially, we must be able to crack the digital divide. Of course, we look to the government to provide infrastructure, but community has a role too – from running training and support programmes to the provision of hardware for those in need. In the past couple of weeks I have come across two local IT firms volunteering to upgrade and recycle laptops for pupils, and I am sure there are more. Imagine, once we are past this emergency, if every Somerset ICT firm could refurbish just one donated laptop every week? We could deliver strong social, health and environmental benefits to people of all ages. But creating coherent and effective infrastructure for such initiatives is key; where will the leadership come from?

  2. Financial pressure on the sector – we know Covid has significantly impacted on charities’ abilities to raise money from their normal fundraising activities; fun runs, charity dinners, coffee mornings and all the things that rely on people coming together for a good cause. In some cases this has been offset by new sources of income, but I am very concerned there has been massive hit to organisations’ unrestricted funds, which in most cases is their lifeblood.

No organisation has a right to exist, but our communities deserve the services they provide. We need to make sure that organisations that have taken the hit and stood by their communities are supported when they need it, when they need to adapt, collaborate, merge or – where necessary – close well.

For funders, like us, we have to re-consider to what extent we need to fund tangible ‘things’ – projects, equipment or buildings – and to what extent we should offer more flexible funding, trusting our brilliant organisations and the difference they make. For an interesting take on this, this podcast with MacKenzie Scott from CAF’s Giving Thought series is worth a listen.

  3. Trust – this point about trust is pivotal. Above all else, we need to trust our communities and the organisations they create. The recovery of society and the economy may be long and arduous, but one silver lining from this crisis is that we can see the magic that happens when communities take more of a lead in creating their own destinies.

This is recognised in Danny Kruger MP’s report Levelling Up Our Communities: Proposals for a New Social Covenant which places as much emphasis on social cohesion, equality of opportunity and equity of outcome as it does on economic growth. This creates opportunities and challenges for all of us, including us at SCF, but it is possible to build back better if we want to.

Change happens at the speed of trust; trust is the currency of community.

The Somerset Coronavirus Appeal, launched by local charity Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) at the start of the pandemic, has raised a phenomenal £1.5 million. The funding has enabled the Foundation to award grants to over 300 local charities [correct as at 19/01/2021] in just 10 months, thanks to the generous support of local individuals, businesses, charitable trusts and public sector partners, as well as funding from a national appeal run by the National Emergencies Trust (NET).

Donations to the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal are continuing to help provide grants of £100 up to £5,000 to local groups and charities, helping those in our communities across the county who are most impacted by the outbreak, including vulnerable older people, domestic abuse survivors, people experiencing mental health problems, and children and families living in poverty.

Justin Sargent, Chief Executive at SCF said: “We’re truly delighted to have reached such a considerable milestone in our fundraising. Our grateful thanks go to all the donors who have supported the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal so far and so generously since the launch in March of last year, and especially to our local charities on the frontline, who have worked tirelessly to ensure our vulnerable neighbours across the county have been cared for and supported through these most difficult of times.

“These generous donations will go a long way to helping local charities to not only continue delivering essential services, but to help mitigate the significant financial impacts of the coronavirus outbreak in light of the challenges of fundraising during lockdown.”

SCF is passionate about doing as much as possible to support our communities, and is encouraging local people, businesses, charitable trusts and organisations who feel able to donate to the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal to visit the SCF website: www.somersetcf.org.uk/appeal or, if that isn’t possible, call 01749 344949.

Any charitable group wishing to apply for funding from the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal should visit the SCF website where they can find guidance on how to make an application: www.somersetcf.org.uk/grants-groups

Somerset Community Foundation is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £10 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.

Grants up to £2,500 are now available for smaller charities and grassroots groups based in Somerset. Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) manages The Somerset Fund and is encouraging smaller charities and community groups that run on less than £100,000 per year to apply now for funding. The grants are ‘unrestricted’, which means they can be used to pay for ongoing running costs, also known as ‘core costs’. Applications to the Fund can be made through SCF’s website and the deadline to apply is Monday 22 February, 2021.

The Somerset Fund has supported a wide range of local charities since its launch in 2018 thanks to generous local donors. Laura Blake, Development Director at SCF explains: “We’re hugely grateful to the local businesses and individuals who have chosen to give through The Somerset Fund so far; The Somerset Fund has already supported 84 good causes in the county and awarded more than £120,000 in grants to local grassroots charities.

“It’s a great way for local people to give to local good causes, helping to strengthen our charities and communities and change lives across Somerset. Another great reason to get behind The Somerset Fund is that all donations are matched by 50% thanks to funding from Somerset County Council, meaning your donation has an even greater impact.”

The Friends of the Blue Association Trust, in association with the Blue School in Wells, received a grant from The Somerset Fund in the autumn of 2020 for £1,500 to improve their conservation area, enhancing the students’ experience at the school both now and for future generations to come. Lorraine Millington told us: “We asked the pupils what they felt was the most pressing current need of the time and conservation was number one. Staff and pupils have been able to work together, redesigning and refurbishing the conservation area at the school, thanks to the funding from The Somerset Fund.

“It was important to the pupils that we made sure the area is accessible to all. Our projects also include increasing biodiversity by planting bee-friendly plants, climbers, more trees in the orchard fields, bird feeders, an installation of a clay pond, raised beds, and the refurbishment of the polytunnel, which has seen better days. The fruit from the existing fruit trees is often made into apple juice for the local care home for the elderly and the community centre for the homeless. It’s been a really difficult year for everyone, and this project has been particularly good for the pupils’ mental health allowing them to spend more time outdoors, and to take part in activities and projects where the emphasis is less academic.

“Due to the pandemic we’ve seen a significant loss in our usual fundraising this year, so we’re very grateful for the grant from The Somerset Fund.”

The Somerset Fund supports local people of all ages and a wide range of causes, including:

Leader of Somerset County Council David Fothergill said: “Congratulations to all the community groups who have been successful in receiving a grant. I’d also like to thank the many businesses who have donated to The Somerset Fund so far.  As can be seen, donations all go a long way and to very worthy causes.

“The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the wonderful work that grassroots charities and community groups do every day. Support is vital and donations will reach charities and groups who would otherwise struggle to raise funds of their own and for whom small grants make a huge difference.”

If you run a business and would like to find out more about giving through The Somerset Fund visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/tsf call Laura Blake on the number below, or e-mail: laura.blake@somersetcf.org.uk

If you are involved in a local, grassroots community project and would like to find out more about how to apply for funding, please visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/somersetfund or call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949.

Community Foundations are local champions, connecting people and organisations that want to improve their communities. They invest in local people and organisations tackling some of the biggest issues facing communities today and supporting some of society’s most disadvantaged people. They provide help and advice to those who want to give at the heart of their communities, both now and in the long-term, by matching donors to important local causes.

 




 

Donate your Winter Fuel Payment so Somerset’s elderly don’t have to choose between heating and eating

Thanks to more than 450 generous supporters across Somerset, the annual Surviving Winter appeal – which provides funding and support to our older neighbours who are struggling to heat their homes – is getting close to reaching its target of £120,000 this winter.

Surviving Winter, which is run by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF), encourages people who can afford to, to make a donation from their Winter Fuel Payment. The charity aims to support at least 500 vulnerable older people across Somerset with a Surviving Winter grant every winter, helping to keep them warm, safe and well, and easing financial pressure during the cold winter. Those in need are also given specialist support and connected to local services and community groups that can reduce loneliness and isolation. The coronavirus outbreak means that, for many older and vulnerable people, this winter will be even more difficult and worrying. Many will need to stay at home to keep themselves safe and will find themselves cut off from family and friends, facing higher costs to heat their homes.

SCF is delighted to announce the Rt Revd Ruth Worsley, Bishop of Taunton has pledged her support for another year.

Bishop Ruth says: “Pensioners who can’t afford to heat their homes are going to bed early, cutting back on food and are often living in one room simply so they can stay warm. Making a donation from your Winter Fuel Payment to Somerset Community Foundation’s Surviving Winter appeal will help support some of the most vulnerable in our community. Please consider donating if you can.”

If you would like to donate to Surviving Winter, visit www.somersetcf.org.uk/winter or call 01749 344949. A donation form is also available here.

Further information on how to apply for a Surviving Winter grant will be published shortly on Somerset Community Foundation’s website. Please check: www.somersetcf.org.uk/winter for updates.

An incredible £4 million* has been awarded to local initiatives in Somerset since the Hinkley Point C (HPC) Community Fund was launched in 2017.

Val Bishop, Programmes Director at Somerset Community Foundation (SCF), who administer the Fund, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that in just three years we’ve awarded over £4m in grants. The HPC Community Fund continues to support many groups and organisations’ projects to increase opportunity and improve the quality of life and wellbeing in communities most affected by the construction of Hinkley Point C, reaching smaller ‘grassroots’ charities as well as larger organisations.

“If you have any ideas that you think we may be able to support with grant funding then please get in touch with us.”

Andrew Cockcroft, Senior Community Relations Manager, Hinkley Point C said: “I am extremely proud to see the substantial positive impact our Community Fund is delivering to a wide variety of groups and organisations in the local area surrounding Hinkley Point C. We are absolutely committed to ensuring that the benefits and opportunities of the project are accessible for local people, especially as the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic continue to affect us all.”

The HPC Community Fund delivers the Open Grants Programme for larger applications, typically over £10,000, and the Small Grants Programme awards grants of up to £5,000 – or up to £10,000 over three years – for charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises that normally operate on less than £100,000 per year. Visit www.hpcfunds.co.uk for more details on deadlines for applications.

Somerset Community Foundation recently awarded grants worth almost £430,000 to five groups from the HPC Community Fund’s Open Grants Programme:

Navigate were recently awarded a grant to provide financial education to the community through delivery of innovative and engaging workshops. They believe that working with people to educate and provide financial resilience is the cure to the mounting problem of poverty and debt.

Mel Allen, CEO at Navigate, talks more about how they’ll be spending their £150,891 grant from the HPC Community Fund: “Our work benefits individuals and families facing financial hardship and exclusion. We provide financial education to the community through delivery of innovative and engaging workshops. Our workshop, Navigate the Money Maze, provides effective money management training through group participation, simplifying money matters for all to understand. We believe this is key to the ongoing alleviation of debt and poverty.

“Our grant from the HPC Community Fund will help to increase the delivery and reach of this vital programme through the development and accreditation of the course. By providing attendees with a qualification, this will contribute to lifelong educational achievement, increased housing and employment opportunities, and provide an opportunity to meet others and increase community involvement and inclusion.”

An initial grant of £198,000 was also recently awarded from the HPC Otterhampton Ring Fenced Fund to Otterhampton Village Hall towards their refurbishment project.

The HPC Community Fund is part of a wider £20 million commitment of funding, provided by EDF through Section 106 agreements, for communities that are affected by the development of the new nuclear power station, to promote their social, economic and environmental wellbeing and enhance their quality of life.

If you run a local community project in Somerset and would like to find out more about grant funding from the HPC Community Fund please call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949 or visit: www.hpcfunds.co.uk

*£4,280,592 as at 25/11/2020

Grants worth £72,886 have been awarded to 37 smaller, grassroots charities and community groups in the latest round of The Somerset Fund, managed by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF).

Laura Blake, Development Director at SCF said: “It is such a difficult time for so many local charities, many of whom have lost out on donations and fundraising due to the coronavirus outbreak this year. We’re absolutely thrilled to be able to award these grants and so grateful for the generosity of local individuals and companies who have donated to The Somerset Fund.

“Our extra thanks go to Somerset County Council, who match every donation to The Somerset Fund by 50%.”

David Fothergill, Leader of Somerset County Council, said: “It is heartening to see so many groups benefiting from The Somerset Fund across the county. This year has been exceptionally hard for many voluntary and community groups so I know these grants will be of real benefit to so many people. A relatively small sum can make a huge difference in improving people’s lives in these very challenging times.”

The latest groups to have benefitted from the grants, which were awarded in mid-November, are:-

If you would like to find out more about giving through The Somerset Fund visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/tsf or e-mail: laura.blake@somersetcf.org.uk

Grants from The Somerset Fund support local people of all ages and a wide range of causes, including:

If you are involved in a local, grassroots community project and would like to find out more about how to apply for funding, please visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/somersetfund or call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949.

Community Foundations are local champions, connecting people and organisations that want to improve their communities. They invest in local people and organisations tackling some of the biggest issues facing communities today and supporting some of society’s most disadvantaged people. They provide help and advice to those who want to give at the heart of their communities, both now and in the long-term, by matching donors to important local causes.

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) has launched this year’s Surviving Winter campaign, which encourages people who can afford it to donate some or all of their Winter Fuel Payment to help local people who are unable to afford to heat their homes.

As we head into winter, many of us face an expensive – but essential – bill for heating our homes, while hundreds of our older neighbours here in Somerset are forced to choose between heating and eating. The coronavirus outbreak means that, for many older and vulnerable people, this winter will be even more difficult and worrying. Many will need to stay at home to keep themselves safe, and will find themselves cut off from family and friends, facing higher costs to heat their homes.

A shocking 10% of households in Somerset live in fuel poverty. Thanks to the bright idea of one generous pensioner, hundreds of older people in Somerset are being supported to stay warm, safe and well every winter through Somerset Community Foundation’s Surviving Winter campaign.

Surviving Winter encourages people who don’t need their Winter Fuel Payment to donate some or all of it to help local older people who are unable to afford to heat their homes.

Every year Surviving Winter helps around 500 elderly people living in Somerset through the cold winter months, thanks to generous local donors who, last year, donated an incredible £135,000 to the appeal.

SCF hopes to build on the fantastic support they received last year to help even more older people in the county this winter. Thanks to support from a generous funder and The Big Give, online donations to the campaign that are made during the week-long Big Give Christmas Challenge – midday Tuesday 1 December to midday Tuesday 8 December – will be doubled! So, not only will your donation be worth twice as much, but SCF will also be able to help even more older and isolated people across Somerset feel warm, safe and well this winter.

SCF is delighted to announce that Glastonbury Festival organiser and long-time Surviving Winter supporter Michael Eavis CBE has endorsed the campaign for another year.

Of this year’s Surviving Winter appeal, Michael says: “I know many people will have had a tough year, and we face some challenging months ahead, so it’s very good to know there are people like Somerset Community Foundation who locate the needs of people and can award Surviving Winter grants to fulfil these needs.”

Help Somerset Community Foundation reach their target of raising £120,000 to help at least 500 isolated and vulnerable older people this year.

If you would like to donate to Surviving Winter, visit www.somersetcf.org.uk/winter or call 01749 344949. Don’t forget that the first £15,000 of donations made online between midday Tuesday 1 December and midday Tuesday 8 December will be doubled. A donation form is also available to download from the Somerset Community Foundation website.

Further information on how to apply for a Surviving Winter grant will be published shortly on Somerset Community Foundation’s website. Please check: www.somersetcf.org.uk/winter for updates.

To celebrate 15 years of trading, Wells business TelePA decided to mark the occasion by offering to support telephone calls for local charities, free of charge, for a period of two years. Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is taking advantage of this generous offer for a second year, and TelePA are managing the extra phone calls they receive during their Surviving Winter appeal 2020/21.

Judith Ludovino from TelePA explained: “By using TelePA’s services, smaller charities such as Somerset Community Foundation can always be responsive to their donors – nobody wants to decide to make a donation to then be greeted by an answerphone.  Our very experienced local team will make sure every caller knows how much their contribution is valued.”

Laura Blake, Development Director at Somerset Community Foundation added: “We are thrilled to be able to benefit from TelePA’s generous support again this year. Surviving Winter encourages people who don’t need their Winter Fuel Payment to donate some or all of it to help local older people who are unable to afford to heat their homes.

“During the campaign we receive a large number of calls from generous donors who want to pledge their support, which can be challenging for us as a small team. With TelePA’s support, we can answer every single call from our donors and ensure we raise as much as we can to help older people experiencing fuel poverty across Somerset.”

Help Somerset Community Foundation to help more isolated and vulnerable older people this year. If you would like to donate to Surviving Winter, visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/winter or call 01749 344949. A donation form is also available to download here.

 

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) launched the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal in late March 2020 just as the country went into lockdown and within a week had awarded their first grants to our local foodbanks. Since then, they have built a fund worth £1.25 million thanks to the incredible support from individual donors, local charitable trusts, businesses and the National Emergencies Trust’s Coronavirus Appeal.

To date [as at November 2020] they’ve awarded almost £800,000 of grants to 250 local projects across the county, including food and medicine deliveries, free online counselling, and support for struggling families.

Three streams of funding from the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal are currently available. Local groups can apply for:

Any community group wishing to apply for funding from the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal should visit the SCF website where they can find guidance on how to make an application: www.somersetcf.org.uk/grants-groups

In 2021, SCF will continue to do everything they can do support our amazing local charities in their hour of need, providing grants to help offset losses from fundraising and preserve the great work that our charities deliver, that will be needed more than ever in the years to come.

North Petherton Playing Fields Charitable Trust has raised the funds needed to turn the community’s ideas for a multi-purpose park and green space into a reality, including an £80,000 grant from the Hinkley Point C (HPC) Community Fund, administered by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF).

Val Bishop, Programmes Director at SCF explains: “It is well known that getting outside in nature has many mental health benefits, and research has shown that spending time at a park or any green space can have the same effect.

“And so we are delighted that the grant award supports this brand new integrated leisure space, in the centre of North Petherton, which is being created for local people of all ages and abilities.”

The improvements at the existing North Petherton Memorial Park will include new playgrounds for juniors and toddlers, a Multi-use Games Area (MUGA), a young people’s arts and performance space, a trim trail and outdoor gym area, a multi-use circular track for walking, running or cycling, and picnic and seating areas, landscaped with trees and flower beds.

Andrew Cockcroft, HPC’s Senior Community Relations Manager, said: “We are delighted to be able to support this local project which will create a space that can be enjoyed by all in the years to come.

“It is wonderful to see the HPC Community Fund benefiting schemes across Somerset, supporting local people during these difficult times.” 

Peter Farnell, Volunteer Fundraiser and Project Manager at the Memorial Park Project added: “It was important to take into account the needs of everyone. Following an in-depth consultation with local residents last year, which included primary and secondary schools, local businesses, youth club and Brownies, we were able to start work on the project in mid-September. We’re very excited that there will be opportunities for outdoor physical activity for all, which will improve the health and wellbeing of our entire community.”

The build is due to be completed later in the autumn, with an official opening planned to take place in the spring of 2021.

Peter continued: “The project will help families who are new to the area to integrate into the existing community. Friendships can be created or developed as the community families come together through recreation in an attractive space and the whole community is really looking forward to being able to make use of it.”

A filmmaker based in North Petherton, The Local Film Company Limited, has been documenting the park’s progress. The second in their series of films, ‘What’s Happening in the Park?’ features an interview with Val Bishop, Programmes Director at Somerset Community Foundation.

You can view the film here.

The HPC Community Fund is part of a wider £20 million commitment of funding, provided by EDF through Section 106 agreements, for communities that are affected by the development of the new nuclear power station, to promote their social, economic and environmental wellbeing and enhance their quality of life.

If you run a local community project in Somerset and would like to find out more about grant funding from the HPC Community Fund please call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949 or visit: www.hpcfunds.co.uk

Pictured: L to R: Gary Hobbs, Headmaster of North Petherton Primary School; Dan McAlwane, Project Manager, HAGS; Cllr Peter Clayton, Chairman, Sedgemoor DC; Cllr Alan Bradford, Mayor of North Petherton; Cllr Linda Hyde, Chair of the North Petherton Playing Fields Charitable Trust.

Grants worth over £70,000 have been awarded to eight local charities and community groups directly supporting homeless people to move into independent living. Funds were awarded from The Somerset Move-In Fund, managed by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF).

After consulting a range of homelessness charities and community groups earlier in the year, SCF were told that many homeless people couldn’t move into their own homes because they couldn’t find the funds to purchase essentials such as curtains, carpets, furniture, white goods, and pots and pans.

Val Bishop, Programmes Director at SCF explains: “Last year we published our Hidden Somerset: Homelessness report which showed that hundreds, if not thousands of people continue to sleep rough or live in inappropriate or insecure housing across Somerset. In light of recent government initiatives to provide temporary housing for all rough sleepers in Somerset, we have an unprecedented opportunity to help potentially hundreds of local homeless people into their own homes and dramatically reduce homelessness in our county over the next two years.”

The Somerset Move-In Fund has been designed to help local charities give homeless people the best possible chance of finding a place to live and make it a home, with each individual receiving up to £500 of support.

Val continues: “We’re delighted to award these grants from The Somerset Move-In Fund and to continue our successful partnership with Somerset County Council. We’d like to thank them and the other generous donors who contributed to the Fund for their kind support, which will help hundreds of some of the most disadvantaged people in our communities to build a more stable, safe and fulfilling life.”

The organisations that have been awarded the grants are:-

Leader of Somerset County Council David Fothergill said: “A little bit of kindness goes a long way. This money will be used to do what, for many homeless people, would have been provided by family and friends. Parents, for example, will often give a helping hand when their son or daughter goes off to university or sets up home independently.

“It will help so many who want to move on and make a new and positive start, yet just need that small act of help and kindness to set them on that path.”

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) would like to support community groups that can help to reduce loneliness and spread Christmas cheer through food and festive activities.

Christmas can be a difficult time for some of our neighbours, and this year will be a tough Christmas for many more in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Many people who would normally come together for a community Christmas meal will be unable to this year, due to the coronavirus restrictions, so SCF wants to fund groups who can help to bring festive food – and the spirit of Christmas – to people at home.

The Festive Fund for Somerset offers a £250 grant to groups if they can tell SCF how their work can combat the isolation and loneliness that many people can feel in the winter months. Groups will need to think about how they can safely prepare and deliver food and gifts, or think creatively about how they can bring people together virtually to create happy Christmas memories. Grants will be awarded for work that supports people of all ages who may experience loneliness or disadvantage at Christmas.

To apply, you will need to complete a short application form by Friday 13 November. SCF will let applicants know if they have been successful by the end of November at the latest, so they will have plenty of time to plan their activities.

For information on how to apply for a Festive Fund grant, visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/festivefund

Grants worth £20,911 have been awarded to 19 smaller, grassroots charities and community groups in the latest round of The Somerset Fund, managed by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF).

Laura Blake, Development Director at SCF explains: “We’re absolutely thrilled to be able to award these grants at such a difficult time for so many local charities, many of whom have lost out on donations and fundraising due to the coronavirus outbreak. We can only do this thanks to the generosity of local individuals and companies who have donated to The Somerset Fund, and thanks to Somerset County Council, who match every donation to the Fund by 50%.”

The latest groups to have benefitted from the grants are:-

•             Charlton Horethorne Parish Council – £500 for an automated external defibrillator

•             Charlton’s Youth Club – £750 towards funding for a youth worker

•             Cheddar Community Partnership – £1,500 towards a therapeutic garden at The Space, supporting young people’s mental health

•             Cheddar Village Hall – £1,500 towards maintenance of the community’s hall

•             Fibromyalgia HEART of Somerset Support Group – £500 for peer support sessions in Burnham-on-Sea

•             Monks Yard Trust – £1,422 towards a community garden near Ilminster

•             North Cadbury and Yarlington Parish Council – £1,500 to establish circular walks around the parish

•             North Taunton Partnership – £281 for banners to promote community events in Priorswood

•             One Planet Wincanton – £500 for a community wildlife area at Cash’s Park in Wincanton

•             Phoenix House and Court Social Club, Frome – £873 for an outdoor space for older residents of a sheltered housing scheme

•             Purple Elephant Productions – £1,500 towards the group’s core costs of running activities for children and young people in Frome

•             RAF Air Cadets 290 Squadron and 290 Squadron Detached Flight – £750 towards new IT equipment for young people in Burnham-on-Sea

•             Somewhere House Somerset – £1,500 towards the group’s core costs of providing subsidised counselling for families in Burnham-on-Sea

•             Stogumber Parish Council – £835 towards an automated external defibrillator

•             Stoke sub Hamdon Community Shop – £1,500 towards refrigerators for a new community shop

•             The Friends of the Blue Association Trust – £1,500 towards tree planting and conservation work at the Blue School in Wells

•             Transition Town Wellington – £1,000 towards equipment for community fruit harvesting and juice making

•             Work-Wise – £1,500 towards the core costs of providing employment support to the long-term unemployed in Taunton

•             Yeovil Opportunity Group – £1,500 towards the costs of providing specialist early years provision

David Fothergill, Leader of Somerset County Council, said: “These grant awards show how The Somerset Fund can make a really big difference at a very local level. It also illustrates what great work parish councils, community and voluntary groups are doing to make a real difference to people’s lives.

“The money is helping so many age groups, from activities for children to improving the lives of older people. I’d like to thank all involved for helping to make Somerset such a great place where people and places are really valued.”

If you would like to find out more about giving through The Somerset Fund visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/tsf or e-mail: laura.blake@somersetcf.org.uk

Grants from The Somerset Fund support local people of all ages and a wide range of causes, including:

If you are involved in a local, grassroots community project and would like to find out more about how to apply for funding, please visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/somersetfund or call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949.

Community Foundations are local champions, connecting people and organisations that want to improve their communities. They invest in local people and organisations tackling some of the biggest issues facing communities today and supporting some of society’s most disadvantaged people. They provide help and advice to those who want to give at the heart of their communities, both now and in the long-term, by matching donors to important local causes.

BLOG POST

By Peter Stolze, Programmes Manager

Peter Stolze joined the Somerset Community Foundation team in January 2020 as Programmes Manager, looking after the Hinkley Point C (HPC) Community Fund Small Grants Programme. Here Peter shares with us some of his thoughts and observations from the last few months.

“Since 2017, the HPC Community Fund Small Grants Programme has supported a wide range of projects for communities that have been affected by the construction of Hinkley Point C, as well as those that are taking advantage of the opportunities it offers.

I joined Somerset Community Foundation just before the coronavirus outbreak and have been continually impressed by the innovative and varied projects that we have been able to help through the HPC Community Fund.

Through the Fund we have contributed to community events such as the Sedgemoor Playday, which is a fun, free day for children to enjoy and make friends and for people new to the area to meet their neighbours and make connections. I firmly believe that bringing communities closer together in a society where we are becoming a little more distant is critical to boost wellbeing.

Another cause close to my heart is improving mental health. We have funded the outreach work of the Samaritans of Taunton and Somerset at Foodbanks and Job Centres and this has made a huge difference to people’s lives when they were needed the most. In addition, the Fund has also supported peer support mental health projects such as Rusty Road to Recovery, who offer long-term support to build skills and confidence in life through training individuals to work on classic cars. The current pandemic has had a huge impact on many people’s mental health and I relish the opportunity to support community groups that offer vital help.

We have also been able to award grants from the HPC Community Fund to support local community infrastructure to increase safety. Repairing the Axbridge-Cheddar Cycle Walkway has meant residents and school children can now enjoy a safe route between the villages, away from the busy main road. During lockdown, this path has been used regularly as fewer people commuted by road, choosing instead to walk or use their bicycle.

In my experience, community groups know what is most needed in their community and just require a little bit of help. I take great satisfaction in assisting people with their applications, especially when they haven’t applied for grants before, and we know the process can sometimes be rather intimidating. If you’re interested in applying to the HPC Community Fund Small Grants Programme, or have an idea that you’d like to talk through, please get in touch with me. I can offer advice and support via email, ‘phone or a socially distanced tea or coffee.”

The Small Grants Programme can fund projects up to the value of £5,000 for groups with an annual turnover up to £100,000. There are regular application deadlines and decisions are made every 6-8 weeks. If you feel that the HPC Community Fund could be suitable for your group or project, please contact Peter Stolze on 01749 344949 or email: peter.stolze@somersetcf.org.uk for advice and support throughout the whole application process.

Although the country is no longer in full lockdown, our community groups continue to support those most in need. In 2018, Westfield United Reformed Church (URC) in Bridgwater was awarded a three-year grant for £226,400 from the Hinkley Point C (HPC) Community Fund, administered by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF).

The successful bid for funding supported their work in the community, including extensive renovation of their facilities to provide a refurbished hall and counselling rooms for their service users, works for which commenced in the autumn of 2019. Unfortunately, this was completed while the country was in complete lockdown, meaning they were initially unable to welcome back the 80 groups and countless members of the community that had used their facilities prior to the pandemic.

However, the church did not allow this small set back to prevent them from continuing to be active in the community, and they adapted their support accordingly. Jacky Bartholomew, Treasurer at Westfield URC explains: “Since lockdown in March, we’ve been able to carry out over 3,500 ‘acts of kindness’, such as ‘phone and IT contact, running errands, and other vital support for the elderly and those people unable to leave the house due to self-isolation or shielding, such as picking up shopping or prescriptions.

“We also provided Bank Holiday takeaway cream tea boxes from the hatch in our Street Cafe, one for VE Day, and one just to say, ‘Thinking of you,’ to over 180 people.”

Westfield have also been able to support children and young people in the area through their nature explorers’ programme. Jacky continues: “We managed to send out packs of different activities each week over a period of seven weeks, and we’ve put on online choir singalongs, picnics and even an online Olympics to help keep them amused and entertained.”

Between the end of March to mid-August, Westfield URC provided:

While restrictions may have eased and the country is no longer in full lockdown, Westfield URC are predicting that the needs in the community will increase over the coming weeks and months as furlough comes to an end and people in the community begin to feel the impact of job losses, evictions and recession.

Jacky adds: “The third year of funding from the HPC Community Fund grant will be used to support recruitment and ongoing costs for a Church Related Community Worker for the first year of their employment, to manage and support increased needs in our local community.

“Our continued work in the community during the current crisis has been described as being a lifeline for the homeless and those at risk of homelessness. We hope that our work with local supermarkets to provide free food will be just one way we can continue to help people when they need it most.”

The HPC Community Fund is part of a wider £20 million commitment of funding, provided by EDF through Section 106 agreements, for communities that are affected by the development of the new nuclear power station, to promote their social, economic and environmental wellbeing and enhance their quality of life.

If you run a local community project in Somerset and would like to find out more about grant funding from the HPC Community Fund please call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949 or visit: www.hpcfunds.co.uk

SCF is passionate about doing as much as possible to support our communities, and is encouraging local people, businesses, charitable trusts and organisations who feel able to donate to the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal here.

Wessex Water is providing more financial help for community groups in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Wessex Water Recovery Fund aims to strengthen communities following the Covid-19 outbreak, with an emphasis on local rather than national projects.

The fund is part of the new Wessex Water Foundation, a multi-million pound initiative which was launched in June and provides a dedicated funding stream for charitable and community projects across the Wessex Water region.

It is run in partnership with the Somerset, Wiltshire, Dorset and Quartet Community Foundations and has already been prioritising those worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Particular priority will be given to those groups that are working to:

• support people in financially difficult circumstances

• help build stronger communities

• support the green recovery with new initiatives

• restore and protect nature and wildlife for community health and wellbeing.

Kirsty Scarlett, Wessex Water’s Head of Community Engagement, said: “For this year only, as a response to the challenges faced by local communities, the Wessex Water Recovery Fund has been set up to provide support that will both address priority needs and help build resilience for the future.

“Applications for the fund will open with our four regional Community Foundation partners from Monday 5 October. We particularly welcome applications from BAME groups.

“The fund will close on Friday 4 December with decisions made at local community panels in January 2021.”

The Wessex Water Foundation has already supported a number of charitable projects:

Justin Sargent, CEO at Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) said: “We’re very pleased to continue our successful partnership with Wessex Water and delighted to administer the new Wessex Water Recovery Fund. From early October, local groups and organisations can apply to us for a grant from the Fund to continue their fantastic work supporting those most in need in our communities.

“Small, local charities are vital to Somerset’s social fabric and funding from partners like Wessex Water will help to continue to keep our communities strong.”

From April 2021 the Wessex Water Foundation plans to provide at least half a million pounds of funding every year to support community projects, local environment projects, debt advice and charities helping those who are suffering the consequences of poverty through low income or unemployment.

To find out more about the Wessex Water Foundation visit: www.wessexwater.co.uk/foundation

Community Foundations are local champions, connecting people and organisations that want to improve their communities. They invest in local people and organisations tackling some of the biggest issues facing communities today and supporting some of society’s most disadvantaged people. They provide help and advice to those who want to give at the heart of their communities, both now and in the long-term, by matching donors to important local causes.

Are you passionate about Somerset, with good local knowledge of Bridgwater and the wider Sedgemoor area, west Somerset, and Taunton? Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is looking for two enthusiastic individuals to volunteer as independent members on the Hinkley Point C (HPC) Community Fund Awards Panel.

The HPC Community Fund – managed by Somerset Community Foundation – has an annual budget of over £1m and is for those seeking support for projects and initiatives that will help to mitigate the impacts and increase the opportunities of the Hinkley Point C build in their community. It is part of a wider £20 million commitment of funding, provided by EDF through Section 106 agreements, for communities that are affected by the development of the nuclear power station, to promote their social, economic and environmental wellbeing and enhance their quality of life.

Justin Sargent, Chief Executive at SCF, said: “We’d be really interested to hear from anyone who knows Somerset well – particularly Bridgwater and the wider Sedgemoor area – and who can bring their life experience to support our grant-making. We are also interested in hearing from people with an interest and experience in dealing with environmental issues. This is a terrific opportunity for anyone who is committed to local communities, and achieving positive and lasting change.

“The successful candidate does not need experience of serving on a grants committee, as Somerset Community Foundation will provide training and guidance.”

The members of the panel will help to make decisions on applications to the Fund and should be able to commit for at least three years. 

To find out more about this exciting voluntary role, visit www.somersetcf.org.uk/about-us/vacancies or apply by sending your CV and a covering letter to: carolyn.phimister@somersetcf.org.uk or post to Carolyn Phimister, Somerset Community Foundation, Yeoman House, Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet BA4 6QN, to arrive by noon, Thursday 8 October. Applications received after this deadline will not be considered.

If you run a local community project in Somerset and would like to find out more about grant funding from the HPC Community Fund please visit: www.hpcfunds.co.uk or call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949.

If you are a grassroots community group based in Somerset, grants are available up to the value of £2,500 from The Somerset Fund. Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) manages the Fund and is encouraging applications from smaller charities and community groups that run on less than £100,000 per year. The grants will be ‘unrestricted’, which means they can be used to pay for ongoing running costs, also known as ‘core costs’. Applications to the Fund through SCF’s website can be made from Monday 14 September, 2020 and the deadline to apply is Friday 16 October 2020.

Laura Blake, Development Director at SCF explains: “We created The Somerset Fund to bring local businesses and families together to support small, local charities. The Fund offers a simple and rewarding way to give to good causes, with all donations matched by 50% thanks to funding from Somerset County Council. We’re hugely grateful to the local businesses and families who have chosen to give through The Somerset Fund so far.

“Thanks to our generous donors, since its launch in 2018, The Somerset Fund has already supported almost 30 good causes in the county, and awarded almost £27,000 in grants to local grassroots charities.”

1st Huntspill Scouts received a grant from The Somerset Fund in 2019 for £1,250 to help repair and re-clad their Scout Hut. Anita Williams, a volunteer for the group, told us: “Something that’s great about the Scouts is that children get to try things on their own. We make sure money is never a barrier to any child who wants to come along, so we’ll also try to fund places on camping trips for children if their parents can’t afford it, and kit them out with everything they need, because we know how beneficial it will be for them to take part.

“The way The Somerset Fund supporters have helped us is wonderful – it has really made such a difference to our hut.”

The Somerset Fund will support local people of all ages and a wide range of causes, including:

Leader of Somerset County Council David Fothergill said: “The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the wonderful work that grassroots charities and community groups do every day. Support is vital and donations will reach charities and groups who would otherwise struggle to raise funds of their own and for whom small grants make a huge difference.

“We know that businesses receive huge numbers of appeals from charities every year, and that they sadly can’t support every request. By donating directly to The Somerset Fund, businesses can be assured their donation is benefitting a wide range of charities and community groups and providing essential support in these challenging times.  We are so grateful to those who have donated.”

If you run a business and would like to find out more about giving through The Somerset Fund visit: https://www.somersetcf.org.uk/tsf call Laura Blake on the number below, or e-mail: laura.blake@somersetcf.org.uk

If you are involved in a local, grassroots community project and would like to find out more about how to apply for funding, please visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/somersetfund or call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949.

Any group wishing to apply for funding from the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal should visit the SCF website where they can find guidance on how to make an application: www.somersetcf.org.uk/coronavirus

SCF is passionate about doing as much as possible to support our communities, and is encouraging local people, businesses, charitable trusts and organisations who feel able to donate to the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal to visit the SCF website: www.somersetcf.org.uk/appeal or, if that isn’t possible, call 01749 344949.

Community Foundations are local champions, connecting people and organisations that want to improve their communities. They invest in local people and organisations tackling some of the biggest issues facing communities today and supporting some of society’s most disadvantaged people. They provide help and advice to those who want to give at the heart of their communities, both now and in the long-term, by matching donors to important local causes.

A recent survey has suggested that since the coronavirus pandemic started, more than 170,000 private tenants have been threatened with eviction by their landlord or letting agent, and an estimated 230,000 renters in England have fallen into arrears [source: Shelter]. Local charity, West Somerset Advice, fear that this will increase when the government lifts the ban on evicting tenants [written prior to 21/09/2020].

Based in Minehead and delivering their service across the west of Somerset, West Somerset Advice runs a housing advocacy project which was set up in response to increasing demand for housing advice. In 2018 they were awarded a 3-year grant for £108,923 from the Hinkley Point C (HPC) Community Fund, administered by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF).

In the last year, West Somerset Advice has provided specialist housing advice and support to 709 people in communities in west Somerset, with an additional 600 family members also benefiting. In the last 12 months the charity has seen an increase of more than 150% of welfare cases related to the affordability of renting.

With funding for the project now in its third year, Susan Clowes, Manager at West Somerset Advice explained: “Since the coronavirus outbreak we have had to redesign our service, so that we can now offer socially distanced advice.

“There is still a need to provide face-to-face services for people who are digitally excluded or too vulnerable to use the ‘phone, and, having set up our office to comply with government guidance, we’ve been able to offer limited face-to-face appointments  since August. And we’re currently working to find an alternative to our outreach sessions by using technology such as setting up a virtual waiting room that can be accessed from any PC, laptop or mobile phone, or from public computers in libraries for those facing digital exclusion.

“If our virtual waiting rooms are successful, they could be particularly beneficial for rural outreach during the pandemic.”

Since the pandemic, West Somerset Advice has also taken a key role in the provision of food to people who are shielding, working closely with Public Health and the Community Resilience team at County Hall, and making referrals that help to ensure the most vulnerable in our communities gain access to the right services.

Val Bishop, Programmes Director at Somerset Community Foundation adds: “One of the strengths of this project is the depth of outreach work it undertakes. There are 70 outreach sessions every three months and West Somerset Advice has reported that access to their services are more consistent where outreach sessions are provided.”

The HPC Community Fund is part of a wider £20 million commitment of funding, provided by EDF through Section 106 agreements, for communities that are affected by the development of the new nuclear power station, to promote their social, economic and environmental wellbeing and enhance their quality of life.

The most recent organisations to be awarded a grant from the HPC Community Fund are:

If you run a local community project in Somerset and would like to find out more about grant funding from the HPC Community Fund please visit: www.hpcfunds.co.uk or call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949.

SCF is passionate about doing as much as possible to support our communities, and is encouraging local people, businesses, charitable trusts and organisations who feel able to donate to the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal to visit the SCF website: www.somersetcf.org.uk/appeal

Last summer a school in Bridgwater made a significant difference to pupils and their families during the summer holidays. With three million children in the UK at risk of going hungry during the school holidays every year, ‘Holiday Hunger’ is a reality for many families. This year, the holidays will add even more pressure to an already difficult situation.

Somerset Bridge Primary School, in Bridgwater, received a grant of £1,652 from the Hinkley Point C (HPC) Community Fund, administered by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF), in 2019. The project’s aim was to combat ‘Holiday Hunger’ and support families by delivering a summer activity programme involving sports, healthy eating and crafts, providing activities and experiences the children would not otherwise have been able to access.

Friends of Somerset Bridge PTA works closely with the pastoral team at the school, raising funds to support pupils’ families, and assisting the pastoral team in providing extra services such as ‘Magic Breakfast’ and issuing vouchers for the foodbank. Shane Stevens, Chair and Trustee at Friends of Somerset Bridge PTA explains:

“The HPC Community Fund grant last year allowed the school to put on activities that helped the children develop strong relationships with members of staff, and positive relationships were also formed between the school and the pupils’ families. It gave the children a summer story to tell their friends about when they returned, and helped build their confidence.”

Shane continues: “The summer club provided breakfast and lunch alongside fun, interactive and educational activities including crafts and Forest School sessions, all for free. The children took part in the cooking of meals and learnt about nutrition and healthy eating.”

However, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, this year will look very different and the pressure on many families will only be magnified, compared to previous years. In March of this year, as the country went into lockdown, the number of families that relied on foodbanks more than doubled, with many foodbanks reporting a three-fold increase in demand. With schools now breaking up for summer, many of the children who would normally be at risk of holiday hunger may well already have received help from a foodbank, due to the current crisis.

Shane adds that this year, due to the pandemic, they are unable to run the summer club, although they are hoping the situation will allow them to run the club as usual in 2021.

The HPC Community Fund’s Small Grants Programme awards grants of up to £5,000, or up to £10,000 over three years for charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises that normally operate on less than £100,000 per year. It is an ongoing programme with decisions made every 6-8 weeks. To be considered for a grant at the next award meeting applications must be submitted by Friday 14 August. The next deadline following this will be Friday 25 September. To find out more about grant funding from the HPC Community Fund please visit Somerset Community Foundation: www.hpcfunds.co.uk or call them on: 01749 344949.

The HPC Community Fund is part of a wider £20 million commitment of funding, provided by EDF through Section 106 agreements, for communities that are affected by the development of the new nuclear power station, to promote their social, economic and environmental wellbeing and enhance their quality of life.

SCF is passionate about doing as much as possible to support our communities, and is encouraging local people, businesses, charitable trusts and organisations who feel able to donate to the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal by visiting the SCF website: www.somersetcf.org.uk/appeal

The Somerset Coronavirus Appeal, launched by local charity Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) in late March of this year, has grown to over £1 million [correct as at 29/07/2020] thanks to generous contributions made to the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal by local individuals, charitable trusts and businesses, as well as funding from the national appeal, run by The National Emergencies Trust (NET).

Donations to the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal are providing grants of up to £10,000 to groups delivering frontline support to help local communities recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak and reduce disadvantage. Grants of over £500,000 have already been awarded to more than 180 local good causes across the county, including food deliveries for older people, online counselling, activity packs for disadvantaged children and support for struggling families.

During the first ‘emergency’ phase of the appeal, the money raised was awarded to local charities and community organisations supporting those in most urgent need during the early days of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Justin Sargent, Chief Executive at SCF explains: “We’re absolutely delighted to have reached this significant milestone and have been humbled by the generosity of local people, businesses, and charitable trusts who have really united behind our communities here in Somerset.

“I am hearing regularly from charities on the frontline that the demand for their support continues to be huge at a time when many of them have lost fundraising income. Many also believe that they will see even greater demand in the months ahead as the long term impacts of the outbreak start to have an effect. We’ve set ourselves an ambitious goal of raising £1.5 million for Somerset so we can make a further £1 million of grants to see our communities through the tough times ahead.”

Any group wishing to apply for funding from the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal should visit the SCF website where they can find guidance on how to make an application: www.somersetcf.org.uk/coronavirus

SCF is passionate about doing as much as possible to support our communities, and is encouraging local people, businesses, charitable trusts and organisations who feel able to donate to the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal by visiting the SCF website: www.somersetcf.org.uk/appeal or, if that isn’t possible, call 01749 344949.

Community Foundations are local champions, connecting people and organisations that want to improve their communities. They invest in local people and organisations tackling some of the biggest issues facing communities today and supporting some of society’s most disadvantaged people. They provide help and advice to those who want to give at the heart of their communities, both now and in the long-term, by matching donors to important local causes.

Two years ago, St George’s Parish Centre in Wembdon, near Bridgwater, received a grant of £35,000 from the HPC Community Fund, administered by Somerset Community Foundation, to fund a new Centre Development Worker for three years. The project’s aim was to reduce isolation and provide emotional and practical support through various activities to bring the community closer. No-one could have predicted that in the middle of the project, the country would go into lockdown.

Liz Birch, Centre Development Worker, explained: “Alongside creating a community coffee shop, one of the many things I’ve been able to do is create social cookery classes within the Parish Centre kitchen, which became very popular in the short space of time we were able to run them. We had small groups of five people in any one class, and I created various recipes to suit different levels of knowledge. Once the meal was prepared, we all sat down together to eat and chat. Some of the people coming along had never cooked, however they soon learnt the basics which gave them the confidence to learn a little more. Three of my attendees heard about us from their local Village Agent and were looking for company as well as the chance to learn a new skill.”

But towards the end of March, the centre was forced to close due to the nationwide lockdown, in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Liz continued: “All our buildings closed – there was no coffee shop, and no cooking classes or community events.”

Liz then took the opportunity to creatively adapt her work in new ways to keep the community connected and support vulnerable neighbours through the coronavirus crisis.

“I joined the local Covid-19 volunteer group and have set up a Digital Café via Zoom for an hour every day, Monday to Friday. Anyone can come and say hi and have a chat, and it’s a great way of connecting the community and allowing anyone to take a space. We have around 10 – 12 people a day, and I’m hoping to open a takeaway café soon on a couple of days a week, using our outdoor tables. For those who aren’t online, we also have a regular conference call set up on the phone, which is a great way for older people to chat to others regularly and for us to check they are doing OK.

“I’ve also been networking with many local groups helping our communities, including a food resilience group, where local food manufacturers have donated food and this is distributed to people in need. I took a delivery of 300 meals this week through our local Village Agent which will be distributed to 30 – 40 different people over next week or two.

“Together, we’ve been making sure as many people as possible are being looked after in whatever capacity that means throughout the village. We’re increasingly concerned that more people will find themselves facing tough times when furlough comes to an end so we are ready for that additional demand.

“Many of the groups who use our Centre fall into the vulnerable category and so their returning is likely to be delayed, and opening up will only be viable when we are clear on the procedures we need to have in place to keep everyone safe.”

The HPC Community Fund is part of a wider £20 million commitment of funding, provided by EDF through Section 106 agreements, for communities that are affected by the development of the new nuclear power station, to promote their social, economic and environmental wellbeing and enhance their quality of life.

If you run a local community project in Somerset and would like to find out more about grant funding from the HPC Community Fund please call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949 or visit: www.hpcfunds.co.uk

The Somerset Coronavirus Appeal, launched by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF), is offering funding of up to £10,000 to local charities and community organisations delivering frontline work that will help communities recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

The first phase of the appeal has already seen grants of almost £500,000 being awarded to more than 170 local good causes across the county, including food deliveries for older people, online counselling, activity packs for disadvantaged children and support for struggling families. 

Justin Sargent, Chief Executive at SCF explains: “Since the lockdown started, we have seen an incredible response from charities, community groups and volunteers who have worked tirelessly and collaboratively to ensure our neighbours were cared for and supported. Groups have created new services and adapted existing services to continue supporting those in need online or by phone.

“But we know many groups are facing a combination of increased demand for support, alongside losing income due to coronavirus. This next phase of funding will focus on helping local groups respond to the changing needs in their communities and supporting their financial resilience so they can continue their work over the next year and beyond. Our communities will need them more than ever in the years to come as we recover from the wide-ranging impacts of coronavirus.”

Any groups wishing to apply should visit the SCF website where they can find guidance on how to make an application: www.somersetcf.org.uk/coronavirus

The funding has been made available thanks to generous contributions made to the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal by local individuals, charitable trusts and businesses, as well as funding from the national appeal, run by The National Emergencies Trust (NET). The Somerset Coronavirus Appeal, which was first launched on Thursday 19 March, now stands at £850,000 [amount correct as at 09/07/2020]. The charity aims to raise a total of £1.5m through the appeal.

Yeovil Community Meals Service received a grant from the Appeal to help them hire an extra chef and driver so they can help more people in need.

Penny Mitchell from the charity said: “Almost overnight, we’ve had to increase our meal deliveries by about 50% due to increased demand. Many older people we deliver to are in their 80s and 90s, usually looked after by family members who now aren’t able to travel or have their own health issues. Some have been discharged from hospital and aren’t able to cook for themselves. The care system is also experiencing staff shortages which impacts those we help as their carers can’t come in and cook for them as they normally would.

“The funding from SCF has been brilliant. It means we haven’t had to increase the prices of our meals and break into our reserves, which is important as we know that the need for this expanded service will be long-term. 

“I honestly don’t know how people would cope if we weren’t there – we’re the only hot, fresh meal many older people get. We’re proud that every person we support receives a meal that is personal to them and made with love and care.”

SCF is passionate about doing as much as possible to support our communities, and is encouraging local people, businesses, charitable trusts and organisations who feel able to donate to the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal by visiting the SCF website: www.somersetcf.org.uk/appeal

Community Foundations are local champions, connecting people and organisations that want to improve their communities. They invest in local people and organisations tackling some of the biggest issues facing communities today and supporting some of society’s most disadvantaged people. They provide help and advice to those who want to give at the heart of their communities, both now and in the long-term, by matching donors to important local causes.

The new Wessex Water Foundation, a multi-million pound initiative launched by Somerset’s water and sewerage company, will focus on supporting people hit hardest by the Covid-19 crisis in its first year.

The Foundation is providing dedicated funding for projects across the Wessex Water region in partnership with Somerset Community Foundation, as well as Wiltshire, Dorset and Quartet Community Foundations, and is already prioritising those worst affected by the pandemic.

And from 2021 the Wessex Water Foundation will provide at least half a million pounds of funding every year to support community projects, debt advice and charities dealing with those suffering the consequences of poverty through poor mental and physical health, hunger, housing or unemployment.

Region-wide emergency funding will be awarded to groups on the frontline, including charities and foodbanks, while the Wessex Water Recovery Fund opens for local applications later this year to help respond to the challenging economic situation.

Wessex Water will also continue to fund local environmental projects, supporting the ambition to rebuild communities with new green infrastructure.

Colin Skellett, Wessex Water’s CEO, said: “We’re thrilled to be able to launch the Wessex Water Foundation alongside our friends in the community foundations in our patch.

“Being at the heart of the communities we serve is nothing new for us, but the Wessex Water Foundation is a new way of making sure we’re helping the people who need it most.

“It’s been an incredibly tough time for everyone in our region and supporting emergency coronavirus response projects is a fitting place to start.”

Justin Sargent, CEO at Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) added: “We’re delighted to continue our successful partnership with Wessex Water and would like to thank them for their support. Their initial contribution to our Somerset Coronavirus Appeal will be swiftly awarded to local groups and organisations, helping them to continue their good work on the front line, supporting those most in need in our communities.”

SCF recently launched the next phase of their Somerset Coronavirus Appeal in a bid to raise £1.5m for communities across the Somerset.

Justin continued: “In the three months since our appeal was first launched [mid-March 2020], thanks to the incredible support of local donors like Wessex Water and the National Emergencies Trust, it has raised more than £800,000 for Somerset. Those donations have meant that so far, grants worth £450,000 have been awarded to over 160 charitable groups across the county, with more being awarded every week.

“We believe that if we can reach our target and award £1.5m in grants we can help our local charities and community groups to weather the financial storm they’re facing now and in the future. The impact of coronavirus on our communities won’t end when lockdown is lifted. Life will be even tougher for those who are already disadvantaged.

“Small, local charities are vital to Somerset’s social fabric and funding from partners like Wessex Water will help tackle this disadvantage and keep our communities strong.”

Rosemary Macdonald, interim CEO of UK Community Foundations, said: “We at UKCF would like to thank Wessex Water Foundation for all their help with the emergency coronavirus appeal.

“It is great to see the Community Foundations in the Wessex region come together and work so successfully with one of our key employers. The Somerset, Wiltshire, Dorset and Quartet Foundations are working hard to distribute the funding provided by the Wessex Water Foundation to those most affected by Covid-19.

“It’s wonderful to see such a great partnership helping those in need at this challenging time.”

For nearly three decades Wessex Water has been working with the wider community to help local causes and projects, both through volunteering and various funding projects.

To find out more about the Wessex Water Foundation visit wessexwater.co.uk/community

Will you help Somerset Community Foundation raise £1.5m to support our local charities? If you are able, please consider making a donation today, so they can continue to provide funding to help local charities and community groups recover from the financial impacts of coronavirus and ensure they can carry on supporting those in need in the future.

To donate to the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal visit www.somersetcf.org.uk/appeal or, if that isn’t possible, call 01749 344949. To support the national appeal, please visit: www.nationalemergenciestrust.org.uk/coronavirus

Community Foundations help passionate people to change the world on their doorstep. In partnership with local donors, they provide funding and support to help reduce disadvantage and build strong communities.   

Somerset Skills Bank, run by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) in partnership with Spark Somerset, is an exciting initiative that aims to encourage volunteers to donate their time and expert skills to support local charities. If you’re looking to develop new skills and experience, or have recently been furloughed and would like to use your free time to volunteer in Somerset, this could be just what you’re looking for.

Laura Blake, Development Director at SCF explains: “Research has shown that volunteering can deliver many benefits, including improved physical and mental health.

“If you have specialist skills and would like to use them to support a good cause, we can match you to the right volunteering opportunity and make it easy and rewarding for you to give back. Whether you’re an HR professional, marketing specialist or IT guru, there are lots of charities in Somerset that can benefit hugely from your time and skills.”

To sign up to volunteer in Somerset visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/skillsbank and click through to fill in the simple online form and the team will be in touch to match you to a local charity.

If you have any queries you can contact SCF by email at: info@somersetcf.org.uk or, if that isn’t possible, you can call: 01749 344949.

 

Community Foundations are local champions, connecting people and organisations that want to improve their communities. They invest in local people and organisations tackling some of the biggest issues facing communities today and supporting some of society’s most disadvantaged people. They provide help and advice to those who want to give at the heart of their communities, both now and in the long-term, by matching donors to important local causes. Last year SCF provided funding of £2.6m to almost 300 projects across the county, supporting 40,000 people.

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is launching the next phase of their Somerset Coronavirus Appeal today, in a bid to raise £1.5m for our communities across the county.

In the three months since the appeal was first launched [mid-March 2020], thanks to the incredible support of local donors and the National Emergencies Trust, the appeal has raised more than £800,000 for Somerset. Those donations have meant that so far, grants worth £450,000 have been awarded to over 160 charitable groups across the county, with more being awarded every week. 

Laura Blake, Development Director at SCF explains: “Since the coronavirus outbreak, thousands of charity staff and volunteers have been working around the clock to create new services, transforming the way they work and scaling up to meet a surge in demand, all with an extremely quick turnaround. Their determination and hard work means that our most vulnerable and disadvantaged neighbours have been cared for and supported through these difficult times.

“But charities are now in an incredibly difficult position. At the same time as the usual fundraising events like dinners, sky dives and fun runs have been cancelled, the demand for their services has grown substantially. We know there’s a risk many of them will not survive without additional funding.”

Funds from the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal have already made a huge impact, helping local charitable groups and volunteers respond to urgent needs in light of the pandemic. Somerset Community Foundation, a charity itself, was able to rapidly raise and distribute funds within a matter of days, and has made six months’ worth of grants in just 10 weeks. Donations have funded a wide range of front-line projects such as food banks, help for the elderly, support for people with disabilities and projects supporting disadvantaged young people.

Laura continues: “We believe that if we can reach our target and award £1.5m in grants we, alongside other national funders, can help our local charities and community groups to weather the financial storm they’re facing now and in the future. The impact of coronavirus on our communities won’t end when lockdown is lifted. Life will be even tougher for those who are already disadvantaged.

“Small, local charities are vital to Somerset’s social fabric and we need them more than ever to help tackle this disadvantage and keep our communities strong.”

Will you help Somerset Community Foundation raise £1.5m to support our local charities? If you are able, please consider making a donation today, so they can continue to provide funding to help local charities and community groups recover from the financial impacts of coronavirus and ensure they can carry on supporting those in need in the future.

To donate to the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal visit www.somersetcf.org.uk/appeal or, if that isn’t possible, call 01749 344949. To support the national appeal, please visit: www.nationalemergenciestrust.org.uk/coronavirus

Community Foundations help passionate people to change the world on their doorstep. In partnership with local donors, they provide funding and support to help reduce disadvantage and build strong communities.   

The past few months have been tough for everyone, including our team, who have been working really hard to support groups, volunteers and communities through this challenging time. As a charity that promotes community health and wellbeing, we’ve decided to practice what we preach.

On Thursday 18 and Friday 19 June, we will be closing down to give our staff team a well-earned break and the chance to recharge our batteries.

We’ll be back on Monday 22 June – raring to go! Thank you for your support and understanding.

A job club based in Taunton has, against the odds in these unprecedented times, continued to provide vital support and advice for unemployed and vulnerable people living in Taunton and the surrounding area since the coronavirus outbreak.

Bettina Walker, Project Manager at Work-Wise, explained: “In March 2018 we were awarded an 18-month HPC Community Fund grant from Somerset Community Foundation for £4,833 which enabled us to buy equipment and – crucially – meant that I was able to work an additional three hours every week, which has been absolutely invaluable to help with the development of the charity.

“Since the lockdown I’ve been keeping in regular contact with our service users over the phone. The club normally offers a range support to those who may find it difficult to get into employment – but especially those who find IT, communications and writing a challenge. The only device many of our regular users have is a mobile phone, and filling in complex online forms can be difficult, so we’ve updated their CVs on Indeed (a job search website) which makes it easier for them to apply for jobs online.”

Since the coronavirus pandemic one of the Work-Wise service users has found a job working for Boots, delivering prescriptions to vulnerable members of the community and those who are shielding, and another is volunteering at the Salvation Army, making sandwiches for food parcels for local people in need.

A service user who first attended Work-Wise in the summer of 2018 said: “Work-Wise helped me with constructive suggestions about my CV, gave me advice about job-seeking and – most of all – gave me encouragement when I was becoming quite downhearted and despondent about not having a job. They encouraged me to volunteer one day a week, and from there I found temporary, part-time work at a local hospice, before successfully applying for the full-time post there. It’s such a huge relief to be employed again.”

Work-Wise used the hall at Taunton United Reformed Church for their weekly meetings, and Bettina goes on to say: “We’re delighted to have been recently awarded a new, three-year grant from the HPC Community Fund for £39,345 to enable us to provide a weekly Work-Wise session at Westfield United Reformed Church in Bridgwater, once it’s possible to do so. 

In Taunton, we’re talking with the church to see if we can extend the area we use for the club meetings, from the hall and into the church itself; we’re looking at a new layout so that as soon as we start up again we’ll be operating in a COVID-secure manner.

“In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak there are a lot of new claimants who may need our help in the very near future. We want to make sure we’re there for them.”

If you’re a job seeker in Somerset West and Taunton, and need help, support or advice, you can contact the Work-Wise Helpline on: 01823 325030 or for more information, visit: www.workwise-taunton.org.uk

The HPC Community Fund is part of a wider £20 million commitment of funding, provided by EDF through Section 106 agreements, for communities that are affected by the development of the new nuclear power station, to promote their social, economic and environmental wellbeing and enhance their quality of life.

If you run a local community project in Somerset and would like to find out more about grant funding from the HPC Community Fund please call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949 or visit: www.hpcfunds.co.uk

Message from Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset

 

One of the best things about being Lord-Lieutenant is being involved with our community foundations and, through them, with our charities, both large and small, 

and the people who work with them many of whom are volunteers. It has been a constant learning curve and an uplifting reminder of the power of individuals who with great compassion and ingenuity, make crucial contributions to community life continuously.

At the moment, through this crisis, all of these initiatives become even more indispensable but, also, more stretched and vulnerable to lack of financial support. I am so pleased, therefore, that the community foundation is able to contribute and to mitigate this difficulty somewhat. 

I know how hard people are working, often voluntarily, and how this often requires risk taking and a disregard for some personal safety and well-being. This is done with boundless generosity and self sacrifice so that those being cared for or helped, do not lose out.  How can one thank these charities and those who work within them, adequately, for this undertaking?

I have, myself, been asked by my doctor to continue shielding for another month at least because of my own health. This gives me some insight into the isolation and loneliness which some people in our towns and villages are experiencing. But this is just one of the problems which is besetting our communities at the moment. It is, though, one which I know about from first hand experience. 

My thanks to those who are assisting vulnerable people who are living alone is extended to all the other activities which are making life across the county run smoothly for so many of us, at the moment. 

A message of this sort is hardly worthy of this gratitude but it is, nonetheless, very sincere.  It is sent on behalf of us all, the people of Somerset. In addition, it also comes from Her Majesty and other members of the Royal Family because I represent them in our county.

Thank you all so very much.

 

 

 

Annie Maw

Somerset cricket legend Marcus Trescothick has featured in a new video promoting Mindline Somerset, a confidential listening service with a 24-hour telephone service to give emotional support and counselling to anyone in need and help them find further support. The service is one of many local mental health projects funded by Somerset Community Foundation’s (SCF) Somerset Coronavirus Appeal.

Marcus said: “I’ve made no secret of the struggles I’ve had with my mental health over the years, and it’s important that people know there is someone to talk to when things get tough. We all have difficult days, but the support is out there, just a phone call away.  I’m really pleased to support this important initiative to help stop people suffering in silence”

The video also features staff, volunteers and service users from other local charities who are all working to provide mental health support in Somerset, in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. The other ‘talking heads’ featured in the film are from:

Justin Sargent, Chief Executive at SCF said: “We’re hugely grateful to Marcus for helping us raise awareness of Mindline Somerset. We’re also very thankful to our supporters across Somerset. Their donations have enabled us to provide funding to many local mental health projects – including Mindline – from our Somerset Coronavirus Appeal. Their generosity has been truly humbling.”

The video can be viewed via Somerset Community Foundation’s Vimeo channel, at the bottom of this page.

The Somerset Coronavirus Appeal currently stands at £700,000 and over £400,000 has been awarded in grants to 150 local charities and community groups in Somerset since it was launched in mid-March [correct as at 01/06/2020]. Funds have been used to support a range of good causes including food banks, support for people with disabilities, help for the elderly and projects supporting disadvantaged young people.

Somerset Community Foundation is a local charity that works together with donors to provide funding and support to reduce disadvantage and build stronger communities. Last year SCF provided funding of £2.6m to almost 300 projects across the county, supporting 40,000 people. The charity is appealing to local people, if they feel able, to pledge their support the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal so it can continue to provide funding to help local charities and community groups recover from the financial impacts of coronavirus and ensure they can continue supporting those in need in the future.

To donate to the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal visit www.somersetcf.org.uk/appeal or, if that isn’t possible, call 01749 344949. To support the national appeal, please visit: www.nationalemergenciestrust.org.uk/coronavirus

Charities, community groups and volunteer groups can apply for funding of up to £10,000 from the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal. To apply for funding visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/coronavirus

To speak to someone confidentially 24/7, call Mindline Somerset on 01823 276892

If you have any queries you can contact SCF by email at: info@somersetcf.org.uk or, if that isn’t possible, you can call: 01749 344949.

Community Foundations are local champions, connecting people and organisations that want to improve their communities. They invest in local people and organisations tackling some of the biggest issues facing communities today and supporting some of society’s most disadvantaged people. They provide help and advice to those who want to give at the heart of their communities, both now and in the long-term, by matching donors to important local causes.

BLOG POST

By Justin Sargent, Chief Executive

A couple of weeks ago Sir Stephen Bubb, Director of the Oxford Institute of Charities, wrote an article in The Times outlining how the coronavirus crisis had “exposed the weaknesses of too many charities”.

I have to say, that doesn’t reflect what we are seeing here at Somerset Community Foundation, but perhaps it is an understandable perception, given the nature of the national press coverage charities have received during the past few weeks. All we seem to have heard is either how much money is being lost by charities, as fundraising has largely collapsed or been diverted to the NHS, or how the largest charities have furloughed thousands of staff and withdrawn services.

What has been absent in the press – at least nationally – has been decent coverage of the response by the vast majority of smaller, local charities. These are not organisations that are immune to the loss of fundraising, but, by and large, we’ve seen them step up to meet the rising demand for their services. Their reserves of hope and commitment for their communities are not always matched by their financial reserves and I know many are concerned about the impacts of coronavirus on their long-term futures.

Some may feel that there are too many charities, that there is too much duplication and inefficiency. The sector, like others, can be a bit messy and untidy. I can tell you, as a funder, it can sometimes be frustrating, and to some extent I would agree there is an issue to be addressed, but the issue is far more complex than it first appears. For example, as NPC reported earlier in the year perhaps we should focus on where those charities are and which communities they serve; contrary to what we might expect there are fewer registered charities in the most deprived communities than in the most affluent areas.

However, on the whole – and this is the bit you tend not to hear about – local charities are run by passionate, compassionate, big-hearted, committed, collaborative, generous and thoughtful people. What they do is little short of a miracle, sometimes.

Like a lot of small businesses, small charities see their role as being local – they don’t want to or need to scale up, or merge, and if they did they would risk losing the essence of what they are and how they do it. The current crisis has shown that vulnerability and disadvantage is not solely found in inner city estates. People in every community need a helping hand, and there are people in every community who are happy to lend a hand.

It is worth reflecting on the wide range of services provided by our local charities and community organisations that has prevented thousands of people becoming more vulnerable in the past eight weeks. So here is a list of people that our Coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund has supported:

• children and adults with mental health illnesses
• children and young people living in poverty
• children and young people with autism
• ‘detached’ young people
• families with new-born children
• former service personnel affected by trauma
• fostered children and their adoptive families
• people in financial hardship and food poverty
• people in need of end-of-life care
• people who are hungry
• people who are lonely or isolated
• people with long term health issues and disabilities
• women affected by, or at risk of, domestic abuse and violence
• young farmers with mental health needs

By and large these services are always there, quietly going on in the background of our communities. We couldn’t have lived without them – or the many thousands of staff and volunteers – in the past eight weeks, without increasing the level of suffering in our communities and the burden on our public services. But the same is true every day of every year.

The voluntary ethos that runs through these organisations often means it is very tempting to see them as ‘nice to have’ compared to statutory services. I think what we are seeing is how, in the words used by a Government minister recently, they are the lifeblood of our communities.

‘Nice to have’ does not come close. They are essential. If you don’t believe me, just think about how life would have been for all of us in Somerset if the community support provided by our local groups had not been available in the past few weeks.

And that is why we should all be concerned about the impact of coronavirus on our local voluntary sector. We must work together as funders, donors and statutory bodies to support and fund the sector if we want it to survive.

As we all slowly move towards something that resembles a normal, albeit different, way of living, at Somerset Community Foundation we are looking at the task in front of us. Our local charities, community organisations and social enterprises have stood by us when our communities needed them; now we must stand by them.

By Justin Sargent, Chief Executive

A couple of weeks ago Sir Stephen Bubb, Director of the Oxford Institute of Charities, wrote an article in The Times outlining how the coronavirus crisis had “exposed the weaknesses of too many charities”.

I have to say, that doesn’t reflect what we are seeing here at Somerset Community Foundation, but perhaps it is an understandable perception, given the nature of the national press coverage charities have received during the past few weeks. All we seem to have heard is either how much money is being lost by charities, as fundraising has largely collapsed or been diverted to the NHS, or how the largest charities have furloughed thousands of staff and withdrawn services.

What has been absent in the press – at least nationally – has been decent coverage of the response by the vast majority of smaller, local charities. These are not organisations that are immune to the loss of fundraising, but, by and large, we’ve seen them step up to meet the rising demand for their services. Their reserves of hope and commitment for their communities are not always matched by their financial reserves and I know many are concerned about the impacts of coronavirus on their long-term futures.

Some may feel that there are too many charities, that there is too much duplication and inefficiency. The sector, like others, can be a bit messy and untidy. I can tell you, as a funder, it can sometimes be frustrating, and to some extent I would agree there is an issue to be addressed, but the issue is far more complex than it first appears. For example, as NPC reported earlier in the year perhaps we should focus on where those charities are and which communities they serve; contrary to what we might expect there are fewer registered charities in the most deprived communities than in the most affluent areas.

However, on the whole – and this is the bit you tend not to hear about – local charities are run by passionate, compassionate, big-hearted, committed, collaborative, generous and thoughtful people. What they do is little short of a miracle, sometimes.

Like a lot of small businesses, small charities see their role as being local – they don’t want to or need to scale up, or merge, and if they did they would risk losing the essence of what they are and how they do it. The current crisis has shown that vulnerability and disadvantage is not solely found in inner city estates. People in every community need a helping hand, and there are people in every community who are happy to lend a hand.

It is worth reflecting on the wide range of services provided by our local charities and community organisations that has prevented thousands of people becoming more vulnerable in the past eight weeks. So here is a list of people that our Coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund has supported:

• children and adults with mental health illnesses
• children and young people living in poverty
• children and young people with autism
• ‘detached’ young people
• families with new-born children
• former service personnel affected by trauma
• fostered children and their adoptive families
• people in financial hardship and food poverty
• people in need of end-of-life care
• people who are hungry
• people who are lonely or isolated
• people with long term health issues and disabilities
• women affected by, or at risk of, domestic abuse and violence
• young farmers with mental health needs

By and large these services are always there, quietly going on in the background of our communities. We couldn’t have lived without them – or the many thousands of staff and volunteers – in the past eight weeks, without increasing the level of suffering in our communities and the burden on our public services. But the same is true every day of every year.

The voluntary ethos that runs through these organisations often means it is very tempting to see them as ‘nice to have’ compared to statutory services. I think what we are seeing is how, in the words used by a Government minister recently, they are the lifeblood of our communities.

‘Nice to have’ does not come close. They are essential. If you don’t believe me, just think about how life would have been for all of us in Somerset if the community support provided by our local groups had not been available in the past few weeks.

And that is why we should all be concerned about the impact of coronavirus on our local voluntary sector. We must work together as funders, donors and statutory bodies to support and fund the sector if we want it to survive.

As we all slowly move towards something that resembles a normal, albeit different, way of living, at Somerset Community Foundation we are looking at the task in front of us. Our local charities, community organisations and social enterprises have stood by us when our communities needed them; now we must stand by them.

Two community groups based in Somerset have been helping people with disabilities adapt to a new way of life since the coronavirus outbreak, thanks to grants awarded from the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal, which was set up by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) in response to the current crisis.

Nova Sports and Coaching are using a £3,000 grant from SCF to deliver free Sports Care Packages to Somerset families who have a disabled child, helping them to remain active while staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Alex Johnson, Director at the organisation, explained: “Many families with disabled children are staying home for 3 months as recommended by the government. We want to provide them with more ways to have fun and keep active with sports equipment packages we personally deliver to them safely at home. Families can create their own packages from our extensive list of items, or for children with more complex sensory or physical needs, a professional can make a referral so we can create a bespoke package for them.

“Items include standard sports equipment like tennis rackets and footballs, as well as sensory equipment like flexi rings and adapted equipment like nest balls and beach balls.”

One parent, Alison from Frome, said of the packages: “Thanks so much for Ettie’s delivery today. She was so excited when she saw your van arrive and drove straight out to get her package. We will have a lot of fun with those treats.”

Allison Ward, from Autism Somerset, explained how a £10,000 grant from the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal is helping them to move their services online: “We’re providing anxiety strategies and support for individuals and families, carers and professionals either with ASD, autistic traits or mental health needs, or those who are working or caring for someone with those needs.

“The funding will go towards the cost of resources and for our trainers who will deliver autism, anxiety & relaxation sessions online, as well as delivering live autism strategy workshops, relaxation sessions and one-to-one coaching sessions. Fortnightly newsletters are keeping subscribers up to date.”

The Somerset Coronavirus Appeal has grown to over £660,000 in the two months since its launch on Thursday 19 March [correct as at 21/05/2020].

The appeal is raising money to fund local charities and community organisations supporting those in most urgent need during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and donations have come from local individuals, charitable trusts and businesses.

£330,000 of grants have now been awarded to almost 140 groups across the county, including foodbanks and food delivery schemes, support services for older people, and virtual counselling, with more funding going out every week.

Grants of up to £10,000 are available for local charities, community organisations and volunteer groups helping those in most urgent need during the coronavirus outbreak, and SCF pledges to award funding within three working days.  Any groups wishing to apply should visit the SCF website, where they can complete a short, simple application form: www.somersetcf.org.uk/coronavirus  

SCF is passionate about doing as much as possible to support our communities, and is encouraging local people, businesses, charitable trusts and organisations who feel able to donate to the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal by visiting the SCF website: www.somersetcf.org.uk/appeal or, if that isn’t possible, call 01749 344949.

To support the national NET appeal, please visit: www.nationalemergenciestrust.org.uk/coronavirus

If you have any queries you can contact SCF by email at: info@somersetcf.org.uk or, if that isn’t possible, you can call: 01749 344949.

Community Foundations are local champions, connecting people and organisations that want to improve their communities. They invest in local people and organisations tackling some of the biggest issues facing communities today and supporting some of society’s most disadvantaged people. They provide help and advice to those who want to give at the heart of their communities, both now and in the long-term, by matching donors to important local causes.

Community groups and volunteers across Somerset have been lending their time and expertise to the fight against coronavirus by helping local NHS staff and health workers. The groups have received a welcome boost to their work thanks to donations to the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal, which was set up by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) in response to the current crisis.

Two of those community groups are voluntary group Taunton Scrubbers and social enterprise On Your Bike.

Susan McDonnell, the founder of voluntary group Taunton Scrubbers, tells us how a £2,500 grant from the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal is helping to support local NHS staff and community health workers: “From something that started with just me, making sets of scrubs in my living room, we now have around 700 volunteers making up to 600 sets of scrubs a day. There’s an enormous demand from all types of community health workers, including Somerset NHS Trust, hospitals, GPs, care homes, and mental health units. We have around 1,000 volunteer members now: our youngest is 6 years old and our oldest is 91. I’d say we’ve made around 2,000 sets of scrubs so far.

“We’ve bought much-needed fabric with the money from the grant. The Somerset Coronavirus Appeal grant from Somerset Community Foundation has made an enormous difference – it’s been just fantastic.”

Roger Habgood, Chair at On Your Bike, explained how a £2,750 grant from the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal is helping local NHS staff to get to work safely: “We’ve created a new scheme offering NHS workers free bike hire and all the kit they need to stay safe; a helmet, lights, and high-vis jacket. The response from the public has been fantastic: we’ve had over 100 donated bikes in the last four weeks which we’ll be able to refurbish and give out to NHS workers.

“For the NHS workers, riding one of our bikes to work means they no longer have to rely on public transport. This is particularly important when they are working shifts when public transport may not be available.”

The Somerset Coronavirus Appeal has grown to over £615,000 since its launch on Thursday 19 March [correct as at 07/05/2020].

The appeal is raising money to fund local charities and community organisations supporting those in most urgent need during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and donations have come from local individuals, charitable trusts and businesses.

Nearly £300,000 of grants have now been awarded to almost 130 groups across the county, including foodbanks and food delivery schemes, support services for older people, and virtual counselling, with more funding going out every week.

Grants of up to £10,000 are available for local charities, community organisations and volunteer groups helping those in most urgent need during the coronavirus outbreak, and SCF pledges to award funding within three working days.  Any groups wishing to apply should visit the SCF website, where they can complete a short, simple application form: www.somersetcf.org.uk/coronavirus  

SCF is passionate about doing as much as possible to support our communities, and is encouraging local people, businesses, charitable trusts and organisations who feel able to donate to the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal by visiting the SCF website: www.somersetcf.org.uk/appeal or, if that isn’t possible, call 01749 344949.

To support the national NET appeal, please visit: www.nationalemergenciestrust.org.uk/coronavirus

If you have any queries you can contact SCF by email at: info@somersetcf.org.uk or, if that isn’t possible, you can call: 01749 344949.

Community Foundations are local champions, connecting people and organisations that want to improve their communities. They invest in local people and organisations tackling some of the biggest issues facing communities today and supporting some of society’s most disadvantaged people. They provide help and advice to those who want to give at the heart of their communities, both now and in the long-term, by matching donors to important local causes.

A grant from the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal has funded a children’s Lockdown Activity Pack, which has become a hit across the UK and beyond.

Lucinda Spelman-Ives, Chair of Trustees at Wilstockhub, applied for the funding with the idea of helping local children, and a total of 290 packs were made up by Lucinda and the WilstockHub team. In early April the first packs were delivered to vulnerable children via their Housing Association, before the packs became more widely available.

Lucinda said: “The packs contained a Keepsake Lockdown 2020 activity book, colouring pencils, drawing sheets, a packet of wildflower seeds and a puzzle. There was a lot of interest in the Keepsake Lockdown 2020 activity book, so I produced a bigger version with plenty of activities and more space for children to write down their feelings, to help their mental wellness and reflect on how they are managing personally.” Lucinda added that when the children are older they can look back at the book and see that they were part of history in the making.

The book is free to download at: www.wilstockhub.com and there have been downloads across the UK from Cornwall to Scotland – and Lucinda has even been contacted by someone in California, USA, who was interested in the book.

Lucinda continued: “I can’t express how elated I feel with how the book has taken off. We’re very grateful to Somerset Community Foundation for awarding the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal grant, and allowing an idea to be put into action. It’s helped thousands of children and made them very happy in these hard times.”

Lucinda wrote the book, and her granddaughter, 13-year-old Grace Champion, provided all the illustrations.

The Somerset Coronavirus Appeal, managed by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF), has grown to over £565,000 since its launch on Thursday 19 March [correct as at 29/04/2020].

The appeal is raising money to fund local charities and community organisations supporting those in most urgent need during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and donations have come from local individuals, charitable trusts and businesses.

Over £275,000 of grants have now been awarded to more than 110 groups across the county, including foodbanks and food delivery schemes, support services for older people, and virtual counselling, with more funding going out every week.

Grants of up to £10,000 are available for local charities, community organisations and volunteer groups helping those in most urgent need during the coronavirus outbreak, and SCF pledges to award funding within three working days.  Any groups wishing to apply should visit the SCF website, where they can complete a short, simple application form: www.somersetcf.org.uk/coronavirus  

SCF is passionate about doing as much as possible to support our communities, and is encouraging local people, businesses, charitable trusts and organisations who feel able to donate to the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal by visiting the SCF website: www.somersetcf.org.uk/appeal or, if that isn’t possible, call 01749 344949.

To support the national NET appeal, please visit: www.nationalemergenciestrust.org.uk/coronavirus

If you have any queries you can contact SCF by email at: info@somersetcf.org.uk or, if that isn’t possible, you can call: 01749 344949.

Community Foundations are local champions, connecting people and organisations that want to improve their communities. They invest in local people and organisations tackling some of the biggest issues facing communities today and supporting some of society’s most disadvantaged people. They provide help and advice to those who want to give at the heart of their communities, both now and in the long-term, by matching donors to important local causes.

Bridgwater Together, an annual event celebrating the Somerset town’s vibrant cultural diversity through music, food, storytelling, dance, film and information sharing, recently took place online. Rather than cancelling or postponing the event, the organisers, supported by Somerset Diverse Communities (part of Community Council for Somerset (CCS)), found a creative way to host the event using the video conferencing platform Zoom, and audiences logged on to enjoy presentations and performances from the representatives of minority communities living in Bridgwater.

Michal Puzynski, BME Community Engagement Worker at CCS, explained how the team used existing funding from the Hinkley Point C Community Fund, a grants programme managed by Somerset Community Foundation, in a new and innovative way to ensure communities were still able to connect – even when they couldn’t be together.

“Due to the coronavirus outbreak, many concerts, festivals and other events that bring people together have been cancelled or rescheduled. However, we’re doing our best to adapt our activities to the current situation.

“The event was made possible thanks to the support of Somerset Film, Hidden Voices, Diversity Voice, Bridgwater Town Council and the unions TUC and UNITE, as well as part of a grant for £170,747, which is being awarded to CCS over three years from the HPC Community Fund, for which we are very grateful.

“We are aiming to minimise the impact of coronavirus on people’s mental health by bringing people together to reduce the feelings of isolation that many are struggling with right now. The grant has enabled us to adapt our work to the current situation so that we have been able to do that.”

Val Bishop, Programmes Director at Somerset Community Foundation added: “We are delighted that despite the difficult circumstances, organisations and projects funded by the HPC Community Fund such as Somerset Diverse Communities are able to continue to build connections in Bridgwater and beyond, through inventive and creative ways such as this.”

Jinny Uppington from CCS agreed: “It went brilliantly on Saturday night!  Michal did an amazing job and managed to capture a real sense of community spirit, even online. In these current times we need to find different ways of coming together and this event really achieved that.”

Highlights from the programme of events included Alisa from Serbia, who presented a fascinating interview with her sister about what it meant to be Serbian living in the UK, and there was a wonderful film from a group of Polish children highlighting how important it is to find ways to connect even when we are separated – very pertinent in these times. 

Mariusz, from Poland, discussed the importance of dreams from the comfort of his own bed, followed by a spell-binding performance on a piano of a self-composed musical piece, entitled 9 Stars.

The HPC Community Fund is part of a wider £20 million commitment of funding, provided by EDF through Section 106 agreements, for communities that are affected by the development of the new nuclear power station, to promote their social, economic and environmental wellbeing and enhance their quality of life.

If you run a local community project in Somerset and would like to find out more about grant funding from the HPC Community Fund please call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949 or visit: www.hpcfunds.co.uk

Community Foundations are local champions, connecting people and organisations that want to improve their communities. They invest in local people and organisations tackling some of the biggest issues facing communities today and supporting some of society’s most disadvantaged people. They provide help and advice to those who want to give at the heart of their communities, both now and in the long-term, by matching donors to important local causes.

The Somerset Coronavirus Appeal, launched by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF), has grown to over £450,000 since its launch just a month ago on Thursday 19 March [correct as at 16/04/2020].

The appeal raises money to fund local charities and community organisations supporting those in most urgent need during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and donations have come from local individuals, charitable trusts and businesses. The Somerset Coronavirus Appeal has also been boosted by over £150,000 from a national appeal, run by The National Emergencies Trust (NET).

Justin Sargent, Chief Executive at SCF said: “Thanks to the incredible generosity of donors to our appeal and the national appeal, we’ve been able to rapidly make grants worth over £200,000 to more than 80 groups across the county, including foodbanks and food delivery schemes, support services for older people, and virtual counselling, with more funding going out every day. We’re indebted to the amazing volunteers and staff from local groups who are going above and beyond to keep people safe and well in these exceptional times.”

Grants of up to £10,000 are available for local charities, community organisations and volunteer groups helping those in most urgent need during the coronavirus outbreak, and SCF pledges to award funding within three working days.  Any groups wishing to apply should visit the SCF website, where they can complete a short, simple application form: www.somersetcf.org.uk/coronavirus

Citizens Advice Mendip provides support for people who need advice on a range of issues, including work, benefits, debt and housing. They received an urgent grant from SCF to help them quickly adapt how they delivered their services as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Ian Byworth, the charity’s CEO, explains how Citizens Advice Mendip are now handling enquiries: “We don’t just help the more vulnerable or deprived people here at Citizens Advice; we help everybody. Our biggest challenge since the outbreak has been moving from face-to-face work to working remotely via email and telephone calls, and the grant from the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal has been critical in helping us achieve that. Providing laptops and mobile phones for our volunteers and staff has been a crucial part of allowing us to continue our work.”

SCF is passionate about doing as much as possible to support our communities, and is encouraging local people, businesses, charitable trusts and organisations who feel able to donate to the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal by visiting the SCF website: www.somersetcf.org.uk/appeal or, if that isn’t possible, call us on: 01749 344949.

To support the national NET appeal, please visit: www.nationalemergenciestrust.org.uk/coronavirus

If you have any queries you can contact SCF by email at: info@somersetcf.org.uk or, if that isn’t possible, you can call: 01749 344949.

Community Foundations are local champions, connecting people and organisations that want to improve their communities. They invest in local people and organisations tackling some of the biggest issues facing communities today and supporting some of society’s most disadvantaged people. They provide help and advice to those who want to give at the heart of their communities, both now and in the long-term, by matching donors to important local causes.

BLOG POST

By Justin Sargent, Chief Executive

As I sat down to write this, I was listening to Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, announce the Government package of measures to support charities. I recognised many of my feelings in the way he spoke about our sector.

So, to quote the Chancellor, I wish to throw a spotlight on “…those small charities in our villages, our market towns, in pockets of our cities…the unsung heroes looking after the vulnerable and holding together our social fabric.” 

Before I get to that, though, I want to go back to 2014 and the Somerset floods. You will remember the dramatic scenes on the Somerset Levels. Then, like now, there was an astounding and immediate response from the wider community. It drew on the very best of humanity, helping those who felt lost and bereft while their homes and businesses sat under water. Inevitably, at times, it was fragmented, chaotic and disruptive, but it was also life-affirming.

As we are seeing now, these community responses happen first because they move at the speed of emotion. It is an instinctive human response which creates so much positive energy; the joy of giving back on one side and the relief of feeling supported on the other has an immeasurable benefit. It goes beyond the tangible benefits of fetching shopping and prescriptions for people who can’t leave their homes to give us a more intangible sense of togetherness that will sustain us through some difficult times. A thousand acts of kindness add up to more than the sum of their parts.

So, if this is the case, we might be left wondering: why do we need registered charities and formal community organisations which are weighed down by their legal obligations, governance and accountability, when tens of thousands of volunteers can be recruited overnight?

Here in Somerset, our rural setting means we are particularly dependent on smaller organisations – the type Rishi Sunak was referring to in his speech in the quote above. These are the organisations that reach out and support the most vulnerable people in our communities every single day throughout the year. They touch all of our lives, often in ways we do not see. They have the knowledge, skills, and expertise to make sure the most vulnerable in our communities receive the right support at the right time and in the right way. 

They also have an unbreakable commitment to their communities because their communities run through their DNA, and that means they are amongst the ‘first responders’ when crisis hits. They can be unbelievably creative, flexible and entrepreneurial when they need to be. 

At Somerset Community Foundation, ourselves a small organisation, we have been able to draw on our experience of running the major Somerset Flood appeal in 2014, to respond to the impact of coronavirus today. Within two days of closing our office and moving to home-working we had launched an appeal and set up a new grants programme underpinned by new governance processes that enable us to turn funding around swiftly, often within 24 hours. Within ten days we have supported over 70 organisations with over £165,000.

The organisations we are funding have had their own disruption to contend with and yet have shown tremendous resilience to adapt and extend their reach in many different ways, including: 

•coordinating relief efforts in their communities and supporting volunteers 

•organising the distribution of food parcels and providing hot meals for the most vulnerable 

•setting up new mental health support services 

•making sure that people with disabilities have the resources they need 

•providing advice and support to families with young children and virtual support sessions to disadvantaged young people

•providing support to people experiencing domestic abuse 

These organisations are in an unenviable position. At the same time as the usual fundraising events like dinners, sky dives and fun runs have been cancelled and a huge source of income has been lost, the demand for their services has grown substantially. I spoke to one Somerset charity that had received 4,500 calls for assistance two weeks ago, rising to 6,000 last week, and a local foodbank we funded had three times more demand for food parcels than usual. 

This is not a sustainable situation for the sector and it is quite likely we will lose many valuable organisations in the coming months. While Karl Wilding, the CEO of the National Council of Voluntary Organisations, was correct when he told MPs last week that no charity has the right to exist, he was also right that people have a right to the services charities provide.

At a time when we are naturally focusing on the crisis in front of us, we must not lose sight of the thousands of people in our communities facing profound hardship, disadvantage and crisis every day. Like the welfare state, charities sustain us from cradle to grave; without them the society we belong to would feel very different and the burden on the state would be far greater. 

Our Somerset Coronavirus Appeal stands at just under £390,000 today, thanks to the generosity of individuals, companies, local authorities and funders who are coming together to stand shoulder to shoulder with our voluntary sector, just as the voluntary sector stands shoulder to shoulder with all of us throughout the year. 

The long-term future of many of the organisations we are supporting now cannot be taken for granted. It is unlikely that the voluntary sector will spring back to where it was just a month ago, and maybe it should not try to. We need to capture and keep hold of the growth of the community spirit that has emerged, but we also need to recognise that our established charities and community organisations are an essential fabric of everybody’s everyday existence. 

For that reason, Somerset Community Foundation will continue to advocate for them and raise as much as we can to help them continue changing lives every day, now and once the outbreak has subsided. We will need them then, more than ever, as they continue to be an essential part of our social fabric.

The Somerset Coronavirus Appeal, launched by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF), is offering fast-tracked funding for all local charities, community organisations and volunteer groups helping those in most urgent need during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Grants up to £10,000 are available, and SCF pledges to award funding within three working days.

Grants worth £136,000 have already been awarded to 60 local good causes across the county, including those supporting food projects, older people and mental health, with more funding going out every day to local charities and organisations reaching the most vulnerable people in our communities.

Justin Sargent, Chief Executive at SCF explains: “We’ve already made a large number of grants to groups we know, or have funded previously, to help those responding directly to the needs of their communities. We know many new groups are being created to respond to urgent needs, and others we may not have funded before will be doing vital work to keep people safe and well. We want to encourage those groups to apply to us so we can get funding where it’s needed most.

Any groups wishing to apply should visit the SCF website, where they can complete a short, simple application form for grants up to £10,000: www.somersetcf.org.uk/coronavirus

The funding has been made available thanks to generous contributions made to the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal by local individuals, charitable trusts and businesses, as well as funding from the national appeal, run by The National Emergencies Trust (NET). The Somerset Coronavirus Appeal, which was first launched on Thursday 19 March, now stands at £385,000 [amount correct as at 07/04/2020].

Fair Frome, a local poverty relief charity, received an urgent grant from SCF to help them respond to unprecedented demand for their foodbank as a result of coronavirus.

Bob Ashford, the charity’s Chair, said: “We’re using the funding to put in place new initiatives. Our immediate issue is that we are facing a three-fold increase in demand for food, and it’s become very hard to source the key items we need as many of our volunteers are older people and are self-isolating. We’re starting to buy the food we can’t source through donations, and we’ll be issuing additional food vouchers that people can use at the local fruit and veg shop.

“At this very difficult time, this funding from Somerset Community Foundation is an absolute lifeline. Without our service and this grant there are people who would go hungry.”

SCF is passionate about doing as much as possible to support our communities, and is encouraging local people, businesses, charitable trusts and organisations who feel able to donate to the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal by clicking here. 

To support the national NET appeal, please click here.

Community Foundations are local champions, connecting people and organisations that want to improve their communities. They invest in local people and organisations tackling some of the biggest issues facing communities today and supporting some of society’s most disadvantaged people. They provide help and advice to those who want to give at the heart of their communities, both now and in the long-term, by matching donors to important local causes.

The Somerset Coronavirus Appeal, launched by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) to fund local charities and community organisations supporting those in most urgent need during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, has grown to over £275,000 in just over a week [correct as at 31/03/2020].

The incredible sum has come from donations from local individuals, charitable trusts and businesses, and was boosted by funding from a national appeal, run by The National Emergencies Trust (NET) in partnership with the British Red Cross. An additional £107,000 was added to the pot from existing funds managed by SCF on behalf of donors across the county.

Justin Sargent, Chief Executive at SCF said: “Grants worth £100,000 have already been awarded to 39 local good causes across the county, including those supporting food projects, older people and mental health. More funding is going out every day to local charities and organisations reaching those in urgent need, thanks to the generosity of the donors who have given to our appeal.

“We’re working hard to get funding out to groups that are responding directly to needs that have arisen because of the outbreak of the coronavirus. In the initial stages we’ve been proactively contacting organisations that we already know. As the Fund grows we plan to soon broaden the scope to invite other charities and community organisations to apply.

“I am extremely grateful to my team for rising to the challenge while going through our own rapid re-organisation to homeworking.”

The local appeal was launched on Thursday 19 March and local individuals, trusts, businesses and organisations including Somerset County Council have all generously donated, whilst an initial £50,000 has been received from NET.

The chair of the NET, Richard Dannatt, said: “It is a fantastic achievement and testament to the generosity of the British public, business and charitable foundations that within a week we managed to raise £13m – and get £2.5m out very quickly to those who need it most.

“Local community foundations are now allocating money to local charities who are best placed to help those in the greatest need. At present it seems as if the delivery of food to the vulnerable and elderly is the highest priority, and those supplies are now flowing.”

SCF is passionate about doing as much as possible to support our communities, and is encouraging local people, businesses, charitable trusts and organisations who feel able to donate to the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal by clicking here.

To support the national appeal, please visit: www.nationalemergenciestrust.org.uk/coronavirus

 

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is delighted to announce that just five days after its launch, the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal has already raised more than £70,000, thanks to the swift response and generous donations of local individuals, trusts and businesses. The amount raised includes a big boost of £50,000 from Somerset County Council and a major donation from local charitable trust, The Fairfield Trust.

Justin Sargent, Chief Executive at SCF, explains: “We are delighted with the response to our fundraising appeal which was launched just days ago, and our grateful thanks go out to everyone who has donated so generously in these unprecedented times.

“Initially, the fund will focus on providing urgent support to charities and community organisations who are working tirelessly to support the most vulnerable in our communities, such as older people, those with underlying health conditions, and children and families experiencing poverty. We’ll be proactively contacting organisations who work directly with these groups and getting funding out as quickly as possible.

“As demand for funding increases, and as the fund grows, we hope to be able to broaden the scope to invite other charities and community organisations to apply, and we’ll operate a rolling programme of funding to help charities to respond to local need.”

David Fothergill, Leader of Somerset County Council added: “We recognise how critically important the work of local charitable groups is at this time and wanted to show our appreciation by supporting the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal. It’s great to see everyone working together to respond to the crisis, and we are proud of our communities and volunteers who are working hard to provide help to those in need.”

In addition, subject to confirming details, SCF expects that funds raised through the national appeal, run by The National Emergencies Trust in partnership with the British Red Cross, will be combined with the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal funds to form the Somerset Coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund. Grants will swiftly be awarded to local charities and community organisations that are helping the most vulnerable people during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak across the county.

SCF is passionate about doing as much as possible to support our communities, and is encouraging local people, businesses, charitable trusts and organisations who feel able to donate to the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal by visiting the SCF website: www.somersetcf.org.uk/appeal

To support the national appeal, which has raised a staggering £6.5 million to date, please visit: www.nationalemergenciestrust.org.uk/coronavirus

Community Foundations are local champions, connecting people and organisations that want to improve their communities. They invest in local people and organisations tackling some of the biggest issues facing communities today and supporting some of society’s most disadvantaged people. They provide help and advice to those who want to give at the heart of their communities, both now and in the long-term, by matching donors to important local causes.

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) has launched the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal to get vital funding to local charities and community organisations that are helping the most vulnerable people during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The funds raised will help form the Somerset Coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund to ensure support swiftly reaches local charities and community organisations across the county of Somerset. SCF plans for the grants from the Fund to be made on a rolling basis. A full list of grants made from the Somerset Coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund can be found here.

Justin Sargent, Chief Executive at SCF, explains: “In the response phase, we will get extra money to organisations in order to boost their efforts to provide essential support to older people and other vulnerable groups affected by the coronavirus outbreak. In the recovery phase, we will fund a wider group of local charities and community organisations whose operations and finances have been affected, helping them to recover while also helping our communities get back on their feet once the outbreak eases.

“We are working closely with partners in the voluntary sector, NHS and local authorities, and contacting frontline organisations to see what is needed. We have been funding the local voluntary sector in Somerset for 18 years and we know a lot of these organisations very well. Never have our communities needed these organisations’ backing more, and we will act swiftly to support their efforts by using our local knowledge to reach the organisations helping vulnerable people on the ground.”

SCF is delighted to announce that generous funders have already agreed that £40,000 of existing donations can be added to the Somerset Coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund, and is now inviting local people, businesses and organisations who can and wish to help, to make a donation.

Anyone wishing to contribute to the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal can do so by clicking here: www.somersetcf.org.uk/appeal

Justin added: “It’s important that the money gets to groups helping vulnerable people now and in the coming weeks. But we must also look ahead; our area’s brilliant charities and community organisations will need support to get back on their feet after the outbreak eases so they can keep up their vital work.”

A national appeal has also been launched and the National Emergencies Trust will distribute money through a number of charitable organisations, including community foundations. If you wish to support the national appeal, please visit their website: www.nationalemergenciestrust.org.uk/coronavirus

The National Emergencies Trust (NET) has today, Wednesday 18 March, launched an appeal to raise funds to help local charities to support those individuals suffering hardship as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. The National Emergencies Trust will distribute money raised through a number of charitable organisations including local Community Foundations, to ensure it reaches those who need it most.

Community Foundations are well placed to support local charities to overcome challenges presented by this ongoing emergency.

Details of the NET fund and criteria for groups to apply for funding will follow in the next few days. SCF is also drawing up plans for using existing local funds alongside the NET funding and we will be announcing our approach shortly. 


Sources of information and advice

Our website has now been updated as our response to the pandemic evolves. This page is now where you’ll find other sources of information and advice.

CAF (Charities Aid Foundation)

  • CAF have launched their Coronavirus Emergency Fund to help smaller charitable organisations in the UK affected by the impact of Covid-19. Grants of up to £10,000 are available. Find out more here.
Citizens Advice South Somerset
  • Citizens Advice South Somerset have created some helpful videos about Employment and Benefits which should help you to understand your rights, your options and your choices, here.

The Charity Commission

Charity Excellence Framework
  • Charity Excellence Framework has compiled a list of more than 250 funders who are providing funding in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Find out more here.

Civil Society

Community Council for Somerset

The Co-op
  • For those with a local Co-op store in their communities you can stay up-to-date with the latest via their website, here.

Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK

Grin (Grants Resources Information News)
  • Grin have collated a list of Community Foundations and other grant providers that have launched funding programmes to assist local agencies in responding to the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. You can find that here.
Mindline

NVCO

Public Health England

Spark Somerset

The Government

Trading Standards

We hope this page has been useful but do feedback any comments or questions by emailing info@somersetcf.org.uk.

We are aware of recent allegations made against one of the organisations funded by the Hinkley Point C Community Fund about the use of their grant. In light of these allegations, Somerset Community Foundation wishes to make the following statement:

“Every organisation supported by HPC Community Fund grant is monitored closely to ensure compliance with the terms of their grant and to assess their impact in our local communities.

We do not necessarily fund everything included in an application, and we can amend awards during implementation in the light of experience and changing circumstances. If grants are not used for the purpose they were awarded, we will take remedial action and if necessary reclaim monies. We do not comment on individual awards, but we can confirm that, to date, we have not had to recover any grants that have been awarded.”

Over £3 million* in grants has been awarded to local initiatives in Somerset from the Hinkley Point C (HPC) Community Fund since it was first launched in November 2017.

Justin Sargent, Chief Executive at Somerset Community Foundation, which administers the Fund, said: “The HPC Community Fund continues to support many groups and organisations’ projects to improve quality of life and wellbeing in communities most affected by the construction of Hinkley Point C. If you have any ideas that you think we may be able to support with grant funding then please get in touch with us.

“We always encourage groups to discuss their ideas with us first. We have a number of Drop-in Days coming up over the next few months – there’s no need to book. The next one is at North Petherton Library on Thursday 2 April, 10am-4pm. We’re here to advise and support at every stage of the application process.”

The HPC Community Fund delivers the Open Grants Programme for larger applications, typically over £10,000, and the Small Grants Programme awards grants of up to £5,000, or up to £10,000 over three years for charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises that normally operate on less than £100,000 per year. Visit www.hpcfunds.co.uk for more details on deadlines for applications.

One of the groups that have recently received a grant from the HPC Community Fund is Wembdon Parklands and Community Together (Wembdon PACT). The group was formed to make the parklands next to the Northern Distribution Road in Bridgwater more accessible for all, enhancing the health and well-being of people in the community, and encouraging the return of wildlife. A grant for £52,960 was awarded from the HPC Community Fund to help redevelop the green space by putting in paths, planting trees and sensory borders, creating a prairie orchard, a nature trail and a picnic area.

Lorna Edwards, Chairperson at Wembdon PACT said: “We are so grateful to the HPC Community Fund for helping and supporting us. Without the funding we couldn’t have made this happen. The bulk of the funding has gone into the landscaping and planting; we’ve planted 30 mature trees to increase the woodland and supply habitats for birds and bats, as well as planting and building sensory boarders for those with sight problems or learning disabilities. The grant is already making a difference to those who live in the community, and we are already seeing many wheelchair users of all ages visiting the development.

We spoke to a lady who lives nearby who was advised by her doctor to take regular walks to improve her strength. Now, because of the new tarmac pathways, she can access the park and is finding she is able to walk a little further with each visit. Without the grant this would never have happened. The funding has made a huge difference to people and we can’t wait to see it in all its glory this summer!”

Somerset Community Foundation has recently awarded over £273,000 in grants from the HPC Community Fund’s Open Grants Programme:

The HPC Community Fund is part of a wider £20 million commitment of funding, provided by EDF through Section 106 agreements, for communities that are affected by the development of the new nuclear power station, to promote their social, economic and environmental wellbeing and enhance their quality of life.

If you run a local community project in Somerset and would like to find out more about grant funding from the HPC Community Fund please call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949 or visit: www.hpcfunds.co.uk

*£3,293,357 as at 3/3/2020

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is delighted to announce that the 2019/20 Surviving Winter appeal has raised a record-breaking £110,000, thanks to the generosity of local donors. The team at SCF have been distributing funding across the county, and aim to support more than 500 vulnerable older people with a Surviving Winter grant, helping to keep them warm, safe and well.

The annual appeal encourages pensioners who can afford to, to donate some or all of their Winter Fuel Payment. These donations provide funding and support to our older neighbours across Somerset who are struggling to heat their homes.

Since Surviving Winter first launched in Somerset in 2010, the appeal has raised an astounding £800,000 in total for the county. SCF’s Development Director, Laura Blake, thanked local people for rallying behind the appeal: “We have been absolutely blown away by the support we’ve received for this year’s Surviving Winter appeal. We’re hugely grateful to each and every person who has donated – and particularly those who donate year after year. Without your support, we know lots of older people in Somerset would be suffering in silence during the cold winter months.”

SCF would also like to thank TelePA who offered their services free-of-charge to the charitable campaign this year. The telephone answering service, based in Westbury-sub-Mendip, near Wells, took dozens of calls from Somerset residents wishing to donate to the Surviving Winter 2019/20 appeal.

For information on how to apply for a Surviving Winter grant, please contact either Community Council for Somerset on 01823 331222 or visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/winter

To donate some or all of your Winter Fuel Payment, or to make a donation of any size to the Surviving Winter appeal, please visit www.somersetcf.org.uk/winter to donate online, send a cheque made payable to Somerset Community Foundation (writing SW on the reverse), Yeoman House, Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, BA4 6QN; or call 01749 344949.

Donation and Gift Aid forms are available to download here.

Extra help is at hand to support families in Somerset meet and beat challenges before they develop into crises.

Somerset Community Foundation is working in partnership with Somerset County Council, who have set aside £200,000 each year for the next three years towards funding community groups working with families with children aged 0-19 who need that extra helping hand.

Somerset Community Foundation is administering the Somerset Early Help Fund and is keen to hear from community groups, social enterprises or registered charities that can work with families to help build their resilience – the ability to bounce back from bad times, beat the odds and do better despite their circumstances.

Grants will range from £10,000 to £25,000 a year with most awards expected to average about £15,000. Individuals, and commercial and statutory organisations are not eligible.

Somerset Community Foundation is administering the grants and the deadline for applications this year is Wednesday 26 February. You can apply here.

Andy Ridgewell, Programmes Manager at Somerset Community Foundation said: “We’re delighted to be working with Somerset County Council to help support groups and organisations that work with young families. This important funding will go towards helping families in the county make strong connections within their communities.”

Councillor Frances Nicholson, the County Council’s Lead member for Children’s Services, said: “Early help is so important to prevent problems developing into major issues.

“We are keen to hear from groups that can work directly with families and put them in touch with help that may be available in their own neighbourhood.

“This will help families tap into existing networks and become more independent in the longer term.”

 

Grants of up to £1,000 are available for local charities, voluntary or community groups, sports clubs, or social enterprises based within Somerset West and Taunton and the deadline to apply is Friday 20 March.

The Local Community Fund, administered by Somerset Community Foundation on behalf of Somerset West and Taunton Council, was set up in 2017 to support community projects in the local area by distributing money from the Somerset West Lottery. The Lottery raises money within the community for the community, enabling people to support the causes they care most about, while also helping good causes to connect with their supporters.

A ticket for the Somerset West Lottery costs £1 per week, 60p of which goes directly to good causes – more than double what the National Lottery gives. Players can choose to support a named local good cause, or they can decide to award their contribution to the Local Community Fund. Grants are awarded from the fund by a panel of District Councillors.

The Local Community Fund awarded 14 grants, totalling £12,000 to community groups and sports clubs across Somerset West and Taunton over the last year. The groups to receive grants were:

Groups wishing to apply for funding should click here or call us for more information.

Since its launch in November 2017 the HPC Community Fund has been supporting community projects and initiatives that help mitigate the impacts and increase the opportunities arising from the construction of the new power station. Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge Men’s Shed (BOSHed) was one of the first community groups to receive a grant from the Hinkley Point C (HPC) Community Fund’s Small Grants programme, administered by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF), two years ago [January 2018].

The number of over-50s experiencing loneliness is set to reach two million by 2025/6, compared to around 1.4 million in 2016/7 – a 49% increase in 10 years [source: Age UK 2018, All The Lonely People]. Loneliness can have a profound effect on the health and well-being of older people in the UK, and Somerset is no exception. Retirement can often bring about a lack of purpose, with the loss of routine and companionship leading to feelings of loneliness and isolation. Men’s Sheds provide community spaces for men – and women – to connect, converse and create, filling that void and re-establishing a sense of community that older or retired people can experience.

Tony Cradock from BOSHed said: “The funding from the HPC Community Fund was used to provide decking and a panel saw for our Men’s Shed. This meant that we were more accessible and able to develop what we do. In the last two years the Shed has gone from strength to strength, and together we find friendship, as well as having a good time!”

BOSHed has recently opened a new ‘wing’ – the Women’s SHEd – and the group meet at the premises every Monday. Sue Meads from the Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge Women’s SHEd explains: “Our group started up gradually about 18 months ago, and we now have a regular number of women coming along to the SHEd, which is held every Monday. We have a woodworking group where we make everything from bird boxes to double beds, and a crafting group where the women enjoy a number of crafts, including patchwork, crochet and jewellery making.

“The SHEd helped me through a really tough period in my life. It’s a very supportive and welcoming environment – you can take part in the activities or simply sit and have a coffee and a chat. We’re always looking for new members, so please do come along and give it a try if you’re in the area.” 

Success after two years of the small grants programme

Over £12,000 of grant funding was awarded to five community groups in the latest two rounds of the Fund’s Small Grants programme (for grants of up to £5,000 for charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises that normally operate on less than £100,000 each year), including:

Bridgwater Talking News: Awarded £1,050 to support the needs of those in the community who are visually impaired by providing them with spoken versions of local news.

Chilton Trinity Village Hall: Awarded £3,861 to upgrade their equipment to better serve the expanding local community.

Magna Housing: Awarded £3,595 to paint and put together bird, bat and hedgehog boxes, made by Bridgwater Men’s Shed, with older residents of sheltered housing, to reduce isolation and bring the community closer together.

St Francis Social Club for Visually Impaired People: Awarded £1,500 to support their work in Sedgemoor providing a weekly social group and improving quality of life.

West Somerset Inter-Cultural Friendship Group: Awarded £2,000 for their work raising awareness of diversity and reducing isolation in pre-schools and care homes.

The Small Grants programme is ongoing with decisions made every 6-8 weeks. To be considered at the next award meeting your application must be submitted by Friday 28 February. The next deadline following this will be Friday 10 April. The next HPC Community Fund Open Grants programme deadline (for major grants) is Wednesday 1 April.

The Hinkley Point C Community Fund is part of a wider £20 million commitment of funding, provided by EDF Energy through Section 106 agreements, for communities that are affected by the development of the new nuclear power station, to promote their social, economic and environmental wellbeing and enhance their quality of life.

If you would like to find out more about grant funding from the HPC Community Fund, please call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949 or click here

The West Somerset Youth Trust, which is managed by Somerset Community Foundation, is accepting applications from young people aged 14 – 25 for grants to help them pay for course or event fees, travel costs, or equipment that can enrich their education.

Previous grants have been awarded to attend international scouting jamborees, work experience placements, Duke of Edinburgh expeditions and workshops at the National Youth Theatre. Matthew Puttock, from Dulverton and attending West Somerset College, received a grant of £100 towards the cost of an educational trip to Iceland. He said: “My trip to Iceland allowed me to explore natural geographical features such as waterfalls and glaciers, contributing to my physical knowledge of geography. The trip was truly wonderful, allowing me to also explore the unique idiosyncrasies of a different culture.”

The process is open to young people who reside in the west of Somerset or have strong links to the area, and grants are typically 25 per cent of the total cost of the trip or event up to a maximum of £300.

Applicants will need to think about how they plan to fund the total cost of the trip or event, any other fundraising needed and plan a simple budget.

If you are interested in applying for funding and want to find out more, please visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/wsyt or contact Kirsty Campbell on 01749 344949 or email her at: Kirsty.campbell@somersetcf.org.uk

The closing date for applications is the Monday 2 March.

Boost your career, your wellbeing and your community through Somerset Skills Bank

As we enter a new year and a new decade, many of us are thinking about our personal and professional development. Maybe you’ve signed up for a marathon, or a new qualification. But have you thought about volunteering?

For many, volunteering means sorting through donations to charity shops or helping with fundraising. These are great ways to lend your support, but one of the greatest gifts you can give to small, local charities is your skills and expertise.

Somerset Skills Bank is an exciting new initiative set up by local charities Somerset Community Foundation, Spark, and Engage, that aims to encourage volunteers to share their unique talents with local charities.

Whether you can spare just a few hours or commit to more sustained, longer-term support, the Somerset Skills Bank team can match you to a charity that will complement your skills, location and interests. You can volunteer in three main ways:

Your support will help to keep our local charities strong and effective and help them make an even bigger difference in our communities. What’s more, research shows that those who volunteer frequently have higher levels of mental health and emotional wellbeing, improved quality of life and life satisfaction. So giving back is good for you, you career and your community – win win!

To find out more and join the Skills Bank, click here.

Numbers can sometimes mask the true scale of a problem: the latest official count showed there were 36 rough sleepers in Somerset and a further 397 households were recognised as statutorily homeless last year.

But there are many more local people experiencing homelessness: whether sofa surfing, families living in B&Bs, ex-offenders leaving prison, or those trying to escape domestic abuse. It can be very difficult to get official recognition as being homeless, with many people not able to access support – particularly single, young people.

Somerset Community Foundation’s latest Hidden Somerset: Homelessness research report, funded by The Fairfield Charitable Trust, shines a spotlight on an issue which is complex and often hidden from view. At a panel event to launch the report, guests heard a presentation of the findings of the research from Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) Development Director, Laura Blake, which revealed that:

Local voluntary sector organisations are pivotal in ensuring local homeless people – and those on the cusp of homelessness – receive high-quality, intensive support to rebuild their lives. A panel at the event, made up of three charities, social enterprises and community groups who work in the field, brought to life their work with stories of some of the individuals they’ve worked with. Rev. Stephen Fowler from Elim Connect – who provide residential and community-based services for homeless people – told a tragic story of a young homeless person known to his organisation who, after being discharged from hospital in Taunton on a winter evening, attempted to walk back to Glastonbury; sadly, he never made it.

Justin Sargent, Chief Executive at Somerset Community Foundation, said: “Having a safe place to live is an essential human need, and yet those who are most vulnerable in our community and most in need of a stable and safe place to live often are, paradoxically, those most at risk of becoming homeless.

“Our aim with this report is to inspire greater awareness and support for the amazing organisations who work in the field, and the people they help. We are delighted to have secured some new funding to support local charities working with homeless people in Somerset and are seeking additional donations to help us build a homelessness fund and make a bigger difference in the next three years. By pulling together as communities, we can all make a lasting difference to peoples’ lives in the most fundamental way – by helping people find a place they can call home.”

Hidden Somerset: Homelessness is the second in a series of research reports highlighting local community issues to raise vital awareness and funding. The first Hidden Somerset report looked at Rural Isolation, and the third publication focuses on Hidden Youth and will be published February 2020.

If you are interested in supporting the work of Somerset Community Foundation and would like to obtain a copy of the Hidden Somerset reports please call 01749 344949 or email: info@somersetcf.org.uk

You can also download a copy of the Hidden Somerset reports by clicking here.

Grants of up to £1,000 are available for people living in Somerset or Devon with physical disabilities, learning disabilities or both to take part in music therapy, music experiences and outdoor adventures. The grants are made possible by a fund called Mary’s Beat, which has been created in memory of Mary Christabel Dyer.

Administered by Somerset Community Foundation, Mary’s Beat will consider funding for individuals to participate in an activity which would not otherwise be available to them. Eligible activities include music therapy, one-off concerts, and outdoor activities that will build self confidence, encourage participation and inspire hope for the future. Previous grants have been awarded towards the cost of specialist buggies, trikes and wheelchairs, football season tickets, music and equine therapy, and outdoor activity days.

Kirsty Campbell, Programmes Manager at Somerset Community Foundation, said: “So far, Mary’s Beat has awarded ten grants totalling £5,900 and the Fund is currently open for grant applications until Monday 2 March 2020.  It’s fantastic to see Mary’s Beat helping people have fun, positive experiences which they’ll enjoy and remember for years to come.”

Mary was born with severe disabilities and required constant care, however she lived a rich and rewarding life. She loved attending live music concerts and enjoyed the great outdoors: camping, walking in her adapted wheelchair, and cycling in her ‘Duet’ wheelchair bike.

Mary’s parents, who live in Cossington [between Street and Bridgwater], launched the fund at the start of 2018. Debbie, Mary’s mother explains: “Mary was so enthusiastic about life, she embraced it and made the most of every single day. We want this fund to reflect her passion and vitality for outdoor activities and live music – especially walking, cycling, camping and music festivals.”

Piers, Mary’s father added: “Our 2018 sponsored bicycle ride in France was such a success that my sister and I will now be raising funds to help others once again. This time we’re cycling to the Hoge Veluwe National Park in the Netherlands this August. It’s where Mary had her first cycle ride on a Duet wheelchair bicycle.”

If you have any questions regarding Mary’s Beat please call Kirsty on 01749 344949 or email: Kirsty.campbell@somersetcf.org.uk

BLOG POST

By Justin Sargent, Chief Executive

“I don’t really need my Winter Fuel Payment, so if I donated the equivalent amount to you, could you use it to help someone in much greater need?”

From that simple and generous offer ten years ago, sprang an award-winning fundraising campaign, devised and led by Somerset Community Foundation: the Surviving Winter appeal. We have now raised £700,000 in Somerset, and millions of pounds across the UK. Endorsements have ranged from Somerset residents Michael Eavis and The Bishop of Bath and Wells through to national personalities such as Sir Terry Wogan, Joanna Lumley and Michael Parkinson.

Each year, hundreds of better-off recipients of the government’s Winter Fuel Payment living in Somerset, donate to our Surviving Winter appeal to help pensioners who face untold hardship during the winter months.

If you are fortunate enough to have a good income but have experienced your boiler go on the blink during the winter, you will know how miserable that can be. For some people, that is their reality throughout the whole winter.

We have estimated that in Somerset alone there are a staggering 6,500 households occupied by older people who are considered to be fuel poor – meaning they have to make the decision between paying for heating or buying food. On average, an additional £300 would be enough to heat their homes adequately for comfort and health.

Too many people have to choose between heating and eating. Too many people only heat one room to save costs, retreating to bed as soon as it falls dark. I remember meeting a lady who moved her bed into her kitchen during the winter to save costs and stay a little warmer at night.

The consequence of cold weather is a significant rise in the number of deaths every winter. In 2017/18 there were 542 ‘excess winter deaths’ in Somerset alone, most of whom were older people. For each one, hundreds of others will be experiencing hardship and suffering that is, quite frankly, avoidable.

The media are already reporting on the expected pressures that will be placed on the NHS this winter. In one of the richest countries in the world it is shameful that this additional burden is caused because people cannot afford to keep warm or that they become more isolated and lonely in the winter.

Here in the rural West Country many areas are dependent on expensive sources of energy such as oil or LPG, and many people live in old cottages that are expensive to insulate.

When we first launched the Surviving Winter appeal I was challenged on how we would reach those people in greatest need. As a Community Foundation, we fund hundreds of local charities each year. We’ve asked them to use their networks to reach those most in need. In so many cases it is not just the extra financial help to stay warm, it is about the human contact, the extra advice and support that goes with it that makes all the difference. Last year, a lady in her 90s with no close family was given a Surviving Winter grant; through the process she was then able to access additional financial support that she was entitled to from the state.

Surviving Winter is an incredibly simple and effective community-led response with a very neat symmetry. Over 500 people donate each year and, in turn, we are able to help just over 500 households stay warm and well. There is something really magical about the thought that your gift might help someone just down the road in your village or neighbourhood, especially in the colder months. So, if you can afford to, please donate today and spread some warmth this winter. Thank you.

If you would like to donate to Surviving Winter, click here. A donation form is available to download here.

For information on how to apply for a Surviving Winter grant, please contact Community Council for Somerset on 01823 331222.

Taunton-based legal firm Clarke Willmott recently celebrated awarding a total of £40,000 from their charitable fund, managed by Somerset Community Foundation. The Clarke Willmott Fund, which was launched in 2010, awards grants between £250 and £5,000, focusing particularly on grassroots voluntary groups, local charities and social enterprises located in Taunton and the surrounding area.

The firm’s most recent grant, which helped them surpass the £40,000 milestone, was given to Taunton Area Debt Advice (TADA), a charity which helps people struggling with personal debt.

Graham Reid, TADA’s centre manager, said: “We are very grateful for the generous grant made from the Clarke Willmott Fund by Somerset Community Foundation. It has helped to facilitate our recent office move to the Citizen’s Advice office in Taunton, an organisation with which we share considerable synergy, and is also contributing to the cost of training much needed additional debt counsellors.”

Rev. Steven Reed, Chair of Trustees from the charity went on to say: “At this time of the year, many more people will suffer the blight of personal indebtedness. This funding will enable us to help more clients become debt free.”

TADA offers a free and completely confidential debt advice service and is currently helping clients with debts totalling nearly half a million pounds. It is Financial Conduct Authority approved and is a member of Community Money Advice – a national charity with over 100 debt advice centres across the UK.

Chris Thorne, Head of Clarke Willmott’s Taunton office, added: “Clarke Willmott is delighted to have supported the great work of Somerset Community Foundation for a number of years and to have made a contribution to their grant-making for a range of good causes. Working with our local community is key to us. Although we are now a major national legal firm, we will never forget that our roots are deeply embedded in the life of Somerset, where it all began.”

Pictured L-R: Hayley Eggleton, Marketing & Business Development Executive at Clarke Willmott, Steven Reed and Graham Reid from TADA, and Chris Thorne, Head of Clarke Willmott’s Taunton office celebrate £40,000 of grant funding.

For free and confidential debt advice contact Taunton Debt Advice or Community Money Advice

Wessex Water is offering financial support to grassroots groups that bring people together across the county.

The fund, managed by Somerset Community Foundation, is open for applications on Monday 6 January 2020 and the deadline for applications is Friday 14 February 2020.

Grants of up to £1,500 are available to organisations that build cohesion in communities, with priority given to smaller groups that work in areas of financial deprivation or rural isolation and/or work to raise awareness of drinking water for healthy living or saving water.

The fund is also being delivered across other parts of the West Country by Quartet (who cover Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire), Dorset and Wiltshire Community Foundations.

Kirsty Scarlett, Wessex Water’s Head of Community Engagement, said: “We want to make sure that we support our communities to help those who need it most. We’re delighted to be working in partnership with the four Community Foundations across our region who are all well placed to understand and address needs through making grants in their local areas.

“The Wessex Water Community Fund will prioritise small, grassroots charities and community organisations over larger ones that perhaps have a higher profile.”

Andrew Ridgewell, Programmes Manager at Somerset Community Foundation added: “We are thrilled to continue working in partnership with Wessex Water, delivering the Wessex Water Community Fund in our county.

“This fund will make a big difference to hundreds of people in Somerset and across the West Country.”

Last year the Wessex Water Community Fund awarded grants to groups like South West Fishing For Life, based at Wimbleball Lake in Exmoor, for women recovering from breast cancer; Home-Start West Dorset who work to support local families; Devizes Open Doors, tackling homelessness; and Bath YMCA, supporting local young people.

Groups wishing to apply for funding should click here or call Somerset Community Foundation on 01749 344949 for more information.

If you are a grassroots community group, grants are available up to the value of £1,500 from The Somerset Fund. Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) manages the fund and is encouraging applications from smaller groups that run on less than £50,000 per year. The grants will be ‘unrestricted’, which means they can be used to pay for ongoing running costs. Applications can be made from Monday 6 January, 2020 and the deadline to apply is Friday 14 February, 2020.

Laura Blake, Development Director at SCF explains: “We created The Somerset Fund in 2018 to bring local businesses and families together to support small, local charities. The Fund offers a simple and rewarding way to give to good causes, with all donations matched by 50% thanks to funding from Somerset County Council. We’re hugely grateful to the local businesses and families that have chosen to give through The Somerset Fund over the last year.

“Thanks to our generous donors, we are now able to invite local grassroots charities to apply for funding by Friday 14 February. Alongside receiving funding, groups benefiting from the Fund will have a great opportunity to promote their cause to local businesses and raise awareness of their important work.”

Purple Elephant received a grant from The Somerset Fund in 2019 and used it to run summer holiday activities for children in Frome, helping to support families that are in need access support and make memories. Sue Willis, Founder of the charity said: “Funding from Somerset Community Foundation’s Somerset Fund helped us to run our summer activities programme and Toy Library in 2019. The children’s activities are free or very low cost, so everyone can access them. For those who can’t drive or who struggle to afford activities for their kids, having something on their doorstep is crucial. A lot of parents tell us our activities are a godsend.”

The Somerset Fund will support local people of all ages and a wide range of causes, including:

If you run a business and would like to find out more about giving through The Somerset Fund click here, call Laura Blake on the number below, or e-mail: laura.blake@somersetcf.org.uk

If you are involved in a local, grassroots community project and would like to find out more about how to apply for funding from The Somerset Fund, please click here or call us.

A woman with a learning disability is arranging a Christmas party to thank the pupils at Castle Cary Community Primary School where she listens to the children read.

Felicity Freeman has Down’s syndrome, and visits the school every week. She has been awarded a Small Sparks grant from the Discovery Community Fund, administered by Somerset Community Foundation, to pay for a party with balloon modelling and a visit from Father Christmas. Small Sparks grants up to £500 are available to people with learning disabilities who would like to start a new group in their community.

The volunteering started when Felicity, who is supported by Discovery in Castle Cary, told her support workers how much she loves children. Discovery provides person-centred support for people with learning disabilities and autism on behalf of Somerset County Council.

Jill Stenhouse, one of her support workers, visited the head teacher to see if Felicity could become a ‘reading buddy’ at the school. Jill said: “Felicity loves to engage with the children and the staff tell me that the children interact with her so well, it’s really lovely. She’s very popular.”

Sarah Martin, the Head Teacher at Castle Cary School said: “She really enjoys listening to the children read and we know because of her hand gestures, it’s a really nice session. It’s been an education for the children to see someone with a learning disability. They always say “Hello Felicity” when they see her out and about in the town.”

The party is being held on Tuesday 17th December at Yarlington Community Hall in Castle Cary and fifty-six children are invited to the celebration.

Small Sparks grants are awarded by the Discovery Community Fund which opened for the first time in early 2019. The fund supports community projects for people with additional needs throughout Somerset. To find out more about the fund and how to apply for a grant, call Andrew Ridgewell, Programmes Manager at Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949 or email: info@somersetcf.org.uk

Thanks to more than 300 generous supporters across Somerset, the annual Surviving Winter appeal – which provides funding and support to our older neighbours who are struggling to heat their homes – is already over halfway to reaching its target of £100,000. Surviving Winter, which is run by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF), encourages pensioners who can afford to, to donate some or all of their Winter Fuel Payment. The charity aims to support around 500 vulnerable older people across Somerset with a Surviving Winter grant every winter, helping to keep them warm, safe and well, and easing financial pressure during the cold winter. Those in need are also given specialist support and connected to local services and community groups that can reduce loneliness and isolation.

SCF is delighted to announce The Rt Rev’d Peter Hancock, Bishop of Bath and Wells has pledged his support for the campaign.

Bishop Peter, who is a Vice President of Somerset Community Foundation and Patron of Age UK, says: “Donating some or all of your Winter Fuel Payment to the Surviving Winter appeal is a simple and easy way to help some of the elderly in our community who are struggling to stay warm and healthy in winter. This small gesture will go a long way towards helping those who are most in need. Please consider giving to this great cause if you can.”

To donate some or all of your Winter Fuel Payment, or to make a donation of any size to the Surviving Winter appeal, please send a cheque made payable to Somerset Community Foundation (writing SW on the reverse), Yeoman House, Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, BA4 6QN; or call 01749 344949; or you can donate online here.

Donation and Gift Aid forms are also available to download by following the above link.

Home-Start West Somerset is making a difference to young families in Somerset and one of a growing number of organisations benefitting from the Hinkley Point C (HPC) Community Fund, administered by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF).

Children whose parents struggle to cope with problems such as illness, disability, poor mental health, poverty, homelessness and domestic violence, can often miss out on the support that is so vital for their future. There is now an overwhelming body of evidence that a nurturing, stable family and home environment strongly influences a child’s future life chances.

Home-Start West Somerset supports families that have complex and long-term needs in the Sedgemoor and West Somerset area. In 2018 they were awarded a grant of £142,000 from the Hinkley Point C Community Fund to deliver a three-year programme of activities and support for young families in Williton, Watchet and Stogursey and the surrounding areas. The project, which is for families who are both new to the area and already established, is particularly important in bringing young families and communities together: Home-Start West Somerset report 42% of children who are new to their family caseload are from families coming into the area.

Clare Pound, Manager of Home-Start West Somerset said: From our perspective families see the Hinkley Point C developments as a positive thing. Bringing employment and new families to the area stimulates change and generates finance, strengthening family units and local communities. We support parents as they grow in confidence, reinforcing their relationships with their children and widening their links within the community. We work closely with agencies such as health professionals, children’s centres, social workers, pre-schools, police, housing officers, drug counsellors and more, to provide a joined-up service for families.

“A particularly successful part of our funded project has been Story-Start, a group which provides an opportunity for parents and children to come together and enjoy stories and other activities.  During the first year of the project, 85 parents and children engaged with just two Story-Start groups. And with the number of groups set to more than double in 2020 this is becoming an important activity for families in this area of West Somerset.”

Since its launch in November 2017 the HPC Community Fund, which supports community projects and initiatives that help mitigate the impacts and increase the opportunities arising from the construction of the new power station, has so far awarded over £2.5 million in grants.

Over £280,000 of grant funding was awarded to three community groups in the latest round of the Fund’s Open Grants (for major grants of up to £50,000 and over £50,000):

Mind in Somerset: Awarded £94,359 over three years to fund a full-time post working with people in Bridgwater and the West Somerset area who are struggling with mental wellbeing and/or health issues.

Sedgemoor District Council’s ‘Under Construction’: Awarded £126,000 over three years to fund the 100 Women First project, working with women in the Sedgemoor community who are looking for work or returning to the workplace, increasing their skills, confidence and resilience.

Bridgwater & Taunton College: Awarded £60,000 over three years to fund South Bristol Youth to support Year 9 students in four Bridgwater secondary schools to develop confidence and work skills, and awareness of apprenticeships as a future career path.

The Hinkley Point C Community Fund is part of a wider £20 million commitment of funding, provided by EDF Energy through Section 106 agreements, for communities that are affected by the development of the new nuclear power station, to promote their social, economic and environmental wellbeing and enhance their quality of life.

If you would like to find out more about grant funding from the HPC Community Fund, click here.

The next HPC Community Fund Open Grants deadline (for major grants of up to £50,000 and over £50,000) is Friday 3 January, 2020 and Friday 1 April. The next Small Grants deadline (for grants of up to £5,000) is Friday 17 January, 2020.

The Somerset VCSE Strategic Forum, in partnership with Spark Somerset, has launched the second Somerset VCSE State of the Sector Survey.

The survey, which will be run every three years, gives VCSE organisations large and small an opportunity to tell us about their organisation, the great work that they do, and any challenges they face.

It explores key areas such as income and expenditure, volunteering and workforce and has become a valuable resource for the voluntary and community sector.

The first State of the Sector Survey was run in 2016, and the findings have proved invaluable for a range of activities, including lobbying and fundraising. In addition, they are used to inform local government and funders of the scale and impact of our sector. You can view the report here.

Input is vital to ensure we understand fully the situation and views from the diverse range of charities, community groups and social purpose organisations working in our county.

You can take part in the survey here. It closes on Tuesday 14 January 2020.

As a thank you, everyone who participates in the survey will be entered into a draw to win a donation of £250 for their organisation*.

 

*T&Cs apply.

Somerset business TelePA is celebrating 15 years of trading this year, and to mark the occasion they are offering to support telephone calls for local charities, free of charge, for a period of two years. Somerset Community Foundation is taking advantage of this generous offer and TelePA are managing the extra phone calls they receive during their Surviving Winter appeal 2019/20.

Judith Ludovino from TelePA explained: “By using TelePA’s services, free of charge, small charities such as Somerset Community Foundation can always be responsive to donors – nobody wants to decide to donate then be greeted by an answerphone.  Our very experienced local team will make sure every caller knows how much their contribution is valued.”

Laura Blake, Development Director at Somerset Community Foundation added: “We are thrilled to be able to benefit from TelePA’s generous support this year. During our Surviving Winter appeal, we receive a large number of calls from generous donors who want to pledge their support, which can be challenging for us as a small team. With TelePA’s support, we can answer every single call from our donors and ensure we raise as much as we can to help older people experiencing fuel poverty across Somerset.”

To find out more about Surviving Winter, click here.

Tom Chiffers, Partner at the firm, said: “The Wells office of Mogers Drewett Solicitors are excited to be working with Somerset Community Foundation and The Somerset Fund. We are proud to have been based in Somerset for over 100 years, and supporting Somerset Community Foundation enables us to give something back to the charities and the people of the County we love.”

All donations to The Somerset Fund are matched by 50% and awarded as grants to small, local charities across the county. 

 

BLOG POST

By Laura Blake, Development Director

I don’t know about you, but I love Christmas. I start to get excited in November and start making plans for how I’ll celebrate with friends and family. I start thinking about how I’ll decorate the house, what we’ll eat at Christmas dinner, the gifts we’ll give and the smiles on the faces of those we give them to.

But for many of our neighbours, Christmas – and the long, dark, cold winter – can be a particularly tough time. A time when feelings of loneliness can come to the surface. This can be amplified by the pressure for Christmas to be a magical time spent with loved ones.

One in six older people in Somerset often feel lonely. Many of our neighbours live alone, some without transport. For many people, winter has come to be a time of feeling isolated and experiencing poor mental health.

But loneliness affects everyone, whatever your age. It affects young people who may feel they have no one they can turn to in difficult times. It affects new parents, who may be struggling to cope with the demands of parenting or the effect that becoming a parent has on their identity. It affects those who live alone, and those who live with family. Extroverts and introverts alike.

For almost 10 years, Somerset Community Foundation’s Surviving Winter appeal has provided vital grants to older people living in fuel poverty. Supported by generous local donors, we make grants to over 500 households to keep older people safe, warm and well each winter.

But we want to do more to tackle the loneliness and isolation that makes winter such a tough time for so many people. We want to fund 40 community Christmas meals this year to bring people together, reduce loneliness and keep our communities strong.

Sharing a meal, laughter and a chat is one of the simplest ways we can feel connected to others. Bringing people together from across a community to share a meal is a powerful way to reduce loneliness and create new friendships that can last long beyond winter.

We’re looking for generous local companies who can donate £250 to sponsor a community Christmas meal.

Every company that donates £250 or more will receive a Somerset Community Foundation Christmas e-card to send in place of Christmas cards to their clients and colleagues to celebrate their support.

To find out more or donate to the campaign, please visit www.somersetcf.org.uk/Christmas or get in touch with me at laura.blake@somersetcf.org.uk or on 01749 344949.

Together, we can make Christmas merry and brighter for our communities.

Somerset Community Foundation has launched this year’s Surviving Winter campaign, which encourages people who can afford it to donate some or all of their Winter Fuel Payment to help local people who are unable to afford to heat their homes.

Based on the most recent available data, we can estimate that around 6,500 of our pensioner neighbours in Somerset face a stark decision between heating and eating. Shockingly, in Somerset, almost 11% of households live in fuel poverty, and cold weather is a prime cause of over 500 preventable deaths a year – often worsened by living in older or isolated rural homes.

Last year over 500 elderly people living in Somerset were helped to stay warm and well through the cold winter months, thanks to the generosity of local donors who donated over £100,000 to Surviving Winter.t around 6,500 of our pensioner neighbours in Somerset face a stark decision between heating and eating. Shockingly, in Somerset, almost 11% of households live in fuel poverty, and cold weather is a prime cause of over 500 preventable deaths a year – often worsened by living in older or isolated rural homes.

SCF hopes to build on the fantastic support they received last year to help even more older people in the county this winter. Thanks to support from a generous funder and The Big Give, online donations to the campaign that are made during the week-long Big Give Christmas Challenge – midday Tuesday 3 December to midday Tuesday 10 December – will be doubled! So, not only will your donation be worth twice as much, but SCF will also be able to help even more older and isolated people across Somerset feel warm, safe and well this winter.

SCF is delighted to announce that Glastonbury Festival organiser and long-time Surviving Winter supporter Michael Eavis CBE has endorsed the campaign for another year. Michael goes on to say: “The Surviving Winter campaign appealed to me right from the start. If everyone who can afford it gave their Winter Fuel Payment to Somerset Community Foundation’s Surviving Winter appeal, hundreds of our pensioners across Somerset would have a more comfortable winter. I’m very happy to donate my Winter Fuel Payment to Somerset Community Foundation again this year.”

Help Somerset Community Foundation to help more isolated and vulnerable older people this year.

If you would like to donate to Surviving Winter, visit www.somersetcf.org.uk/winter or call 01749 344949. Don’t forget that all donations made online between midday Tuesday 3 December and midday Tuesday 10 December will be doubled. A donation form is also available to download here.

For information on how to apply for a Surviving Winter grant, please contact either Community Council for Somerset on 01823 331222 or Age UK Somerset on 01823 345610 

Supporters, friends, trustees and charity organisations from across the county attended Somerset Community Foundation’s (SCF) Annual Celebration last month at Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre in Taunton.

Guests heard from Kevin Whitmarsh, Board Member at event sponsors Old Mill, who spoke passionately about the importance of charitable giving as a way to strengthen communities and expressed his pride about the company’s new partnership with the Foundation.

Jane Barrie, Chairman at SCF, spoke of a record-breaking year for the Foundation, with funding of £2.6m awarded which touched the lives of over 40,000 local people in Somerset. 

Bringing the Foundation’s work to life were three groups that received funding from SCF in 2018/19: The Balsam Centre (Wincanton), The Open Door (Taunton), and Youth Unlimited (Bridgwater). A representative from each group talked about their work changing lives in their communities and the difference that SCF’s donors have made to their organisations.

Mark Woodcock from Taunton Open Door, a homeless day shelter, told us Graham’s story about becoming homeless and the many years of support the charity provided to help him move into independent living. You can read Graham’s story here.

SCF Chief Executive, Justin Sargent made a passionate speech about the vital importance of small, grassroots charities to keeping our communities strong, and outlined the Foundation’s commitment to supporting innovative social enterprises alongside convening the local voluntary sector to support shared learning.

Keynote speakers were The Hon. Michael Samuel and Julia Samuel MBE, who both delivered inspiring talks on the subject: Reciprocal gifts – the rewards from giving, where they spoke about their charitable work over the last 25 years as Founders and Trustees of charities and the deep satisfaction they gained from these relationships.

Financial experts Old Mill have launched a new strategic partnership with Somerset Community Foundation (SCF), with a fund to support local charities across Somerset, Wiltshire and Devon.

Kevin Whitmarsh from Old Mill speaking about the importance of local philanthropy at SCF’s recent Annual Celebration

The Old Mill Fund was officially launched in October with presentations to staff by Development Director at SCF, Laura Blake, at the firm’s four offices in Wells, Yeovil, Melksham and Exeter. Board Member at Old Mill, Kevin Whitmarsh, also announced Old Mill’s partnership to around 100 influential attendees at SCF’s Annual Celebration recently, which was generously sponsored by the firm.

The Old Mill Fund will bring together donations from the company with funds raised by teams in each of their offices across the South West to support small, local charities. The Fund will focus on three key areas:

Staff at Old Mill are also giving their time and expertise as volunteers at local charities, helping to upskill and strengthen the existing teams.

Kevin Whitmarsh said: “Supporting local causes and our charitable giving is really important to us at Old Mill. It’s more than just giving money to local charities, it’s about being able to give back and to help make an impact to the communities we live and work in. When we hear all the incredible stories from individuals, families and community groups that have benefited from these grants it reminds us of the importance of being able to contribute both as individuals and as a business.”

Laura Blake added: “We are incredibly proud of our partnership with Old Mill which will unlock vital funding and skills for local good causes. The Old Mill Fund builds on many years of the firm providing generous support for local charities and we are greatly looking forward to making a lasting impact on communities together.”

Groups wishing to apply for funding from The Old Mill Fund should apply through SCF’s Foundation Grants programme, which opens for applications quarterly.

If you run a business and would like to know more about creating a fund with Somerset Community Foundation or supporting local good causes, please contact Laura Blake, Development Director, on laura.blake@somersetcf.org.uk 

A networking event hosted by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) was recently held for the recipients of grants from the Hinkley Point C (HPC) Community Fund at St George’s Parish Centre in Wembdon.

The Fund, provided by EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C Project and managed by SCF, was launched in November 2017. So far it has awarded over £2 million in grants to projects and initiatives that help mitigate the impacts and increase the opportunities arising from the construction of the new power station. The event was an opportunity for community groups, charities and public sector agencies to learn more about the projects and activities the Fund has supported, as well as develop new partnerships and relationships.

Around 60 people from nearly 45 different organisations came together to enjoy ‘speed networking’ alongside more leisurely networking, over tea and cake. Over a dozen groups showcased the work they have delivered in the community, including Bridgwater Photographic Society; Sydenham Table Tennis Club, Bridgwater; Escape Support Group, Taunton; Stand Against Violence, Taunton; and Ups and Downs Southwest.

Val Bishop, Programmes Director at Somerset Community Foundation said: “We are delighted that we are able to host our first networking event for the organisations who have been awarded grants from the HPC Community Fund since it first launched in late 2017. From Wembdon Art Group, who received £400, to The Nelson Trust, who received £368,000; all these groups are changing lives within our communities. This event is an opportunity to share and celebrate their successes, and hopefully foster partnerships which will result in new work in the future.”

Wilstockhub was awarded £300,000 in July of this year towards the costs of building a new community facility in Wilstock, Bridgwater. Lucinda Spelman-Ives, the Chair of Trustees at Wilstockhub, attended the event and said: “We found the HPC Community Fund Networking Day really useful for connecting with other grant holders, sharing our inspiring stories and enabling future collaborations. It was such a friendly atmosphere and a great opportunity for everyone to showcase their projects. To receive such a fantastic reaction from others really builds confidence in what you are aiming to achieve. I came away on cloud nine, it was such a brilliant day. 

“We were absolutely delighted to receive our grant from the HPC Community Fund earlier this year. Wilstock and Stockmoor are attractive new developments comprising 1345 homes already built, with another 400+ which are in the process of being built. They are just 13 miles from Hinkley Point C, and with few community resources. The grant will go towards building a desperately needed new community centre.”

If you have an idea for a community project and would like to find out more about grant funding from the HPC Community Fund please call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949 or visit: www.hpcfunds.co.uk

The next HPC Community Fund Small Grants deadline (for grants of up to £5,000) is Friday 28 November and the Open Grants deadline (for major grants of up to £50,000 and over £50,000) is Friday 3 January, 2020.

Local community housing projects and charities are being urged to put their case forward as Nationwide, the world’s largest building society, makes £500,000 available to help make a difference to communities across the region.

The Society is inviting applications – via Somerset Community Foundation – for grants of between £10,000 and £50,000 for housing projects that will support the most vulnerable in local communities.  

So far Nationwide has awarded £7 million in grants to more than 180 projects and will be investing over £20 million in housing projects across the UK over 5 years. The programme is being delivered with support from UK Community Foundations, the national network for all accredited Community Foundations across the country.

Charities, community land trusts and housing co-operatives in Somerset can apply for grants of between £10,000 and £50,000 for one or two years to make a change in their local area. The application process closes on 22 November 2019 and successful applicants will be notified by the end of February 2020.

Heidi Yorke, Associate Programmes Manager for the Nationwide Community Grants at Somerset Community Foundation said: “Finding safe, affordable and sustainable housing is a growing challenge for communities across Somerset. That’s why we’re proud to work with Nationwide Building Society to fund the organisations tackling this issue on the ground and supporting those who need it most.”

Andrew Manning, Nationwide’s Regional Director for the South West Region went on to say: “In 2007, our members voted for us to donate at least one percent of our pre-tax profits to good causes and asked that we focus on tackling housing issues. We recognise there is a housing crisis, resulting in many people living in unsuitable, insecure or unaffordable accommodation. So, to help make a real and lasting difference, we are aiming to make over £20 million available in grant funding for housing-related charities and organisations across the UK over 5 years. We are delighted to open the local application process and encourage housing related charities and organisations to apply so that they can collectively benefit from the £500,000 award that is available to communities.” 

To see examples of projects previously funded through the programme, click here.

A Community Board, which is comprised of Nationwide members and employees, will review all the grant applications and award grants of up to a £50,000. The Board and Nationwide branches within the region will also be providing time and expertise to these charities.

Full details can be found at www.nationwide.co.uk/communityfunding, in local Nationwide branches in the region, by visiting our webpage or by emailing Heidi Yorke

The Active Living Programme provides small grants of up to £2,000 to grass roots community groups and local charities that promote and help older people in their community to stay physically and mentally active in later life – but there’s not long left: the deadline to apply is Monday 21 October.

The grants have been made available by the Public Health team at Somerset County Council and the application process is administered by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF). Kirsty Campbell, Programme Manager at SCF, explains: “Groups and organisations interested in applying should be active in their community, providing and promoting opportunities for older people in Somerset to be more physically active, less isolated and lonely, more independent and better informed of health and wellbeing information and advice.  We especially welcome applications for new and innovative project proposals which could achieve these outcomes, but hurry – there’s not long left to apply!”

Eighteen groups have been awarded grants totalling over £23,000 in the last few months, including local friendship clubs and community centres that provide activities for older people in all areas of the county.  These  are:

•             The Friday Club, Curry Rivel

•             Beckington and District Day Centre

•             Crispin Community Social Group, Street

•             Round Window Club, Curry Mallet

•             East Brent Mini Day Centre, Highbridge

•             Good Fellowship Club, Yeovil

•             Henhayes Centre, Crewkerne

•             Nether Stowey Wednesday Club

•             Newton Road Active Living Friendship Group, Taunton

•             North Taunton Partnership

•             PACE, Frome

•             Sedgemoor Community Partnership, Highbridge

•             Stawley Rural Community Active Living Centre, Wellington

•             Sunny Gardens, Frome

•             Wedmore Tuesday Club

•             West Buckland Friendship Club

•             WHERE, Wellington

•             Wiveliscombe Mini Day Centre

To find out more about the Active Living Programme and how to apply please click here or call Kirsty Campbell, Programmes Manager on 01749 344949.

 

The Discovery Community Fund has been created to help adults with learning disabilities and autism live fulfilling lives in their own communities and grants of £500-£50,000 are now available. Applications should be submitted by Thursday 31 October, 2019.

Luke Joy-Smith, Managing Director at Discovery, explains: “We want to fund creative projects that can bring about real changes in people’s lives. That might be by creating social networks for young adults to make sure they don’t become isolated, helping people into employment, making community spaces more accessible by installing a Changing Places toilet, or combatting hate crime.”

Groups can apply for a grant via Somerset Community Foundation (SCF), which is administering the fund. Andy Ridgewell, Programmes Manager at SCF, continues: “To apply, applicants need to explain, in 500 words, what they need funding for, how many people will benefit, what difference you think it will make, and how much you think it will cost. If your project is a good fit for the Discovery Community Fund, we’ll ask you to complete a full application form. Grants will be awarded by March 2020.”

The fund has already supported nine projects across Somerset, including Orchard Vale Trust, which has residential homes in Shepton Mallet, Cheddar and Wookey, near Wells. The £15,651 grant from the Discovery Fund has enabled them to run a number of digital inclusion sessions, which will build confidence and address risks so that adults with learning disabilities can live more independent lives.

Liz Page, CEO at Orchard Vale Trust, said: “We are really excited to deliver a project that supports adults with learning disabilities to access online opportunities in a safe way. A big thank you to Somerset Community Foundation and Discovery for making this happen!”

The fund has six priority areas and the funding is likely to support projects that can address one or more of these themes:

To find out more click here or call Andy Ridgewell, Programme Manager on: 01749 344949.

Somerset Community Foundation inherited Sing for Somerset – the wonderful Christmas carol service held each December in Wells Cathedral – from HTV in 2006. We have been delivering the free-to-attend service since then, raising almost £100,000 in charitable donations from generous members of the public who have attended the festive event over the years. It is with enormous pride and a slightly heavy heart that we share the news that we have passed the baton to another charity: the NSPCC will be taking over the reins from this year on.

Chair of NSPCC Somerset Volunteer Fundraisers, Moira Smyth said: “The NSPCC are thrilled to have been chosen to carry forward this much loved community event. We are very aware of the special place it holds in many people’s hearts and are working to keep the service’s unique characteristics. There is an African saying: “It takes a village to raise a child,” and similarly the NSPCC needs the whole community to come together to safeguard our children.  

“Community is at the heart of what we do, be it the groups of volunteers, care professionals or members of the rescue services – they all play a part in the safety of our children. We look forward to seeing many of you at the free service at Wells Cathedral on Saturday 14 December.”

If you would like to help the NSPCC fund this event by donating or advertising in the programme, or have some spare time and would like to volunteer for the charity, please email Moira Smyth or Anna.Keir@nspcc.org.uk or call 01823 412405.

Burnham and Weston Energy CIC, the owner of the Wick Farm community solar project, is delighted to announce the Burnham and Weston Energy Sunshine Fund is open to applications from 1 October – 15 November, 2019. The Fund, which is managed by Somerset Community Foundation, welcomes applications for funding from local, community-led organisations, small voluntary groups, clubs, charities, social enterprises, schools, and health centres for a range of activities that will have an environmental, social or economic legacy. Communities covering an area stretching up the Somerset coastline from Burnham-on-Sea to Weston-super-Mare, and inland to Mark and Winscombe, can apply for grants of up to £2,500.

Grants totalling over £15,500 have already been awarded from the Fund to ten local groups this year. The groups that have benefited so far, are:

Johnny Boxhall from the Friends of Grove Park in Weston-super-Mare said: “We’re delighted that the Burnham and Weston Community Sunshine Fund is supporting our ongoing efforts to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill from our park. Grove Park is our town’s most visited open space, popular with residents and visitors alike. Naturally, this can result in large amounts of litter. Our volunteers attach extra bags in areas of the park where litter has historically been dropped. This grant will provide new recycling option bins as part of a pilot scheme to improve recycling ratios. We will be emptying and recording the use of each to determine people’s engagement. The bins will also help make the park even more appealing to the community and everyone who visits.”

For further information email Andy Ridgewell Programmes Manager, or call on 01749 344949 or visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/burnhamandweston

We’re delighted to welcome estate agents Wilkie May and Tuckwood as our newest supporters of The Somerset Fund. The team, based across Somerset and Devon, will get involved in a range of fundraising events throughout the coming year to help us change lives across Somerset. 

All donations to The Somerset Fund are matched by 50% and awarded as grants to small, local charities across the county. Our first round of grants in May 2019 has supported 28 groups, with causes ranging from youth groups to mental health services and parenting support for new mums.

Somerset Community Foundation is encouraging charities and community groups working across Somerset to apply for funding for projects [from Monday 16 September] that encourage young people to take action on issues that matter to them.

Groups that engage young people aged 10-20 in activities such as campaigning, fundraising or volunteering should apply to the #iwill Fund. The Fund is open to applications on Monday 16 September and the closing date is Friday 25 October. Successful applicants should expect their grants to be awarded by the end of the year.

Andy Ridgewell, Programmes Manager at Somerset Community Foundation said: “We’re excited to receive applications from groups working with young people who are keen to make a difference in their communities. Young people have enormous potential make a positive change and we’re proud to support local groups working with the next generation of volunteers, campaigners and activists. When making your application we would also like you to consider the Somerset Youth Parliament’s local priority concerns for 2019-21, which are: the environment, youth voice, and youth safety and empowerment.”

Grant funding ranging between £1,000 and £5,000 is available to groups including registered charities, community groups, social enterprises and CICs and are being awarded in partnership with the Somerset Youth Parliament and Somerset County Council, which is providing match funding.

Councillor Frances Nicholson, the County Council’s Lead Member for Children’s Services, said: “Somerset’s Youth Parliament clearly demonstrates how passionate young people are in our County about issues that affect them and the wider community.

“It’s fantastic that children and young people will have the chance to take part in campaigns and projects or volunteer to help improve the lives of others, thanks to this initiative.”

Langport and Huish Episcopi Youth Group were awarded an #iwill grant in 2018. Their project delivered cooking and baking sessions for young people, many of whom were from lower income households and unable to cook.

Senior youth worker Annie Shillabeer explained: “Not only did the young people learn valuable new cookery skills, the project also broke down barriers between generations: A local baker taught them how to bake bread, and they also learnt how to make simple soups. The group then cooked and shared their food with a group of younger children and also the local lunch club for older people in the village. Seven of our young people have since taken their Basic Food Hygiene Certificate and are progressing to Level 2. The project really was a great success and I’m absolutely delighted with the outcome. We have been able to make plans for the future and are now running regular cookery lessons.  It’s a real pleasure to see our young people learning and using new skills.”

The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport are each investing £20 million seed funding over four years to create the #iwill Fund.

If you would like to find out more about grant funding for projects that encourage young people to take social action in their communities, please call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949 or visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/iwill

 

Two organisations which have benefited from grants from the Hinkley Point C (HPC) Community Fund, administered by Somerset Community Foundation, have made a significant difference in their communities, particularly during the school summer holidays. With 3 million children in the UK at risk of going hungry during the school holidays, ‘Holiday Hunger’ is a reality for many low-income families, when faced with the cost of providing additional meals for their children. This is often combined with increased childcare costs.

The Quantock Foodbank, based in Watchet, received £2,563.34 from the HPC Community Fund as a start-up grant in October 2018. As a result of the funding, they have supported 961 people over the last year, 431 of whom were children. Last August they worked with local churches and other charitable organisations to deliver 120 food bags to families in Watchet, Williton and the Quantock area. This year they are working with Exmoor National Park. These contributions are a lifeline for families unsure of where the next meal may come from.

Kathryn Flenley, chair of the Quantock Foodbank committee said: “The HPC Community Fund grant enabled our vision of a foodbank for Watchet, Williton and the Quantock area to become a reality, supporting individuals and families in crisis with food, toiletries and other essential household items until they can regain independence and financial stability. Without the support of the HPC Community Fund grant we would not have been able to get off the ground and succeed in making such a difference to those needing help.”

St Francis Youth Group were funded £5,000 in April 2018 by the HPC Community Fund to deliver their well-established holiday activities for young people on the Sydenham Estate in Bridgwater. Delivered by volunteers, the activities and day trips are a welcome relief for families on low incomes who may not be able to afford additional activities and entertainments for their children during the school holidays.

Gerald Swayne, senior organiser at Bridgwater-based St Francis Church Holiday Club, said: “Many single parent and low-income families look forward to the coach trips and holiday activities that we offer. For some, it’s their only days out during the school holiday.  Admission costs to adventure parks, for example, simply would not be affordable and – as many of the families we support don’t own their own car – impossible to reach.”

The HPC Community Fund, which supports community projects that help to mitigate the impacts and increase the opportunities of the Hinkley Point C development, has also recently awarded almost £450,000 in grant funding to community groups including:

Halsway Manor: Awarded £39,000 to deliver an arts project in four primary schools and their communities, exploring community identity and cohesion in Somerset West and Taunton.

PROMISEworks: Awarded £109,953 to deliver a mentoring project for vulnerable children and young people in Bridgwater and the surrounding area.

The HPC Community Fund is part of a wider £20 million commitment of funding, provided by EDF Energy through Section 106 agreements, for communities that are affected by the development of the new nuclear power station, to promote their social, economic and environmental wellbeing and enhance their quality of life.

If you would like to find out more about grant funding from the HPC Community Fund, please call us on: 01749 344949 or visit: www.hpcfunds.co.uk


 

 

The Frome Cheese and Grain is the latest charity to secure a social investment from Somerset Community Foundation’s Somerset Social Enterprise Fund, enabling them to expand their café to increase revenue for the charity and invest in IT upgrades.

While the Cheese and Grain is perhaps best known as a performance venue, at its core is a locally-run community centre that o

rganises and hosts a range of accessible social, cultural, health, educational and training opportunities, reaching hundreds of local people every year.

The charity is almost entirely funded by its own social enterprise activities, including its hospitality enterprise and by acting as a regional ticket-office serving multiple venues, festivals and shows.

Steve Macarthur, General Manager at the Frome Cheese and Grain, said: “Carefully targeted investment is the key to our long-term sustainability and growth. Rigorous assessment and support from Somerset Community Foundation has ensured the investment is entirely right for us as an organisation. It will transform our kitchens and café, hugely enhance our digital infrastructure and increase our overall sustainability.”

The social investment includes a blend of loan and grant funding, funded by Somerset County Council and the Growth Fund, an initiative of Access – the Foundation for Social Investment in conjunction with The National Lottery Community Fund and Big Society Capital.

Justin Sargent, Chief Executive of Somerset Community Foundation said: “We are delighted to have been able to offer this social investment to the Cheese and Grain. It illustrates perfectly the benefits that a social investment programme can offer local charities, enabling them to grow and become more independent on a sustainable basis.”

In the past four years over £700,000 of blended social investment has been awarded or agreed in principle to seventeen organisations.

Cllr David Hall, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Planning and Community Infrastructure, added: “Social entrepreneurs play an important role in Somerset. Frome Cheese and Grain plays a key role in the local community and, with the right support, can grow and flourish from the firm foundations that have been established.”

If you are thinking about growing or increasing your organisation’s sustainability and independence and are interested in finding out how social investment could help you achieve your goals, please contact Justin Sargent on 01749 344949 or email justin.sargent@somersetcf.org.uk

 

 

 

BLOG POST

By Kirsty Campbell, Programmes Manager

After saying a fond farewell to Jocelyn Blacker, who retired after 15 years at the Foundation, I stepped into her very large shoes in April of this year and started my new role as Programmes Manager. What I’m enjoying most about this new role is getting to know the community groups, charities and more generally the VCSE sector in Somerset, better. My new role has allowed me the opportunity to get out of the office and meet groups, and also attend some interesting collaboration meetings.

One of the first groups I had the opportunity to visit the Balsam Centre in Wincanton, finding out more about their work and at the same time speak to members of Guardian Adoptive Parental Support (GAPS), a recent grant recipient, who meet at the Centre. Hearing about the many difficulties and stresses that families face when raising adopted children or those of other family members such as grandchildren, was eye opening, and how families are very much in need of the support GAPS provides. I was also impressed with the work of the Balsam Centre, which is clearly a vital part of the local community. It is a hub of activities for all ages to promote health and wellbeing, a place to learn new skills and to connect with others.

I’ve also been able to meet several friendship groups for older people who provide social connection and activities to help people stay active and maintain their wellbeing. For group members getting out is always difficult and access to transport is often a problem. All of these groups, the majority of which are run by older people themselves, are doing a fantastic job reducing isolation and loneliness.

Most recently I had the pleasure of visiting the toddler group Little Saints in Williton. As with so many rural areas, there is very little support for isolated parents. The closure of Children’s Centres has increased this problem and Little Saints works with Home-start West Somerset and Health Visitors, to reach parents who are isolated. The toddler group provides not only a safe place for children to build social and other skills, but also for parents to be able to get out and socialise. It was great to meet parents and hear directly from them about how they benefit from the group, and it took me back to the days when I was an isolated parent living in a village with young children and no transport, remembering just how vital a toddler group can be. It was great to hear Little Saints is establishing a new group in Watchet in an area where there is currently little provision.

Hamdon Youth Club, which serves the villages of Stoke sub Hamdon and Norton sub Hamdon, wanted to thank their funders and I was delighted to represent SCF at an event arranged during one of their weekly sessions. It was fantastic to see these young people socialising and clearly enjoying themselves, while also learning key life skills and gaining knowledge to help them in the future. While talking with some of the young people, their recognition that the youth club tries hard to make sure they enjoy the sessions came across, commenting that “it’s nice they do that for us”, which clearly made them feel appreciated, an important thing that can often be forgotten.

Personal Achievements Creative Experiences (PACE) in Frome held an open day earlier in the year and I was very pleased to be able to take up the invitation to join them. PACE is a group for people with mobility difficulties who meet once a week to enjoy activities and lunch together. Again, the members of the group said how much they appreciated having somewhere to come to socialise, learn and try new things. In fact, many said this is the only time they get out each week and how important the club is to them; the friendships that have been established were clear to see.

One issue running through these visits is rural isolation, and this is the first topic to be looked at in our series of ‘Hidden Somerset’ reports. I would urge to you to read our Hidden Somerset – Rural Isolation report and let us know your thoughts, and any insights you may have.

What struck me most on my visits was hearing the personal stories of those that benefit from the excellent work happening in our communities. These stories really bring home the challenges people face but also how, with help, they are overcoming them – showing us what community is about.

From Monday 5 August, community groups in the Somerset West and Taunton council area can apply for small grants of up to £1,000. The Somerset West and Taunton Voluntary and Community Sector Small Grants Fund, managed by Somerset Community Foundation on behalf of the Council, is accepting applications until Friday 6 September.

Local charities, community groups and social enterprises can apply for funding towards projects, capital purchases or ongoing running costs (also known as core costs).

Last year, 23 local groups were awarded a total of £20,355 from the fund:

Further funding is also available from the Big Energy Switch Fund. Grants of up to £500 for community-led activities that help reduce energy costs and carbon emissions, such as fitting LED lighting or ‘smart’ controls in community buildings or minor measures in the homes of vulnerable people, are open for applications until Friday 6 September.

To apply for funding from the Somerset West and Taunton Voluntary and Community Sector Small Grants Fund, visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/swt-smallgrants or for the Big Energy Switch Fund visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/bigenergyswitch

If you run a local community project and would like to find out about the range of grants and social investments on offer from Somerset Community Foundation then please call 01749 344949 or visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk

In 2016 we began asking everyone who had applied for a grant from us in the last year to complete a short customer satisfaction survey. This year just over 100 people took the time to tell us what they think about our service. Below we share the results of the survey, what we think they mean, and what we plan to do in response.

A note on our survey

We used Microsoft Forms to capture our applicant’s responses. It’s a good (and free) way to collect people’s views online. We sent our survey to over 400 people who were asked to complete several questions and then add any comments they wanted at the end. The highlights of this are included below.

We decided to keep the survey anonymous, as we wanted respondents to tell us exactly what they thought. However, that does mean we can’t talk to anyone who raises a specific concern.

 

How did you find out about our funding?

Our ambition is to the first funder that someone thinks of when they are starting a new group or project in Somerset. This still isn’t the case, but we continue to work hard so that everyone who needs to know about our funding is aware of what is available.

 

 

 

 

How do you rate our service?

There are various stages in our service when a grant applicant can have a good or bad experience of our system or staff. We asked respondents to score six of these stages on a scale of 0 to 5 (with 0 being ‘unacceptable’ and 5 being ‘excellent’).

Once again, all six stages scored an average of 4 (‘good’) and above. Most respondents were clearly quite happy with the service we provided to them and we don’t think we need to change anything significant at this stage.

However, when reading through people’s comments a concern remained around the speed of decision making. We’ve made efforts to keep applicants informed of the progress of their application, but delays can still occur when we have to talk to individual donors (the Foundation currently manages over 80 different funds on behalf of individuals, families, business, and local government).

 

 

Did you feel able to apply for what you really needed?

It is important that groups can apply for what they actually need, and not what a funder is able or willing to offer. We manage over 80 different funds, many with their own restrictions, but we work hard to combine these resources to offer flexible grants to the community.

While we are therefore unable to have an entirely open grants programme for Somerset, it is encouraging that most respondents felt ‘quite a bit’ or ‘very much’ able to apply for what they really needed.

 

 

 


Overall, how fairly do you think the Foundation treated you?

We are your Community Foundation and it is essential that what we do is fair and open. We asked applicants whether they felt they were treated fairly and 85% responded that they felt treated either ‘fair’ or ‘extremely fairly’. This is slightly lower than previous years while, for the first time, more than one applicant felt we treated them ‘extremely unfairly’. From reading people’s comments, this appears to have been caused by applicant’s feeling that criteria were unclear and that time had been wasted on their part.

 



How will we respond to the survey?

Overall, the survey results suggest that most people are happy with the service we provide. However, we are concerned that a small number of people consider that we have treated them unfairly. We think the best way to remedy this is to continue to focus on building relationships between our grants team and those who apply for our funds, aiming to provide clear guidance on when we think you should apply and when we think you should consider an alternative funder.

Finally, we look forward to talking to you in the future about your projects and ideas, and would welcome any thoughts you might have about our service. You can contact the grants team on 01749 344949 or email info@somersetcf.org.uk

More than 20 generous individuals have joined our Philanthropy Network since it was launched in 2018. Members are invited to exclusive and inspiring events, where they can gain insights from local charities and our team about the big issues affecting local communities. There are plenty of opportunities to network, and members can also benefit from expert advice on their charitable giving. Members make a donation of £1,000 or more annually to the Foundation which helps us provide funding and support to small, local charities.

Laura Blake, Development Director at SCF, said: “We’re delighted that our Philanthropy Network has attracted so much support so far this year and are very grateful to each of our members for their generous support. Through the Network, we are building a community of passionate people who want to change the world on their doorstep. Their insights, funding and expertise will all play an important role in helping the Foundation to make a greater impact on our communities in Somerset in the years to come.”

For more information, or to join Somerset Philanthropy Network, please contact Laura Blake on 01749 344949 or e-mail laura.blake@somersetcf.org.uk.

 

Did you know that almost 4,000 pensioners in rural villages in Somerset have no access to transport? Or that the growth in young people’s loneliness is higher than any other age group?

These were just two of the findings from Somerset Community Foundation’s recently launched Hidden Somerset: Rural Isolation research report. The new Hidden Somerset reports are designed to shine a spotlight on, and raise awareness of, some of the important issues affecting people in Somerset – as well as the great work being done by local charities and groups. Thanks to generous funding from The Fairfield Charitable Trust, the first report, focusing on Rural Isolation, was published in July 2019. Further reports, each of which will focus on a different issue, including homelessness and social mobility, are planned to follow later this year and into 2020.

The inaugural Hidden Somerset launch event was held at the Rural Enterprise Centre, on The Royal Bath and West Showground. Invited guests heard a presentation of the findings of the research from Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) Programmes Director Val Bishop, which revealed that:

The chairman of a local rural community group responded to the survey: “Lack of transportation is my number one problem. If I can get transport to pick up the elderly – even those who live a short distance away – I could straight away increase the number of members, especially those who are on their own. We could then also support the surrounding villages at our meetings.”

A panel at the event, made up of four charities, social enterprises and community groups, brought to life some of the more challenging aspects of rural life and the creative and entrepreneurial ways they are tackling local issues. A representative from Exmoor Young Voices – which works to highlight the needs of young people in the area – spoke of the grave difficulties for younger people who want to stay living on Exmoor in light of high housing costs, low wages, and limited employment opportunities. The group are lobbying for changes to local planning regulations to enable more young families to self-build and are looking to start a loan fund to help them buy land.

Raj Singh, Deputy Chief Executive of the Community Council of Somerset was one of the panellists, and highlighted the vital importance of Village Agents and their innovative and flexible approach to helping individual villagers across Somerset. Raj shared a story of an elderly and isolated resident stuck in hospital because he needed a simple adjustment made to his home that no agency had been able to resolve. The local village agent was quickly able to purchase and install the necessary equipment to get him home at a cost of less than £10, as well as helping the resident to build new friendships which reduced isolation and improved his overall health and wellbeing.

Justin Sargent, Chief Executive at Somerset Community Foundation, said: “Isolation is one of, if not the greatest ‘hidden’ issue that communities face here in Somerset and it affects thousands of people across the county. Building stronger communities is essential if our rural areas are going to remain vibrant and inclusive places to live, and local philanthropy has to be a part of this.

“One of the most obvious and profound effects of isolation is loneliness, which can have a significant impact on both mental and physical health. But it is also an issue that local community action is very effective at addressing, preventing other more serious problems from escalating. The discussions that our Hidden Somerset report has so far inspired are helping us identify specific roles that we, and our donors, can play to make the greatest difference. Most immediately, we will increase the impact of our annual Surviving Winter campaign – where people can donate their Winter Fuel Payment to help people who are living in fuel poverty – by funding more community winter dinners around Christmas time, bringing more people together. However, I am sure there is much more we can – and will – do in the future.”

The next Hidden Somerset report will look at homelessness, and will be published in November 2019. If you are interested in supporting the work of Somerset Community Foundation and would like to obtain a copy of Hidden Somerset: Rural Isolation, please call 01749 344949 or email: info@somersetcf.org.uk

On midsummer’s day the VCSE Strategic Forum held its annual Leader’s Conference at Monks Yard, Ilminster. Around 80 leaders from the Voluntary and Community sector across Somerset attended to hear presentations from their peers, including inspirational keynote speeches from the Chief Executive of the NSPCC and former CEO of the Big Lottery, Peter Wanless, who called on the sector to be bold in their ambition and vision, and from Patrick Nash, founder of Enterprise Values, who spoke about his ‘not-for-loss’ approach to social change. Delegates also attended workshops delivered by digital specialists Cosmic and The Whole Story – a training programme which helps groups tell compelling stories. There was also lots of opportunity to network.

The next year’s Leaders Conference is already being planned so please do get in touch if you are interested in attending, by contacting: Alison Baker on: somersetvcse@gmail.com

The Strategic Forum also recently hosted two open forums, each with a specific theme. At the beginning of July around 60 people attended the Somerset VCSE Strategic Forum: Safer Communities conference at Long Sutton Golf course where they heard about the Safer Somerset Partnership, referral pathways, Somerset One Teams, and serious and organised crime across the county. Public sector officers from the County Council met with representatives from voluntary and community groups and discussed how they can work collaboratively to deliver long-term plans.

The Future of Social Care Interactive Workshop was held in mid-July, in Bridgwater. Those attending had the opportunity to explore the challenges faced in this area and heard from Stephen Chandler, Director of Adult Services at Somerset County Council, outlining why Somerset chose to engage with a recent Panorama television programme. Delegates also got the chance to hear from Senior Commissioners about initiatives already in place and a lively discussion ensued on how the VCSE sector can work together to address issues within Adult Social Care.

The HPC Community Fund, administered by Somerset Community Foundation, has recently awarded over £220,000 to four community groups. The Fund supports community projects that help mitigate the impacts and increase the opportunities of the Hinkley Point C development. The latest groups to benefit from the Open Grants programme, which mainly awards grants to larger applications, are:

Cheddar Catholic Church Community Hall: Awarded £25,000 to help rebuild a community hall in Cheddar.

I CAN (delivering in Bridgwater): Awarded £69,748 to fund a programme of targeted speech, language and communication interventions for children and young people in the Sydenham and Hamp areas of Bridgwater, as well as providing support for parents, and training for professionals.  

The Thomas Poole Library, Nether Stowey: Awarded £75,000 towards developing the library in Nether Stowey, including recruiting a Centre Manager and improving the accessibility and functionality of the facility for the whole community.

Wembdon Parklands and Community Together: Awarded £52,960 to enhance 11 acres of parkland situated adjacent to the Northern Distributor Road. The rejuvenation will focus on improvements for members of the community with mobility issues, disabilities and additional needs.

The HPC Community Fund Open Grants programme has two different application processes, depending on whether you are seeking funding for projects of under £50,000 or over £50,000. Visit www.hpcfunds.co.uk for more information.

The HPC Community Fund also delivers a Small Grants programme which awards grants of up to £5,000 or up to £10,000 over three years for voluntary groups and social enterprises that normally operate on less than £100,000 per year. Deadlines to apply tend to be around every 8 weeks, meaning funding is awarded on a regular basis.

In Charley’s Memory (ICM), a counselling service for young people based in Burnham-on-Sea, is now coming to the end of the first year of funding from the Small Grants programme. The organisation was awarded £10,000 in 2018 to establish their provision and deliver extra support both in Bridgwater and at the Hinkley Point C site, allowing important counselling activities to continue for at least another three years. The organisation has seen significant interest in their services and is now working on building a strong local presence.  As part of the funded project, ICM has been delivering presentations and drop-in sessions at Bridgwater and Taunton College and at the Hinkley Point C site, focusing on highlighting signs of mental ill-health and raising awareness of the support that is available for young people.

ICM was set up by Joanne Clement to help individuals and their families struggling with mental ill-health after her son, Charley, took his own life. The HPC Community Fund’s award panel was keen to fund the project; mental ill-health is an issue which affects one in four people and suicide is still the biggest cause of death for young men under the age of 45.

Dawn Carey, Operations Manager at In Charley’s Memory said: “The funding we have received from the HPC Community Fund has enabled us to support so many young adults. We simply would not have been able to do the work we have delivered – and will continue to deliver – both in the community, or at Hinkley Point C, to anywhere near this scale, before the grant. Mental health does not discriminate and to secure funding over a number of years will not only enable our project to grow but will also help it to become more sustainable.”

The HPC Community Fund is part of a wider £20 million commitment of funding, provided by EDF Energy through Section 106 agreements, for communities that are affected by the development of the new nuclear power station, to promote their social, economic and environmental wellbeing and enhance their quality of life.

If you run a local community project in Somerset and would like to find out more about grant funding from the HPC Community Fund or any other general community funding that may be available, please call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949 or visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk

It is with great sadness that we learned that former SCF trustee, Charles Clark, passed away last week. He is remembered with great fondness and appreciation for his support of the Foundation.

Charles was a trustee from 2005 to 2014, a period that saw the Foundation grow from its formative stages into a significant funder of grassroots charities throughout Somerset. During his period in office the Foundation grew its endowment by over £3.5m and awarded over £4m of funding to a wide variety of local causes.

Justin Sargent, Chief Executive, said: “Charles joined the Board at around the same time as I joined the SCF team. He helped me understand the county in a way few other people could and throughout his time as trustee we all benefitted from his advice and guidance, which was always delivered with great wit and wisdom.”

Charles helped raise several thousand pounds for the Foundation in the early days, through auctions, and he even organised the inaugural (and, to date, only) SCF cricket match!

More than anything, Charles always showed a great passion for Somerset, the work of our local charities, and a concern for those less fortunate within our communities.

Our thoughts are with Rebecca and his entire family at this sad time.

Local learning disability support provider Discovery is delighted to announce the first round of grants from the Discovery Community Fund have been awarded to seven community groups, totalling almost £90,000. The fund, managed by Somerset Community Foundation, aims to support improvements to the health and independence of adults with learning disabilities and autism right across the county of Somerset. It is the result of a partnership between Discovery and Somerset County Council.

Luke Joy-Smith, Managing Director at Discovery, said: “We want to use this fund to help people to live a full and active life and the first seven community groups will certainly do that, with a range of exciting and valuable activities. We are looking forward to seeing what these groups can do with their funds and to launching the next round of awards in September.”

One of the groups to benefit, Calvert Trust Exmoor, was awarded £10,000 worth of bursaries so that people with learning disabilities can attend their activity centre in Exmoor National Park. Mike Gray, Chief Executive Officer at Calvert Trust Exmoor, said: “We’re delighted and very grateful that Discovery has made this generous grant to our bursary fund. It means that we can give more of the county’s residents with learning disabilities and autism the opportunity to visit and benefit from taking part in our challenging, adventurous activities.”

Joy-Smith added: “If you deliver a service in Somerset that requires investment to become more inclusive and accessible to local people with learning disabilities and/or autism, then please do submit a proposal to Somerset Community Foundation when the fund reopens for applications in September. We accept applications from organisations of all types.”

Director of Adult Social Services at Somerset County Council, Stephen Chandler went on to say: “Our whole approach is about helping people with learning disabilities play an active role in their communities and raising aspirations about how they can live their lives. This grant scheme is an excellent way of supporting that, funding grassroots, community-driven projects that help make Somerset a more inclusive place to live.”

The seven groups to benefit from funding are:

If you run a local community project and would like to find out more about grant funding in general, please call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949 or visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk

Guest Blog

By Andrew Hanson, Somerset Education Business Partnership Manager

Developing the Somerset Education Business Partnership over the last year has been fascinating and rewarding. I’ve visited major employment sites such as Hinkley Point C and Numatic, and met with small business owners and not-for-profits firmly embedded in their communities.

The employment opportunities in Somerset are vast – yet so many of our young people aren’t aware of what is on their doorstep. Why would they be, when so often businesses are tucked away in business parks, industrial estates and farm units?

The good news is that schools are working hard to inform and prepare their students by providing a robust careers programme including regular ‘employer encounters’. There is good reason for this, as research shows that students who have four or more employer encounters are 86% less likely to leave school with no education, training or employment destination.

At Somerset Education Business Partnership we connect employers with schools and colleges so that businesses can create a talent pipeline and young people can prepare for work. Why? Because having good skills leads to better personal outcomes and having high quality jobs strengthens our communities. We know this intuitively and the statistics confirm it – but feedback from our partners and local young people is the best evidence…

Corinna attended a mock interview at Haygrove School and told me: “It gives you the confidence to go into a real interview.” Cora, from a major employer that is supporting our work, emailed us to say: “It was so lovely to be recognised for something that has made a difference to young people and their family’s lives.”

We always welcome new partners to inspire our young people – and whatever your background you will have something to contribute. To find out more contact me on andrew.hanson@somerset-ebp.co.uk or sign up to our newsletter to see the latest opportunities. I look forward to hearing from you.

Somerset furniture company, Myakka, supports carefully selected community groups across the county through the Myakka Grassroots Fund, which is administered by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF).

The latest to benefit from the Fund is Wincanton group, Guardian Adoptive Parental Support (GAPS). Set up in September 2017 by Liz Morley and Sammie Peckover, this inspiring group offers support to families caring for children under special guardianship orders and adoptive parents.

Special guardianship is a legal order where parental responsibility for a child unable to live with its birth parents is given to a carer, most often a relative. Sadly, this is usually the result of traumatic circumstances which can be anything from family breakdown to addiction issues.

Liz explains: “Families or adoptive parents who find themselves in this situation  are often completely on their own. Often families will have to move to a new area, and for grandparents it can mean a complete lifestyle change. The aim of GAPS is to provide ongoing emotional support and practical advice during what can be a truly harrowing time.”

Simon Whitehead, director of Myakka, attended one of the monthly meetings at the Balsam Centre with Kirsty Campbell, Programmes Manager at SCF, and presented a cheque for £2,500 to the group.

“It has been a real privilege to meet members and to be given an insight into some of the challenges they are facing,” he said. “For carers and adoptive parents to know that there is a friendly group of people who understand what they are going through and who are there to help is invaluable.”

Kirsty continued: “Somerset Community Foundation has been proud to work with Myakka over the years in order to support some great community groups in the Wincanton area. GAPS is a really good example of how this can work. They’re a grassroots group meeting the everyday needs of local families who have taken on special guardianship orders and adoptions.”

The funding will go towards the room hire and refreshments for the next year, as well as holiday activities and days out which can help to strengthen family bonds. “To ensure we are as effective as possible, we would also like to undertake safeguarding training,” said Liz. “This is just the beginning.  Ultimately we want every local authority in the country to have a GAPS group.”

For more information visit www.myakka.co.uk or email gapssomerset@gmail.com  

The Somerset Fund, managed by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF), has recently awarded its first grants to community groups in Somerset, supporting almost 30 projects across the county with grants of more than £26,000.

The fund supports local people of all ages by investing in a range of causes, including helping disadvantaged children and young people, improving people’s mental and physical health, supporting people with disabilities and combatting loneliness and isolation.

Grants of up to £1,500 are available for grassroots community groups that run on less than £50,000 per year and the funding is ‘unrestricted’, which means it can be used to pay for ongoing running costs.  Laura Blake, Development Director at SCF said: “We’re delighted with the groups we’ve been able to fund in the first round of The Somerset Fund thanks to our generous supporters. But we know there is still enormous demand for funding from charities across the county and are looking for new supporters to help us reach more of them this year.

Pictured: Active and In Touch, Frome

“We created The Somerset Fund to offer a simpler and more effective way for local businesses and families to give to good causes across the county, with the added benefit of match funding of 50%.  If you’re looking for an impactful way to support small, local charities I’d love to hear from you. Please email me on: laura.blake@somersetcf.org.uk or give me a call on 01749 344949.”

Somerset County Council is proud to support The Somerset Fund which provides an opportunity for businesses, communities and families to come together to change lives for the better. Cllr David Fothergill, Leader of Somerset County Council, said: “Well done to all the many community groups who have been successful in receiving a grant. From children and young people, to vulnerable adults and the elderly, the funds are sure to improve a range of lives across Somerset.  I’d also like to thank the many businesses who have donated to The Somerset Fund so far.  As can be seen, your donations all go a long way and to very worthy causes.”

Cheddar Community Partnership carries out activities which focus on areas of health, wellbeing, community, environment and economic development. They help strengthen communities and encourage people to be healthier and more active. John Pimblott, Director at Cheddar Community Partnership, said: “We want to extend the impact of our emotional wellbeing programme, which is currently available to primary and middle school children, to include younger children and their families, to help prevent later life issues. Evidence suggests that there are often younger children experiencing the same issues and anxieties as their older siblings, with no support mechanisms available to them.

“The Somerset Fund grant will be used to develop a pilot programme with Cheddar First School and Fairlands Middle School to build a sustainable and resilient culture of community, family and individuals to support children and young people.”

Groups awarded funding in this round of grants:

 

If you run a business and would like to find out more about how you could increase the impact of your giving, click here, call Laura Blake on the number below, or e-mail laura.blake@somersetcf.org.uk.

If you are involved in a local, grassroots community project and would like to find out more about how to apply for funding, please visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/somersetfund or call us.

 

 

We’re delighted to welcome law firm Stokes Partners as our newest supporters of The Somerset Fund. The team, based in Crewkerne, will  get involved in a range of fundraising events throughout the coming year to help us change lives across Somerset. Kit O’Brien, Partner at the firm, said: “Stokes Partners Solicitors are delighted to be working with The Somerset Fund. Our roots are firmly in Somerset and that’s something we’re very proud of. Supporting The Somerset Fund gives us a real opportunity to help give something back to some of the smaller charities who do such amazing work in our community.”

All donations to The Somerset Fund are matched by 50% and awarded as grants to small, local charities across the county. Our first round of grants in May 2019 has supported 28 groups, with causes ranging from youth groups to mental health services and parenting support for new mums.

Wessex Water Community Fund, managed by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF), has recently awarded its first grants to 14 projects across the county.

The Fund awarded £15,500 plus an additional £3,000 from SCF Foundation Grants and aims to bring communities together across the county, offering grants of up to £1,500 to smaller community groups and charities.

Justin Sargent, Chief Executive at Somerset Community Foundation said: “We are absolutely delighted to be working in partnership with Wessex Water to deliver the Wessex Water Community Fund in our county. Building stronger communities in our towns and villages is absolutely key to improving the wellbeing and quality of life of so many people across Somerset, particularly those who are isolated, marginalised or disadvantaged in other ways. This fund will make a difference to hundreds of people.”

The funded projects include a £1,450 grant to Openstorytellers in Frome. They will use the funding to run a project called Be Green, which will include educational workshops around the theme of reducing our impact on the environment. Jade Ogden, Projects and Events Manager at Openstorytellers explained: “The key to making individual changes is truly understanding the extent of the impact that our choices have – from recycling to saving water and energy to choosing more ethical and local products when shopping. Our workshops will connect people with learning disabilities and autism to these themes and help to motivate them to make changes both individually and collectively.

“Our educational workshops will also enable our members to connect health and well-being with the environment, by increasing awareness around the importance of drinking water for health, understanding the impact on health of sugary drinks and investigating healthier alternatives.”

Kirsty Scarlett, Head of Community Engagement for Wessex Water, added: “We are very pleased to be working with SCF, who are experts in identifying and supporting local projects that make a real impact. The applications for funding were very interesting and featured different ways of working with marginalised groups to achieve community cohesion. We are very pleased to have funded 14 community focused projects from all across Somerset.”

Groups awarded in this round, totalling £15,500 plus an additional £3,000 in match funding from SCF:

The Wessex Water Fund opens for applications once a year and the next funding round is planned for January 2020. For more information visit www.wessexwater.co.uk/community

Over £2 million* in grants has been awarded to community groups, charities and social enterprises in Somerset from the Hinkley Point C (HPC) Community Fund since it was first launched in November 2017.

Justin Sargent, Chief Executive at Somerset Community Foundation, which administers the Fund, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that the HPC Community Fund has been able to help so many groups and organisations so far. If you have any ideas at all, please do get in touch to discuss them with us.

“The projects we have been able to support with funding so far will benefit our communities for years to come. The sort of applications we tend to look for should be designed to remove or reduce impact and improve quality of life and we always encourage groups to get in touch for a chat. We have a number of ‘Drop-in Days’ coming up over the next few months – there’s no need to book and the next one is in Highbridge at Morland Hall on Wednesday May 22, 10am-4pm. We’re here to advise and support at every stage of the application process.”

The HPC Community Fund delivers the Open Grants Programme for larger applications, typically over £10,000; and the Small Grants Programme awards grants of up to £5,000 to charities or up to £10,000 over three years for voluntary groups and social enterprises that normally operate on less than £100,000 per year. Visit www.hpcfunds.co.uk for more details on deadlines for applications.

One of the first groups to receive a grant from the HPC Community Fund was Home-Start West Somerset. Based in Minehead, the group provide a befriending support service for vulnerable families, and activities and events for the community. Clare Pound, Manager and Senior Support Co-ordinator said: “We are absolutely thrilled with the funding from the HPC Community Fund. It has allowed us to make excellent progress in building our Home-Start presence in the areas impacted by the Hinkley Point C build. The funding has meant we are now able to hold monthly Story-Start sessions, delivered in Stogursey, Stogumber, Williton, Dulverton, twice a month in Luxborough, and soon to be in Watchet. We support families in their own homes and have been able to recruit a Home-Start Coordinator. We’re continuing to recruit and train home visiting volunteers – we currently have 12 and counting! We’ve established some wonderful links with the community and local schools and have delivered five paediatric First Aid training sessions for parents so far – that’s over 100 newly trained parents! We also deliver group support (called Jump-Start) for parents or carers of children with additional needs and/or a disability. We’re really pleased with how the funding has supported Home-Start in helping families so far.”

One of the most recent grants to take the funding over the £2 million mark was awarded to Rusty Road 2 Recovery. The Bridgwater-based community group offers a number of recovery services for people of all ages who suffer from mental ill health, including working with iconic British classic vehicles to restore them to their former glory, assistance with vehicle maintenance for financially disadvantaged people in the area, and art therapy sessions. Vince Davis, Director at Rusty Road 2 Recovery, said: “With the help and support from Somerset Community Foundation, the HPC Community Fund grant we’ve been awarded has meant that we can deliver a better and more rewarding service to the people of Sedgemoor – with an immediate effect. The money from the grant is being used to better equip our metalworking workshop, enabling us to teach new skills and trades. This will help our users gain a better, more satisfying and fulfilling life, and also help them back into work.”

The HPC Community Fund is part of a wider £20 million commitment of funding, provided by EDF Energy through Section 106 agreements, for communities that are affected by the development of the new nuclear power station, to promote their social, economic and environmental wellbeing and enhance their quality of life.

If you run a local community project in Somerset and would like to find out more about grant funding from the HPC Community Fund or any other funding that may be available, please call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949 or visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk

*£2,010,643 – as at 9/5/19

Foot note: 

The deadline for groups to apply for funding for projects that will help local communities or community organisations become more sustainable is fast approaching. Burnham and Weston Energy Sunshine Fund was set up by Burnham and Weston Energy CIC and is managed by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF), and the first deadline for applications is Tuesday 30 April, 2019.

Grants of up to £2,500 are available – although larger grants may be awarded for projects that will have tangible community-wide benefits or are particularly innovative for the area. Funding will be available for projects and initiatives covering an area stretching up the Somerset coastline from Burnham-on-Sea to Weston-super-Mare, and inland to Mark and Winscombe. To check if your project is located within the eligible area, and for more details on the type of projects likely to be awarded, visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/burnhamandweston

Applications to the fund could be for environmental, social and/or economic sustainability and are welcomed from local, community-led organisations, small voluntary groups, clubs, charities, social enterprises, schools, and health centres. The plans should be devised, developed and led by members of the local community who will donate their own time, skills, and resources to the project.

The Sunshine Fund will make awards totalling around £20,000 per year and SCF will also look to secure match funding where possible.

Projects that will be considered for funding will include:

For further information click here or call us and ask to speak to Andy Ridgewell.

If you feel that your community is impacted by the Hinkley Point C (HPC) build and could benefit from the funding available, then a visit to one of the upcoming drop-in days being held across Sedgemoor and West Somerset could help. Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) manages the HPC Community Fund to help local projects mitigate the community-level impacts of the Hinkley Point C development. So far, almost £2 million has been awarded in grants.

Luke Mitchell, Programme Manager at SCF, said: “If you feel Hinkley Point C is impacting your community and have an idea for a project that could help address this, then come along – there’s no need to book. We’ll be on-hand to chat about our Small Grants Programme and how the HPC Community Fund could help bring your ideas to life. Just drop by anytime between 10am and 4pm.”

The dates and locations planned for the next drop-in days are:

The next two deadlines to apply for funding from the HPC Community Fund Small Grants Programme are Friday 10 May followed by Friday 28 June. For more information, please visit: www.hpcfunds.co.uk

If you’re looking for an activity for all the family this Easter weekend, Elliot’s Touch is organising a charity Easter Egg Hunt in Watchet on Sunday 21 April (Easter Sunday). The Bell Inn is the starting point for the race, which begins at 1.30pm and last entry is 3.30pm. Entry is just £2 and includes a clue sheet, map and an egg at the finish. There will also be refreshments and charity stalls.

Elliot’s Touch is a charitable fund managed by Somerset Community Foundation and was set up by Donna and Paul Stevens in memory of their young son Elliot, who tragically died of cardiomyopathy in March 2015 aged just 13 months. The fund aims to raise awareness of mitochondria disease and cardiomyopathy, and supports organisations that are working on new cures and, to date, Elliot’s Touch has raised over £100,000.

A team from Kingspan Water & Energy, based in Wiliton, are also raising funds for Elliot’s Touch by organising The Minehead Half-Marathon & 10km Run. The event is set to return to the town on Sunday 12 May, after an absence of more than 20 years. The reinstated race – along with a new 10k run – will start at 11am on Minehead esplanade and follow a looped circular route, increasing the fun for participants and spectators alike. All proceeds will go to Elliot’s Touch. For more information visit: www.eventbrite.co.uk and search: Kingspan.

On March 6, 2019 the latest Somerset VCSE Strategic Forum took place at Taunton Library, bringing together over 40 leaders from charities and the public sector to discuss new intiaitives and opportunities to work together to tackle pressing needs.

Trudi Grant, the Director of Public Health at Somerset County Council introduced a discussion about the importance of neighbourhood-level initiatives in addressing health priorities, and it is becoming clearer that the future of health and social care will recongise the tangible value vibrant communities can play in reducing social and health inequalities in the future. There was also a presentation about the Safer Communities strategy, also led by Somerset County Council, an area – again – where local VCSE organisations have a key role to play, and Kev O’Donnell shared his experiences of helping to set up the Promiseworks charity.

In addition to this, on March 12, 2019, in partnership with The Good Lunch is organised in partnership with Lloyds Bank Foundation, Pete Hawkins (Hawkins Charity Consultancy), PKF Francis Clark and Foot Anstey, the latest Good Lunch, for charity CEOs and leaders, was held at Bridgwater YMCA. Over 20 leaders of larger local charities came together, exploring opportunities to work collaboratively and support each other as we drive our organisations forward.

BLOG POST

By Laura Blake, Development Director

Earlier this month, staff in companies from Lands End to John O’Groats went to work in fancy dress and baked millions of cakes of all shapes and sizes – all helping to raise more than £63m for Comic Relief. One supermarket in Newcastle has even started an annual staff tradition of creating their own version of famous music videos in the aisles (this year it was The Greatest Showman – what else?!).

It’s clear that for many employees, getting involved with giving back to charity is a fun and rewarding aspect of their jobs. Not only that, but doing good is good for business; research from the Journal of Business Ethics shows that workers in offices that do more for charity are more likely to agree with statements like ‘I would say this is a great place to work’ and ‘I rarely think about looking for a new job’.

It’s the time of year when many companies are reviewing their plans for charitable giving for the year ahead. For many, their first port of call is larger, national charities. These are household names, familiar and important to many of us and often have ready-made opportunities to engage staff in volunteering, fundraising events or fun runs.

But this means that small, local charities – who lack budget for advertising and marketing – are missing out on much needed funding. Data shows that just one in five corporate donations are given to a local charity.

Small charities are the lifeblood of our communities; the glue that holds our villages, towns and cities together. They work tirelessly to support people to fulfil their potential and tackle disadvantage, usually supported by dedicated volunteers who give their time to change lives.

Charities like The Open Door Project in Taunton, a homeless day centre which – with support from 30 volunteers – provides rough sleepers with hot meals, someone to talk to, and washing facilities. Our recent grant of just over £3,000 means that a new project worker can provide additional support, such as help to move into employment, get medical care and access housing services. I know from chatting to some of those using the centre, who have experienced huge hardship, just how important it is for them to have a place they can come to escape the cold and get a decent meal.

Small charities receive just 16% of their income from government funding, so donations are crucial – particularly at a time when demand for their services are increasing.  But, for companies who want to give locally, it can often be difficult to know where to start. How do you find a small charity that might not have a website? How do you know your money will be well spent? How can your team get involved?

At Somerset Community Foundation, we’ve just launched a new initiative to empower businesses to make a difference in their communities through small, local charities. The Somerset Fund offers an easy and rewarding way to donate funds, time and expertise. Even better, donations will receive matched funding of 50% meaning they make an even bigger difference.

All donations to The Somerset Fund will be awarded in small grants to local, grassroots charities, supporting everything from youth groups, to mental health, community centres to activities for older people.

Giving time and expertise is a really rewarding way develop your own skills and strengthen local charities. For companies looking to upskill their staff and boost employee engagement, we can offer opportunities for your employees to run expert skills workshops for local charities on topics like marketing or HR.

We can also help to connect your senior staff to local Trustee opportunities; a great way for aspiring leaders to get experience at board level. I’ve personally learned a huge amount from being a Trustee and have been able to bring a fresh perspective and specialist skills to the charity that they were lacking.

So, as you’re thinking about the difference your company wants to make through charitable giving in the year ahead, I’d wholeheartedly encourage you to think small and local. Even a small gift can make a really big difference.

For more information on The Somerset Fund, visit www.somersetcf.org.uk/tsf call Laura Blake on 01749 344949. I can also offer support to create a corporate giving programme, including a corporate ‘named fund’ which acts much like a charitable trust.

Perrys Recycling is encouraging the people of Somerset to recycle all their unwanted paper in their charity paper banks, which can be found at most supermarket car park recycling areas across the county. For every tonne of paper recycled through one of the dozens of paper banks, £10 is donated to Somerset Community Foundation (SCF).

Newspapers, magazines, greetings cards, junk mail and telephone books can all be recycled, creating an easy and straightforward way for people in Somerset to raise money for their local community. Since the launch of the first charity paper bank in 2011, the scheme has raised an incredible £20,000 for SCF. Perrys also have a number of charity paper banks that raise funds for three other Community Foundations in the south west (Dorset, Wiltshire and Quartet – which covers North Somerset, B&NES and Bristol). The scheme has so far raised an incredible £33,000 for all four Community Foundations.

David Harris, Community Recycling Manager at Perrys Recycling said: “What is so great about this scheme is that by recycling your unwanted paper in our charity paper banks, you’re not only helping the environment, you’re also helping your local communities, by raising funds for your local Community Foundation.

“Community Foundations award grants to local grassroots charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises, meaning that everyone in the community can benefit from your recycling. So the next time you’re visiting your local supermarket, don’t forget to take your paper recycling too!”

For a full list of Perrys charity paper banks visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/support-our-work/charity-paper-banks or call Somerset Community Foundation on 01749 344949 or Perrys Recycling on 0800 1692574.

Perrys Recycling is a family-run recycling company based in Marston Magna near Yeovil, with other depots in Bridgwater and Appledore (Devon).

Local community groups and organisations have benefitted to the tune of over £30,000 from the seventh and eighth rounds of grants recently awarded from the Hinkley Point C Community Fund Small Grants Programme, managed by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF).

The funds support community projects that mitigate the impacts and increase the opportunities of the Hinkley Point C project. Charities, voluntary groups or social enterprises that normally operate on less than £100,000 a year are encouraged to apply.

The groups* to benefit from the latest grant funding and a summary of their projects are:

*A total of £8,800 has also been agreed to two other groups but not yet paid.

Pat Robinson, Treasurer at Inland Waterways Association, said: “The branch is delighted to receive this grant from the HPC Community Fund. It will enable our volunteers to continue to keep our waterways in good condition which will benefit the whole of the community.”

Further information regarding the Hinkley Point C Community Fund Small Grants Programme and how to apply for a grant can be found here

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is delighted to announce that the 2018/19 Surviving Winter campaign has been a phenomenal success. The appeal is well on its way to reaching this winter’s target of helping over 500 vulnerable older people in Somerset.

Thanks to the inspiration of one Somerset pensioner, hundreds of older people in our communities can look forward to a warmer and more sociable winter each year. Since Surviving Winter first launched in 2010, the appeal has raised an astounding £700,000 for Somerset, helping thousands of people. One man’s simple idea to donate the equivalent of his Winter Fuel Payment to help others in greater need has since grown to become a successful nationwide campaign.

Surviving Winter’s delivery partners actively support people living in fuel poverty by visiting their homes and issuing grants. Thanks to the generosity of donors this winter, the Somerset campaign has already issued over £50,000 in grants, helping over 350 people across the county [as at 04/03/2019]. More grants will continue to be issued well into the chilly springtime.

Barbara Moore is 72 and lives in Kingsbury Episcopi. She has recently received a Surviving Winter grant for £150: “ My husband Eric is currently in hospital, having undergone back surgery. This cash boost will help keep us warm for the rest of the winter, and I can’t wait for him to come back to our lovely warm bungalow.”

The grant was delivered by one of Somerset Community Foundation’s Surviving Winter delivery partners, LiveWest.

Barbara went on to say: “We are so grateful for this grant and can’t thank LiveWest enough for guiding us through the application process. It has encouraged us to put the heating on more and keep ourselves warm. In the past we would not have the heating on so high or as often and we would sometimes feel cold.

“Now we feel warm and comfortable in our own home and it is thanks to this Surviving Winter money.”

Community Council for Somerset (CCS), one of SCF’s delivery partners, advise people not to suffer in a cold home in silence. Cold weather is a prime cause of preventable deaths among older, isolated people in rural areas like Somerset. If you or someone you know is in need, please contact your Village Agent via CCS. They can help with accessing Surviving Winter grants, and can provide support and advice on how to save money by changing your energy tariff or supplier, or ways to make your home more energy efficient.

For information on how to apply for a Surviving Winter grant, please contact either Community Council for Somerset on 01823 331222 or Age UK Somerset on 01823 345610 or click here.

 

We’re delighted to welcome Graeme Crosbie from Level Up South West as our newest supporter of The Somerset Fund. The fund aims to unite local businesses, enabling them to donate both funds and expertise to local grassroots charities in Somerset. Graeme will make a donation to the Somerset Fund for every person who attends one of his training courses over the next twelve months.

Graeme said of the partnership: “I found The Somerset Fund when looking for a charity which aligned closely to what we do at Level Up to support independent businesses across Somerset. I knew the Foundation through my involvement with local youth sports clubs which benefited greatly from their support, so I know what impact they make at a grassroots level. The Somerset Fund offers my business a great opportunity to support groups and organisations within our community, while also raising awareness among other businesses of the good that they do.” 

Donations to The Somerset Fund are matched by 50%. To find out more, click here or call Laura Blake on 01749 344949.

Taunton Deane Borough Council has recently awarded grants totalling £20,355 to 23 groups based in the Taunton Deane area. Administered by Somerset Community Foundation, the fund supports local charities, community groups and social enterprises, based within the Borough, for projects, capital purchases or ongoing running costs (also known as core costs). The local groups that benefitted from grants from the Taunton Deane Borough Council Voluntary and Community Sector Small Grants Fund this year, plus a further £9,750 match funding from Somerset Community Foundation, are:

 

CHARIS, based in Taunton, is one of the groups to have been awarded a grant this year. Lisa Westlake, Operations Director, said: “We are thrilled with our grant – it will make such a difference to the delivery of our English lessons to refugees in the Taunton Deane area.  Many of the refugee families we work with are so keen to study or work, however their first language is not English. By offering several English classes a week, we are able to help them enormously.  We’ll be using our grant to buy tables and chairs for our teaching room, providing a comfortable and practical environment in which the refugees can learn.”

Jane Warmington, Taunton Deane Borough Council Executive Member and Portfolio Holder for Community Leadership said: “We are fortunate to have a range of charities and community organisations that provide much valued services to people living in Taunton Deane. It is vital that we support those who work so hard to enable and support others and I am delighted that so many have been awarded grants to help with their projects and running costs.”

If you run a local community project and would like to find out more about grant funding, please call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949 or visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk

Profits generated from Burnham and Weston Energy CIC’s 36,000-panel community solar array at Wick Farm, between Lympsham and Brean, will be made available for projects that will help local communities or community organisations become more sustainable.

Burnham and Weston Energy Sunshine Fund has been set up by Burnham and Weston Energy CIC and is managed by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF). The first window for applications for grants is Monday 18 February – Tuesday 30 April, 2019.

Grants of up to £2,500 are available – although larger grants may be awarded for projects that will have tangible community-wide benefits or are particularly innovative for the area. Funding will be available for projects and initiatives covering an area stretching up the Somerset coastline from Burnham-on-Sea to Weston-super-Mare, and inland to Mark and Winscombe. To check if your project is located within the eligible area, and for more details on the type of projects likely to be awarded, click here.

Applications to the fund could be for environmental, social and/or economic sustainability and are welcomed from local, community-led organisations, small voluntary groups, clubs, charities, social enterprises, schools, and health centres. The plans should be devised, developed and led by members of the local community who will donate their own time, skills, and resources to the project.

The Sunshine Fund will make awards totalling around £20,000 per year and SCF will also look to secure match funding where possible.

Projects that will be considered for funding will include:

For further information contact Andy Ridgewell on 01749 344949 or click here.

Local community groups and organisations have benefitted to the tune of almost £51,000* from the fifth and sixth rounds of grants recently awarded from the Hinkley Point C Community Fund Small Grants Programme, managed by Somerset Community Foundation.

The grants fund community projects that mitigate the impacts and increase the opportunities of the Hinkley Point C project. Charities, voluntary groups or social enterprises that normally operate on less than £100,000 a year are encouraged to apply.

The groups to benefit from the recent grant funding and a summary of their projects are:

Paul Matcham, Manager at C.L.O.W.N.S. (Creating Learning Opportunities In WesterN Somerset) said: “The funding from the HPC Community Fund will allow us to work with local families to establish and deliver sought-after family groups. It will also allow us to work closely with HomeStart West Somerset, health visitors and West Somerset Advice to bring much needed services and resources to some of the most isolated communities across West Somerset. It provides us with the opportunity to work with families and community members, creating groups which can be effective now, and sustainable in future.” 

Further information regarding the Hinkley Point C Community Fund Small Grants Programme and how to apply for a grant can be found here or you can get in touch with Luke Mitchell, Programmes Manager at Somerset Community Foundation by email or you can call him on: 01749 344949.

*This total includes a £3,600 grant that was agreed, but the monies have not yet been awarded.

Laura Blake has joined Somerset Community Foundation in a brand new post as Development Director, with the aim of spearheading the growth of local giving in Somerset.

Laura’s role sees her working closely with families, businesses and organisations, helping them make inspiring and impactful gifts to causes they are passionate about in the county. Laura brings a wealth of experience in Development; she previously worked as Head of Philanthropy at the national education charity, Teach First.

Laura says: “I’m really excited to be working at Somerset Community Foundation. We’ve recently launched The Somerset Fund, which offers a simpler and more effective way for local businesses to give to charitable causes in Somerset.

“Donating through The Somerset Fund helps to free up precious time by giving businesses the choice of either supporting good causes across the county or focusing their giving in one of the five Somerset districts. We’ll find great causes that need funding, assess applications and report back on the difference your donations have made. You’ll also have the opportunity to come together with other supporters and hear from projects you’ve supported. And, thanks to match funding, donations to the fund could be increased by 80% or more.

“We are delighted to now be in a position to start distributing the Somerset businesses’ donations and would encourage grassroots charities to apply for funding before the deadline of Friday 22 February.”

Laura started her career working for the University of Bristol’s Development and Alumni Relations team, before moving to London to join Barnardo’s and The Prince’s Trust. Laura is also a trustee of Pathways to Independence, a Kent-based charity that supports homeless people and ex-offenders.

Laura has also been visiting some of the groups and organisations SCF have recently funded, during her first few weeks at the Foundation, and has written a blog based on her findings – you can read that here.

If you run a business and would like to find out more about how you could increase the impact of your giving in Somerset, click here, call Laura Blake on the number below, or e-mail: laura.blake@somersetcf.org.uk

BLOG POST

By Laura Blake, Development Director

Last week, while I was driving home, the song ‘With a Little Help from my Friends’ came on the radio and I found myself grinning. Not just because Sgt. Peppers is one of my favourite albums, but because it was one of those moments where my car radio provided the perfect soundtrack for what I was feeling. In my case, because I’d just spent a day visiting some of the projects we have supported that showed me that community spirit was truly alive and well.

My final stop of the day was St. Peter’s Church and Church Hall on the Westfield Estate in Yeovil, an area that is identified as the most disadvantaged in South Somerset. The Church Hall has provided a vital meeting place for the 5,000 local residents since the 1960s, originally hosting everything from pantomimes to community bingo. But in 2012 the hall was recommended for demolition. I can see why. The former farm outbuilding is cold, difficult to access and lacks modern facilities.

Reverend David Keen walked me around the site and shared the vision that he and the local community association had for a new Westfield Community Centre. A true community hub for everyone to use, that would bring much needed services to local people. The new hall will host everything from Citizens Advice to IT classes; parent and toddler groups to Girl Guides; and a mobile library service.

It is a truly ambitious project with a £1m fundraising target; scary for even a large charity, let alone a group of local volunteers. And yet, at the time of writing, the group have secured almost all of the funding they need, raising more than £200,000 in the last few months alone.

Much of the funding from the centre came from charitable trusts and local companies. But what inspired me the most was the incredible support of people from the Westfield community itself. Hundreds of people have made a donation to ‘buy a brick’ for the new hall or gone along to fundraising events. Thanks to their determination, community spirit – and a little help from some friends – in October 2019 the Westfield Community Centre will open. The 5,000 local residents will have a wonderful new space that will provide fun, friendship, support and advice for generations to come.

St. Peter’s is just one of many inspiring projects I’ve had the pleasure of visiting during my first month at SCF. The others include a homeless day centre, a nursery for children with additional needs, a support group for people with mental health problems, and a thriving community centre. I plan to visit many more in the months ahead.

The staff and volunteers working in communities across Somerset are delivering vital and specialist services. But as an outsider looking in, the golden thread I can see that runs through all of these amazing organisations is friendship. Taking the time to have a cup of tea and a chat with a lonely older person who may not have seen another person for a week; helping a parent navigate the complexities of getting support they need for a child with additional needs; volunteering to cook a hot meal for someone who has spent the night sleeping on the street.

As an organisation, we’re delighted to play a small part in supporting groups like these to help their communities to thrive. But we can only do so with a little help from our friends; from families, companies and trusts who are passionate about supporting good causes in Somerset.

If you’d like to know more about giving through Somerset Community Foundation, please get in touch and I’d be delighted to help.


Somerset Community Foundation’s (SCF) Chief Executive Justin Sargent is delighted to report that the total raised by the award-winning Surviving Winter campaign now stands at £97,000: “We’ve had another absolutely fantastic Surviving Winter appeal, with early donations beating all our previous records, but there’s just a little way further to go. We really would love to be able to help over 500 older people living in fuel poverty this year, so if you don’t want or need your Winter Fuel Payment – or if you would simply like to help by giving to the campaign – I would urge you to please donate what you can.”

The cold winter months are a perilous time of year for older people, especially those who live alone. Surviving Winter aims to tackle social isolation and make winter less lonely for older people, as well as helping them stay warm and better connected. With Somerset experiencing some bitterly cold weather recently, Somerset Community Foundation’s Surviving Winter delivery partners – such as Community Council for Somerset and Age UK – are making sure that Surviving Winter cheques are being delivered to vulnerable older people in Somerset who are living in fuel poverty.

To donate some or all of your Winter Fuel Payment, or to make a donation of any size to the Surviving Winter appeal, please send a cheque made payable to Somerset Community Foundation (writing SW on the reverse), Yeoman House, Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, BA4 6QN; or call 01749 344949; or you can donate online here.

Gift Aid forms are available to download here.

If you are a grassroots community group, grants are now available up to the value of £1,500 from the newly launched Somerset Fund. Somerset Community Foundation (SCF), who manages the fund, is encouraging applications from smaller groups that run on less than £50,000 per year. The grants will be ‘unrestricted’, which means they can be used to pay for ongoing running costs, and the deadline to apply is Friday 22 February, 2019.

Laura Blake, Development Director at SCF explains: “We created The Somerset Fund to offer a simpler and more effective way for local businesses to give to good causes across Somerset. Donating through the Somerset Fund helps to free up precious time by giving businesses the choice of either supporting good causes across the county or focusing their giving in one of the five Somerset districts.  We’ll find great causes that need funding, assess applications and report back on the difference your donations have made. You’ll also have the opportunity to come together with other supporters and hear from projects you’ve supported. And, thanks to match funding, donations to the fund could be increased by 80% or more.

 “We are delighted to now be in a position to start distributing the Somerset businesses’ donations and would encourage grassroots charities to apply for funding before the deadline.”

The Somerset Fund will support local people of all ages by investing in a range of causes, including:

If you run a business and would like to find out more about how you could increase the impact of your giving, visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/tsf, call Laura Blake on the number below, or e-mail laura.blake@somersetcf.org.uk. If you are involved in a local, grassroots community project and would like to find out more about how to apply for funding, please visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk/somersetfund or call us on: 01749 344949.

As part of our Enhance Social Enterprise programme, we recently worked with Cosmic and Somerset County Council’s early years team to deliver a series of Make Your Pre-School Fit for the Future training events, tailored for social enterprise pre-schools in Somerset. The workshops focused on financial sustainability and digital marketing, and you can watch a video of the training here

We are now looking at running similar workshops for community shops and pubs, and community transport projects. More news will follow, but in the meantime, if you would like to register your interest in future training, please get in touch with Justin Sargent.

The Heart of the South West Enhance Social Enterprise Programme offers 12 hours fully funded business support to social enterprises in Somerset and Devon. For more information and to register for the Enhance Social Enterprise Programme click here.

The Heart of the South West Enhance Social Enterprise Programme is receiving funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

 

Somerset Community Foundation’s (SCF) award-winning Surviving Winter appeal is currently standing at £95,000 but still needs your help. The campaign, which is managed by Somerset Community Foundation, asks pensioners who feel they can live without their Winter Fuel Payment to donate it to help local older people who are struggling to stay socially connected and warm this winter. Somerset Community Foundation aims to improve on last year’s impact and help over 500 older people in Somerset who live in fuel poverty – which can cause serious health problems including heart attacks, strokes and pneumonia. Can you help?

The excess winter deaths statistics are shocking: on average 440 older people die unnecessarily due to the cold in Somerset each year [Source: Somerset Intelligence]. A Surviving Winter grant this winter could help save lives.

West country legend Les Davies MBE, FRGS has joined Michael Eavis CBE, the Bishop of Bath and Wells and Master Baker Robert Burns MBE in endorsing this year’s Surviving Winter appeal.  Les, who trades as ‘West Countryman’, is President of the Mendip Society, Chairman of the Youth Environmental Awards Committee at the Royal Bath and West of England Society, a lifetime member of the Avon and Somerset Search and Rescue team, and Chairman of Mendip Ploughing Society was delighted to pledge his Winter Fuel Payment to the Surviving Winter appeal again this year. Les says: “It’s time to think about spreading a little warmth to help those who are vulnerable and in need. Can you help by sharing your Winter Fuel Payment with someone less fortunate, through the Surviving Winter campaign? Every little helps and goes to make someone else feel better this winter.”

To donate some or all of your Winter Fuel Payment, or to make a donation of any size to the Surviving Winter appeal, please send a cheque made payable to Somerset Community Foundation (writing SW on the reverse), Yeoman House, Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, BA4 6QN or call 01749 344949 or you can donate online at: www.somersetcf.org.uk/winter

It is estimated that there are over 2,000 adults living in Somerset with moderate to severe learning disabilities, and this number is growing. Around half also have autism [Source: Somerset Intelligence, 2014]. However, with the right support, adults with learning disabilities can live a full life in their community. This often involves making spaces and services more accessible, but it also involves putting adults with learning disabilities first, so they can make their own choices, challenge decisions, and get what they need and have a right to.

The Discovery Community Fund aims to help achieve this and more by supporting improvements to the health and independence of adults with learning disabilities and autism right across the county of Somerset.

Applications to the Discovery Community Fund should be made to Somerset Community Foundation, which is managing the distribution of up to £200,000 of funding.

The fund is the result of a ground-breaking partnership between Somerset County Council and local learning disability support provider Discovery. Their Managing Director, Luke Joy-Smith, goes on to say: “Perhaps with funding you could train healthcare professionals in how to make reasonable adjustments. Perhaps a lump sum could provide Changing Places bathroom facilities in your shop, café or community venue. Perhaps funding could help you launch a community taxi social enterprise. Perhaps hoists or sensory spaces would make your disability friendly holiday accommodation truly inclusive. Perhaps with funding, you could develop a network of Safer Places in towns across Somerset.

“If you have a vision that will improve the health and independence of people with learning disabilities and autism in Somerset, Discovery, Somerset County Council and Somerset Community Foundation want to hear from you.”

Director of Adult Social Services at Somerset County Council, Stephen Chandler, added: “This fund is part of the original vision for re-imagining learning disability provision in Somerset. Launching it with Discovery today is the result of a great deal of hard work and it’s very pleasing to reach this milestone.”

The first window for applications lasts from Wednesday 9 January to Friday 22 February. To find out more, click here or call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949.

West Somerset was recently found to be the worst performing area for social mobility in the whole of England. With grants from the West Somerset Youth Trust now available, funding could go some way towards helping young people in West Somerset reach their full potential. Somerset Community Foundation, who manage the trust fund, is encouraging young people aged 14 – 25 to apply for funding that can go towards the cost of an enrichment activity such as travel, courses, events or associated equipment.

Previous grants have been awarded for international scouting jamborees, work experience placements, Duke of Edinburgh expeditions and workshops at the National Youth Theatre – all activities that can help to raise the aspirations of young people.

The West Somerset Youth Trust funding is available to young people who reside in West Somerset or have strong links to the area and grants are typically 25 per cent of the total cost of their trip or event, up to a maximum of £300. A larger percentage of the costs will be considered if the young person, or their parents/carers, are in receipt of means-tested benefits.

Anyone interested in applying for funding should click here and the closing date for applications is Thursday 28 February. Applicants will need to think about how they plan to fund the total cost of the trip or event, any other fundraising needed and plan a simple budget.

Thanks to many generous supporters across Somerset, the annual Surviving Winter appeal – which aims to help keep isolated older people who are living in fuel poverty keep warm and better connected this winter – is already over halfway to reaching its target, but the campaign still has some way to go! Surviving Winter, which is run by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF), encourages pensioners who feel they don’t want or need their Winter Fuel Payment to donate some or all of it to the campaign. Vulnerable older people living in fuel poverty and social isolation in Somerset are given a Surviving Winter grant, helping to keep them warm and safe and easing the pressure of finding extra money to heat their home. They are also given information about local services and other support available to them, including community projects that can help to keep them socially engaged. SCF is also delighted to announce the latest ‘celebrity’ to support the campaign is The Rt Rev’d Peter Hancock, Bishop of Bath & Wells.

Bishop Peter, who is a Vice President of Somerset Community Foundation and Patron of Age UK, says: “Please think carefully about whether you need your Government Winter Fuel Payment this year. During the cold winter months many older people in Somerset are faced with a tough choice: fuel or food. A Surviving Winter Grant could prevent them having to decide between heating their home or being able to afford a decent meal. So please consider donating to this year’s Surviving Winter appeal if you can. Thank you so much.”

With the coldest months almost upon us, most people are starting to think about spending time getting cosy in front of the fire with their nearest and dearest. Please spare a thought for your older neighbours who may be forced to turn their attention to how they will heat their homes this winter. Help SCF reach their target of helping at least 500 struggling pensioner households to heat their homes, and stay healthy and socially connected to their communities this winter, by donating to Surviving Winter.

To donate some or all of your Winter Fuel Payment, or to make a donation of any size to the Surviving Winter appeal, please send a cheque made payable to Somerset Community Foundation (writing SW on the reverse), Yeoman House, Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, BA4 6QN; or call 01749 344949; or you can donate online here

We would like to extend a big thank you to everyone who came to Sing for Somerset in Wells Cathedral on Saturday night – we were delighted to see a record-breaking congregation attend the service this year.

The congregation was treated to a wonderfully festive selection of traditional and contemporary carols, interspersed with readings telling the nativity story, delivered by representatives from groups we have funded across the year.

The music was delivered masterfully by the Mid-Somerset Orchestra and the Somerset Voices choir, under the guidance of conductor and Musical Director, Laurence Blyth. 

Following our carol service we caught up with Wells Cathedral Virger, Kieron Rowley to ask him a few questions…

Q. What made you decide to become a Virger?

I became a Virger during my time at university. I was studying theology and wished to work within the church after finishing my studies. The Cathedral at Chester asked the Department of Theology if any students would consider being Virgers and I jumped at the chance. I have been a Virger ever since…

 

Q. How long have you been a Virger at Wells Cathedral?

This January [2019] marks two years since I came to Virge at Wells Cathedral and reside on Vicars Close.

 

Q. How many carol services do you Virge every year?

During December the Cathedral plays host to over 25 carol services from schools and groups all over Somerset and I Virge many of them. 

 

Q. Describe your perfect Christmas day?

My perfect Christmas Day starts quietly. In the morning, I enjoy a cup of tea, followed by morning Sung Eucharist at the Cathedral. Then I return home to finish preparations for dinner before the family arrive. The rest of the day is spent sharing great home-cooked food, opening gifts, and enjoying a glass of wine or two with my family and friends. However, no matter how delicious the dinner (and I cook a mean roast, if I do say so myself!) my brother and I still look forward to the post-dinner cheese board and port the most. This year the cheese board is extra special as it has been put together by the lovely folks at Queen Street Deli in Wells – and we both can’t wait to tuck in!

 

Q. Finally, what makes Sing for Somerset so special for you?

Sing for Somerset is special because it draws people from all across our great county to the Queen of English Cathedrals to praise God and celebrate the joy of Christmas.  It is a joyous occasion that fills the Cathedral to the brim with happy people, excited for the coming festivities. Sing for Somerset also raises money for, and awareness of, the good work that Somerset Community Foundation delivers, during this season of giving!

West Country Master Baker, Robert Burns MBE of Burns the Bread, is the latest local name to back Somerset Community Foundation’s Surviving Winter campaign. The annual appeal aims to raise over £100,000 to help isolated, older people living in fuel poverty this winter.

Bob Burns opened the first Burns the Bread in Glastonbury in 1983 and now has seven baker’s shops across the county, including Street, Wells, Castle Cary and Somerton, as well as a School of Baking. Bob was delighted to pledge his Winter Fuel Payment to the Surviving Winter appeal, saying: “I’m really pleased to be able to help others in our community this winter; it’s important to support local people in need. Giving to Surviving Winter makes so much sense. If you are able, please donate your Winter Fuel Payment to this worthwhile campaign.”

Winter Fuel Payments range from £150 to £300 and are usually received between mid-November and Christmas.  

To donate some or all of your Winter Fuel Payment, or to make a donation of any size to the Surviving Winter appeal, please send a cheque made payable to Somerset Community Foundation (writing SW on the back), Yeoman House, Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, BA4 6QN; or you can call 01749 344949 to pay over the phone; or you can donate online here

Gift Aid forms are available to download here.

Glastonbury Festival organiser and long-time Surviving Winter supporter Michael Eavis CBE has endorsed this year’s campaign once again. Surviving Winter, administered by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF), is an award-winning appeal which encourages people to donate some or all of their Winter Fuel Payment to help local people living in fuel poverty. Now in its ninth year, Surviving Winter aims to raise over £100,000 to help isolated and vulnerable older people living in Somerset this winter.

New data recently released shows that in Somerset, between 2014 and 2017, there have been on average 440 excess winter deaths each year, which is higher than we previously thought. In the 2016/17, the latest winter period we have reliable data for, the rate of excess winter mortality was 25% higher than the average rate across the South West region and second only to Dorset and Poole. Typically, the region’s cities had much lower rates of excess winter deaths than rural areas, perhaps reflecting the greater prevalence of fuel-poverty in rural areas, combined with isolation from essential services. [Source: Public Health England]

Michael Eavis, who has donated his 2018/19 Winter Fuel Payment to the campaign, says: “I am so pleased that there are so many people who can transfer their Winter Fuel allowance to people who need it.”

Andrew Ridgewell, Programmes Manager at Somerset Community Foundation goes on to say: “When a person living in fuel poverty receives their Surviving Winter grant, not only does it help pay their heating bill, it is also the first step towards connecting them to one of our local Surviving Winter delivery partners. This can become the foundation for a new relationship which helps to overcome the isolation and loneliness many older people in our county experience. Last year’s campaign was our best campaign yet and, with your help, we are aiming to help even more people this winter.”

To donate some or all of your Winter Fuel Payment, or to make a donation of any size to the Surviving Winter appeal, please send a cheque made payable to Somerset Community Foundation (writing SW on the back), Yeoman House, Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, BA4 6QN; or you can call 01749 344949 to pay over the phone; or you can donate online here

Gift Aid forms are available to download here.

The Hinkley Point C (HPC) Community Fund has awarded 39 grants to local projects and schemes, community groups, charities and social enterprises since it was first launched in November 2017, totalling a remarkable £1,824,807.

The fund is financed by EDF Energy as part of the new Hinkley Point C power station build [1] and is administered by Somerset Community Foundation. It is designed to support schemes that will help to mitigate the impacts of the construction of Hinkley Point and increase the opportunities for local communities to benefit from the project. It forms part of a wider package of community funding worth £9.4million so far, including grants awarded from the CIM Fund.

The CIM Fund was administered by West Somerset District Council but has now closed to new applications, but the HPC Community Fund remains open for funding bids.

Val Bishop, Programmes Director at Somerset Community Foundation, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that the HPC Community Fund has been able to help so many groups and organisations over the past twelve months.

“The projects we have been able to support with funding so far will benefit our communities and leave a lasting legacy for years to come. The sort of applications we encourage may be designed to remove or reduce impact and improve quality of life – so if you have any ideas at all, please do contact us to discuss your ideas with us. I always encourage groups to get in touch for a chat – we’re here to advise and support at every stage of the application process.”

The HPC Community Fund is divided into the Open Grants Programme for larger applications, typically over £10,000, with a deadline on Thursday 13 December; and the Small Grants Programme awards grants of up to £5,000 to charities or up to £10,000 over three years for voluntary groups and social enterprises that normally operate on less than £100,000 per year, with the next deadline on Friday 28 December. Visit www.hpcfunds.co.uk for more details.

Home-Start West Somerset, based in Minehead, West Somerset, provide a befriending support service for vulnerable families, and activities and events for the community. Clare Pound, Manager and Senior Support Co-ordinator said: “We are absolutely thrilled with our successful grant application from the HPC Community Fund and have made excellent progress in building our Home-Start presence in the areas impacted by the Hinkley Point C build. The funding has ensured we are in a position to hold monthly Story-Start sessions and holiday activities, and support families in their own homes, and the recruitment of a Home-start coordinator who works directly in these areas is in progress. We’re really pleased with how the funding has supported Home-Start in helping families in these areas and aim to continue this beneficial development.”

David Eccles, Head of Hinkley Point C Stakeholder Engagement said: “The fund is helping to make a real difference to the communities hosting Hinkley Point C. We are privileged to have such strong support from the people living in Somerset as we deliver this transformational project, and we’re proud to be able to invest in partnership with the great organisations that are out there making positive change happen.”

[1] The HPC Community Fund is part of the overall Section 106 agreement signed by EDF Energy and local councils for a series of measures designed to avoid or reduce impacts of the HPC project on communities and help them make the most of the opportunities. The fund is particularly designed to respond to ‘intangible and residual’ impacts in local communities. 



 

 

One of the longest established and one of the newest community organisations in Mendip are two of the latest social enterprises to have benefitted from the Somerset Social Enterprise Fund (SSEF), administered by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF). They join a growing number of organisations to have received social investment from the fund, totalling almost £400,000 over the past three years.

Frome Memorial Theatre, which first opened its doors in 1925 as a memorial hall in remembrance of the fallen of World War II, has secured support to upgrade its stage lighting system. The theatre, established through public subscription, is run entirely by volunteers and plays an important part in Frome’s cultural life. The award was made, in part, in recognition of the positive impact the organisation has on its volunteers, of which there are more than 100.

Roger Hatherell, Treasurer and Trustee at Frome Memorial Theatre, said: “We are delighted that Somerset Community Foundation has been able to support us, enabling the upgrading of our stage lighting system to be completed. We are also grateful for the help and advice we have received in conjunction with the funding, enabling us to extend our social impact into the community by encouraging and supporting more local groups to enjoy our facilities and become part of our theatre family.”

Root Connections CIC, on the other hand, was incorporated in August 2018, although it builds on a project that has been running for some time by the Elim Church in Wells. The social enterprise is based on a farm near Stratton-on-the-Fosse, providing accommodation and support for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in the surrounding towns and countryside. Clients are encouraged to get involved in growing produce on the farm, helping them in their recovery while also generating income for the project. The social investment is designed to help them develop and grow a ‘veg box’ scheme as part of the project.

Suzanne Addicott, Manager at Root Connections CIC said: “We are delighted that Somerset Community Foundation is supporting the work of Root Connections by offering blended finance in the form of both a grant and loan. This will enable the Root Connections market garden to establish itself. Income generated from the project, including the sale of veg boxes, jams and chutneys, will go towards our work at Dairy House to end rough sleeping and also provide vulnerable adults with the opportunity to participate in the market garden. We want to thank the Foundation for all the work it does in the community partnering with organisations like ours.”

Justin Sargent, CEO of Somerset Community Foundation said: “Both of these projects demonstrate, in very different ways, how significant social impacts can be achieved in financially sustainable ways. The SSEF was established to help organisations like these in their mission, not only providing financial capital but also advice and support to each organisation. Social enterprises will become ever more important in the future and we are very keen to see more groups come forward for support.”

Councillor David Hall, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Planning and Community Infrastructure, said: “It’s fantastic to see the money that we invested years ago continuing to have an impact now. This fund gives community organisations that little bit of help they need to develop, become self-sustaining so they can carry on making a real difference to people’s lives in the long-term.

“I’m delighted that this fund and our work with Somerset Community Foundation has gone from strength to strength, supporting charities and social enterprises to continue their work for the benefit of Somerset people.”

Andrew Gnaneswaran, Programme Manager at Access Foundation, said: “The Growth Fund was established to tackle a financing gap that existed for organisations delivering real social impact. With the latest investments, SSEF has shown it is meeting the financing need for VCSEs across the spectrum – from the start-up social enterprises, to those who have been around for decades.”

The Somerset Social Enterprise Fund (SSEF) was established with funding from Somerset County Council. It is part of the Growth Fund, managed by Access – The Foundation for Social Investment, with funding provided by the Big Lottery Fund and Big Society Capital. Somerset Community Foundation runs the SSEF programme which provides a blended package of loans and grants to local charities and social enterprises. To find out more call  01749 344949.

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) recently awarded a £5,000 grant towards an ambitious project to build a new community facility in the village of Bishops Hull. The project arose due to the need to replace the existing and well-used parish hall, which had provided a popular venue for the village for over 30 years.

Richard Holland, Chairman of Bishops Hull Hub Limited explained: “Bishops Hull is a thriving community located on the edge of Taunton, with a population of around 3,000 people. The existing building is a second-hand timber structure which was moved from a local school in the 1980s to serve as a temporary church hall so, as a retired architect, I knew that although we’ve certainly made the most of it over the years, it was rapidly coming to the end of its safe life.”

Cllr John Hunt added: “We have recently been awarded £50,000 Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funding for the construction of 50 new builds in the village, and with new families soon to move in and the community rapidly expanding, it was time to start thinking about building something new for the future use of the residents.”

Bishops Hull Hub Limited was set up in 2017 to manage the planning and construction of a new community facility in the village. It will provide a modern secular building for the benefit of all the residents of the village.

Jon Lee, Vice Chairman, continued: “We hope to be on site by July 2019, which will be the start of the build, with the aim of completing in 2020. We’ve a big task ahead of us and we’re a small group, but this has really boosted the morale of the village and brought us together as a whole. There are lots of people working on this project who previously didn’t know each other – there’s a real community spirit here.”

The parish church, which owns the site but does not have the available funds to replace the hall, has agreed to grant a ‘peppercorn’ lease of the land to Bishops Hull Hub Limited, who will take responsibility for the construction, future management and maintenance of the new hall, for the village community of Bishops Hull.

Lee Hart, Partner at Clarke Willmott LLP said: “We’re delighted to support the fantastic work Bishops Hull Hub have planned for the new building. The grant from Somerset Community Foundation includes £2,000 from the Clarke Willmott Fund and will go towards paying for professional fees – which will in turn help the group trigger the release of further funds. We’re looking forward to seeing the progress of the build!”

Pictured above: L-R: Jon Lee, Cllr John Hunt, Amanda Gallacher, Leanne Lee, David Manning and Richard Holland all of Bishops Hull Hub Limited, and Lee Hart from Clarke Willmott.

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) has launched this year’s Surviving Winter campaign, which encourages people to join the growing number of contributors who donate some or all of their Winter Fuel Payment to help local people living in fuel poverty. This year, any online donations to the campaign made during the week-long Big Give Christmas Challenge – midday Tuesday 27 November to midday Tuesday 4 December – will be doubled!

Click here for more information and remember: all donations will help the Surviving Winter campaign, but donations that are made online between midday Tuesday 27 November and midday Tuesday 4 December will be matched, meaning they will be worth twice as much.

Last year, over 500 older people living in fuel poverty in Somerset were helped to keep warm and better connected through the winter months, thanks to pensioners and other local donors who gave to Surviving Winter.

A Surviving Winter grant doesn’t just go towards paying the heating bill. It is also the first step towards connecting the recipient to a local Surviving Winter delivery partner; this can become the foundation for a new relationship that can help to overcome the isolation and loneliness many older people experience.

Last winter a single older lady, who already experienced mental health problems and severe anxiety, found a recent diagnosis of fibromyalgia almost too much to bear. The condition had a rapid effect on her mobility and ability to work and before long she found herself in debt. She became extremely depressed and isolated, spending most of her time fully dressed and in bed. It was the only way to keep warm as she could no longer afford to buy fuel for her open fire.

One of SCF’s Surviving Winter delivery partners visited her at home. They filled in a Surviving Winter application form and organised a delivery of subsidised firewood to her house. With fuel to heat her home, she felt able to invite people in without feeling ashamed that her house was cold, and she didn’t have to go to bed to keep warm. Her Surviving Winter grant helped alleviate the loneliness she was experiencing and made paying the bills easier. This would not have happened if Surviving Winter did not exist.

Help Somerset Community Foundation to help more isolated and vulnerable older people this year.

To donate to Surviving Winter, visit this page or call 01749 344949. Please remember that if you are able to donate online between midday Tuesday 27 November and midday Tuesday 4 December your donation will be doubled.

Supporters, friends, trustees and charity organisations from across the county attended Somerset Community Foundation’s (SCF) Annual Celebration last night, which was held at Monks Yard in Ilminster.

Following drinks and canapes, Justin Sargent, CEO at SCF, welcomed everyone to the celebration and introduced Liz Tozer, from Monks Yard, who spoke about the journey the orgainisation had been on and their plans for the future.

Jane Barrie, Chairman at SCF, then took to the lectern where she spoke about the past year and the Foundation’s achievements over that time, citing the finiancial highlights of the past year.

Five groups that received funding from SCF in 2017/18 showcased their services to the community on the night with informative displays: Chard Watch; CHARIS; Elim Connect Centre; Take Art; and West Somerset Advice. A representative from each group spoke for a few minutes about their work and how SCF has supported their organisation.

Justin Sargent then spoke about the latest funds that SCF have recently launched, including the Wessex Water Community Fund, Tampon Tax Community Fund, Burnham and Weston Energy Sunshine Fund and the Discovery Fund, and about new and ongoing  developments – including Surviving Winter, The Somerset Fund, the Philanthropy Network and the recruitment of a brand new post starting at SCF in the new year: Development Director.

Keynote speaker Denis Burn, High Sheriff of Somerset, delivered his inspiring talk: ‘Getting Involved: A reflection on my involvement with youth charities’, where he spoke in depth about his work over the years with charities. 

Justin closed the speeches by thanking everyone for coming and encouraged them to visit the display stands and enjoy the canapes.

In the early part of this decade, the relationship between the voluntary sector and the public sector went through significant changes. In part, this was a reflection of the ‘Big Society’ vision, but also the financial pressures the public sector found itself in. It was not an easy time, and while many local charities struggled to find the capacity to engage the public sector effectively, the public sector equally had no easy way of talking to voluntary groups.

In response, and in a partnership with Somerset County Council, we launched the Somerset VCSE Strategic Coordination project, supported by Spark, Engage West Somerset, the Community Council for Somerset, and the Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group. Liz Simmons was appointed as the Coordinator for this project, connecting and convening people with shared interests across the public and voluntary sectors, and ensuring information was shared in a timely way.

The centrepiece of Liz’s work has been the Strategic Forum meetings that have regularly attracted over forty participants to discuss issues of concern and share knowledge alongside the annual VCSE Leaders’ Conference, which attracted regional and national speakers into Somerset. In between these events, there have been hundreds of tasks that Liz has undertaken to make better links, formally and informally, aswell as launching the website for the project, which is now firmly established as the main pathway for information.

Given the background of the project, where the relationship between charities and the public sector were strained and under stress, it took an enormous amount of skill, diplomacy, vision and emotional intelligence to help create a far more positive relationship and mechanism for the two sectors to speak with, and learn from, each other.

We wish Liz all the best in her new role, and we are sure she will really help Headway Somerset move forward in the county.

As for the project, we are discussing with our partners how we will take the project forward without Liz, but we are determined to build on the fine work Liz has started at a time when, more than ever, the public and voluntary sector need to find effective and efficient ways of working together .

BLOG POST

By Kirsty Campbell, Administrator

It was World Mental Health Day recently which made me think about the Employers Symposium for Better Mental Health that I attended in September. The Symposium was organised by local Mind charites in Bristol, Bath and South Somerset to increase awareness of the issue of mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.

I initially started writing a summary of each talk, but realised that was far too lengthy, so here are the things I took away from the Symposium:

The voluntary sector relies on funding to operate and needs to ensure its charitable aims are being met in the most cost-effective way possible, but this can mean staff needs are further down the priority list and organisational stress is an issue.  In addition, salaries are often low, annual leave the bear minimum, and training and development needs go unmet due to lack of finances. I have experienced first-hand extreme long-term stress in a previous job and faced the difficult choice of taking sick leave, which I knew would put more pressure on my colleagues, or leaving the job I loved (I chose the latter). 

Mind is leading the way in workplace wellbeing.  If we all increased the priority of staff wellbeing then many more of the dedicated, hard-working staff who make a real difference in the voluntary sector would feel more valued, appreciated and enjoy better mental health and wellbeing.  Surely they deserve that recognition and reward.

A big thank you to everyone who attended the VCSE Strategic Forum ‘special’ this month. The meeting focused on Working with Children and Young People, and despite funding challenges there were plenty of really positive stories delivered, including the very specialist work of Barnardos in Somerset; Somerset Film; and InspirEd, to the universal youth work across the county from Young Somerset.

Big Lottery and Young Enterprise Somerset talked about the new initiatives these organisations are introducing, which will help support groups working with children and young people. Delegates also had the opportunity to show their creative side and experience part of the workshop Somerset County Council have been using over the summer as they consult with children and young people about the Young People’s Plan.

For more information on all of these items, including the presentations see the Somerset VCSE Forum website here

Living Paintings is a national charity and, although our preference is always to support local, grassroots voluntary groups because they are best placed to respond to local needs, we do make exceptions when a national charity is fulfilling a need which is otherwise unmet. 

One great example of this is the small grant of just £450 to Living Paintings, which has made a huge difference to blind and partially sighted older people in Somerset. Our funding enabled a community-based, volunteer run Touch to See Book Club in Yeovil, supporting 15 blind or partially sighted people and three volunteers for 12 months. For elderly people who often live alone, blindness can lead to life-shattering isolation, leaving them cut off from the world around them. From beneficiary feedback, we know that 88% have gained self-confidence significantly, and 93% have experienced a significant improvement in their quality of life.

Danni (pictured) is one of the 15,000 beneficiaries of Living Paintings, is shown exploring the visual world using Touch to See books, produced by Living Paintings. The charity runs 343 Touch to See Book Clubs nationally, including four in Somerset. 

There is good news for Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) and the wider network of charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises working in the heart of our communities, following an announcement in the Government’s Civil Society Strategy, released earlier this month [09/08/2018].

Sixteen charitable trusts, currently worth over £2.3m, have transferred to Somerset Community Foundation since its inception 15 years ago, most recently the transfers of the Graham Burrough Charitable Trust and the Cheeke and Stodgell Trust. The Government’s Revitalising Trusts initiative now aims to unlock a further £20m of inactive trusts through a partnership with UK Community Foundations and the Charity Commission.

Charitable Trusts may struggle to use their income for a number of reasons, including:

Community Foundations are established, trusted charities that support local communities, reaching every postcode in the UK. Able to focus on the most pressing needs in their communities, they are leading grant makers, with a strong track record. Community Foundations work with a trusted model of delivery and are best placed to be able to adapt the purpose of the inactive trust to make it relevant to the needs of local communities today.

Tracey Crouch, the Minister for Civil Society, said: “This initiative will make a real difference to people and communities across the country. By working with UK Community Foundations and the Charity Commission, we will honour the original aims of these now inactive charitable trusts by redistributing funds to help those that need it most.”

Elsewhere in the strategy the Government recognised the importance of grants and other forms of social finance, a welcome message for the sector following a long period of decline in grants programmes. There was also a spotlight placed on the importance of ‘collaborative, place-based and peer-influenced giving’.

Justin Sargent, Chief Executive at Somerset Community Foundation, said: “I welcome the announcement in the Government’s Civil Society Strategy to breathe new life into inactive trusts in Somerset and beyond, so that we can continue to fulfil the founders’ wishes to help people overcome disadvantage, poverty and inequality. These are important assets for our communities today and for generations to come and we can provide the necessary stewardship to make sure our communities benefit.”

Trustees of existing charitable trusts can contact Justin Sargent at Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949 or email: info@somersetcf.org.uk

 

Wessex Water, in partnership with Somerset Community Foundation, is offering financial support to grassroots groups that bring people together in the county.

Grants of up to £1,500 are available to organisations that build cohesion in communities, with priority given to smaller groups that work in areas of financial deprivation or rural isolation – and/or work to raise awareness of drinking water for healthy living or saving water. The deadline to apply is Friday 9 November 2018.

The fund is also being delivered across other parts of the West Country by Quartet, Dorset and Wiltshire Community Foundations.

Kirsty Scarlett, Wessex Water’s Community Engagement Manager, said: “We want to make sure that our communities help those who need support most. We’re delighted to be working in partnership with the four Community Foundations across our region who are all well placed to understand and address needs through making grants in their local areas.

“The fund will prioritise small, grassroots charities and community organisations over larger ones that perhaps have a higher profile.”

Justin Sargent, Chief Executive at Somerset Community Foundation added: “We are absolutely delighted to be working in partnership with Wessex Water to deliver the new Wessex Water Community Fund in our county.

“Building stronger communities in our towns and villages is absolutely key to improving the wellbeing and quality of life of so many people across Somerset, particularly those who are isolated, marginalised or disadvantaged in other ways. This fund will make a big difference to hundreds of people.”

Groups wishing to apply for funding from the Wessex Water Community Fund should follow the link here

Nine local groups are set to benefit from £40,000 worth of funding in the fourth round of the Hinkley Point C Community Fund Small Grants Programme, administered by Somerset Community Foundation.

The latest grants have been awarded to the following groups:

Supporting the development of an Adventure Training Control Facility. As new families move into the area, youth services such as the Air Cadets will become increasingly important. Grant received: £ 4,158. More information can be found here

Building on the potential employment opportunities offered by Hinkley Point C, this project will develop skills relevant to both accessing jobs and helping to secure the future of the carnival. Grant received: £4,200.

With the new Hinkley Point C housing development close by, this project will develop the AV facilities at the Sydenham Community Centre, for use by the whole community. Grant received: £5,000. More information can be found here

Showcasing Somerset to the increasing number of people in the area, this project will support parish councils within a ten-mile radius of Hinkley Point C by restoring local fingerposts to their former glory.  Grant received: £5,000. More information can be found here.

Constructing a footpath along a potentially dangerous part of the village where pedestrians have previously had to walk in the road. Grant received: £4,800. More information can be found here

This project will purchase new sports equipment, providing for the increased demands on breakfast and after-school clubs. Grant received: £2,500. More information can be found here

Enhancement of the facilities and recruitment of new volunteers at Minehead Museum. Grant received: £4,426. More information can be found here.

Part of an all-round effort to make the amateur dramatics group more attractive to newcomers as a part of their integration into the local community as a whole. Grant received: £4,000. More information can be found here.

The refurbishment of the village of Stockland’s only social venue, helping to enhance valuable community facilities.  Grant received: £5,000. More information can be found here.

The Hinkley Point C Community Fund supports community projects that will help to mitigate the impacts and take advantage of the opportunities of the Hinkley Point C project.  Charities, voluntary groups or social enterprises interested in applying for funding must normally operate on less than £100,000 a year.

Further information regarding the Hinkley Point C funding and how to apply can be found at: www.hpcfunds.co.uk or you can give Val Bishop, Programmes Director for the Hinkley Point C Funds at Somerset Community Foundation, a call on: 01749 344949.

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is looking for an individual who is passionate about Somerset, with good local knowledge of Bridgwater and the wider Sedgemoor area, to become one of three independent members serving in a voluntary capacity on the Hinkley Point C Community Fund Awards Panel.

The Hinkley Point C Community Fund – managed by Somerset Community Foundation – has an annual budget of over £1m and is for those seeking support for projects and initiatives that will help to mitigate the impacts and increase the opportunities of the Hinkley Point C project in their community.

Justin Sargent, CEO of Somerset Community Foundation, said: “We’d be really interested to hear from anyone who knows Somerset well – particularly Bridgwater and the wider Sedgemoor area – and who can think and act both strategically and independently. This is a terrific opportunity for anyone who is committed to local communities and achieving positive and lasting change.

“The successful candidate does not need experience of serving on a grants committee, as Somerset Community Foundation will provide training and guidance.”

The third independent member of the panel will join SCF Trustees and representatives from EDF and local councils, helping to make decisions on applications to the fund, and should be able to commit for at least three years.  

To find out more about this voluntary role, click here or apply by sending your CV and a covering letter to kirsty.campbell@somersetcf.org.uk or by post to: Somerset Community Foundation, Yeoman House, Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, BA4 6QN. The deadline to apply is Friday 14 September at 5pm, and shortlisted applicants will be interviewed on Friday 28 September.

Three derelict telephone boxes located in villages in the Borough of Taunton Deane have been given a new lease of life – with the installation of some smart new defibrillators. The kiosks, which had seen better days, have now been lovingly restored to their former glory by volunteers in the Parish of Creech St Michael.

Chairman of the Parish Council and volunteer caretaker of the defibrillator located in Creech Heathfield, Simon Hutchings, said: “Our first defibrillator was located in the village pub, but there wasn’t 24-hour access – if the pub was closed the defibrillator was no longer accessible. So it seemed like the perfect solution – to renovate the lovely old telephone boxes and give them a practical use at the same time. We’d also like to say a big thank you for the technical guidance and expertise we have received throughout this whole process from Heartstart Somerset, which is the scheme co-ordinated by the British Heart Foundation to teach members of the public the skills required in a life-threatening emergency.”

The defibrillator project cost the villages of Creech St Michael, Creech Heathfield and Ham in the region of £7,700 and the Parish Council raised funds by applying for a grant from the Borough Council’s Defibrillator Fund, managed by Somerset Community Foundation, as well as holding local fundraising events such as the annual Party in the Park.

Maggie Machin, volunteer caretaker of the telephone box in Ham, added: “We’ve worked hard to raise the funds to restore the telephone boxes, and we were very lucky that a professional artist happened to be staying with a friend in the village for a few days and offered to paint the outside of the phone box. A lot of cyclists pass through the village and a defibrillator saves lives: a bright red telephone box in the centre of the village is very easy to spot! The third kiosk, in Creech St Michael, is looked after by Nathaniel and Rowan Finch, overseen by their Mum, Dee.”

The Taunton Deane Borough Council Defibrillator Fund has awarded grants totalling over £11,000 to the villages of Corfe (£1,000), Creech St Michael, Creech Heathfield and Ham (£1,000), Durston (£756), Otterford (£958), Pitminster (£1,000), Ruishton and Thornfalcon (£1,000), Sampford Arundel (£1,000), Stoke St Mary (£1,000), West Hatch (£576), and West Monkton (£1,000) as well as to Taunton Theatre Association Ltd. (£960) and the Wellington & District Sports Federation (£800).

Cllr Jane Warmington, Executive Councillor for Community Leadership at TDBC, said: “It is reassuring that another village has been supported to install a defibrillator which could help save lives and provide some reassurance for local residents. A newly painted old red telephone box makes the perfect home for it!”

Andy Ridgewell, Programmes Manager at Somerset Community Foundation continued: “Somerset Community Foundation awards many grants for projects in rural communities, addressing issues such as limited public transport, the provision of opportunities for young people, and the upkeep of village halls and community spaces. The TDBC Defibrillator Fund has allowed us to extend this support to the provision of important emergency equipment across the Borough. We would also like to gratefully acknowledge that the Somerset Masonic Fund contributed 10% of the funding across all of these defibrillator grants.”

Liz Simmons, our VCSE Strategic Project coordinator, in partnership with Somerset County Council, updates us on plans for the future.

If your email inbox is anything like mine then it’s full to breaking point with voluntary sector newsletters and briefings – all of which I intend to read when there is a quiet day (!). I sometimes find it a losing battle to keep on top of them all and can struggle to find the really important and useful stuff.

One of the reasons the Somerset VCSE Strategic Forum was established by our partners was to improve communication and knowledge within the VCSE (voluntary, community and social enterprise) sector, and also to share VCSE matters with other sectors. One of the ways we having been doing this is through the Somerset VCSE Strategic Forum website.

We aim to develop the website further over the summer with some new features, making it essential reading for colleagues and the one place where you’ll find summaries and links to the most important and useful national and regional reports and research, alongside key Somerset VCSE news, initiatives and opportunities. In particular, we will be making sure that the sector is well informed about consultation and engagement opportunities for the forthcoming Fit For My Future strategy (Health & Social Care Strategy) and promoting new sector Advocate roles to ensure that the voice of the wider Somerset VCSE is heard.

Please do make the Somerset VCSE Strategic Forum website part of your regular reading. We also welcome your thoughts and suggestions so we can make the website as useful to you as possible. Contact lizatsomersetvcse@gmail.com with your feedback.

Somerset Community Foundation’s vision for Somerset is a county of vibrant, inclusive communities where voluntary organisations and social enterprises thrive, transforming and enhancing the lives of the most disadvantaged people.

The spirit of this vision was shown recently when the village of Henton held its annual Summer Fete recently, raising over £3,000 for the village church and £320 for its chosen charity of the year, Somerset Community Foundation.

Henton Village Fete Committee chose Somerset Community Foundation as their chosen charity for 2018 after hearing about the Surviving Winter campaign, which is run by SCF. The campaign asks people to donate their Winter Fuel Payment if they don’t need it, and the funds raised provide grants to vulnerable people in Somerset to help keep them warm and connected. Ian Tinsley, from the Henton Village Fete Committee said: “I was so pleased when it was agreed that we would support Somerset Community Foundation this year; I really like the fact they are a local charity that helps people in Somerset. The Surviving Winter campaign makes so much sense and is a really good example of how charity begins at home.”

The fete was opened by Tessa Munt this year and attracted many hundreds of people from the local community.

Highlights included stalls selling Somerset produce and crafts, face painting, a dog show and the Mendip Brass Band.  Ian went on to say: “Our fete is a tradition for the villages of Henton, Yardley and Bleadney – also known collectively as the Mill Stream Villages – and has been running for many years. Although it’s hard work, the reward is seeing families and other members of our community mixing together and enjoying themselves, while also raising money for good causes. It brings our community together and also helps to support other communities by donating some of the funds to SCF.”

Chief Executive of SCF, Justin Sargent, said: “We are delighted to be chosen by the Henton Village Fete Committee as this year’s charity.  Events that bring communities together can really help to reduce isolation, as do community spaces such as village halls, which have an important place in our rural communities.  Choosing to take positive action in their community, while at the same time wanting to help other Somerset communities, is inspiring”.

The Village Hall opened in 2000 and is now a focal point for Henton. It hosts many other activities including weekly sessions from the Somerset brain injury charity Headway, a book lending library, pilates, Henton and District Gardening Club, Henton Short Mat Bowls Club and The Women’s Institute.

It is important that we receive honest feedback from our grant applicants that we can act upon. For the last three years we have asked everyone who has applied for a grant from us to complete a customer satisfaction survey. This year 135 people took the time to tell us what they think. Below we share the results of the survey, what we think they mean, and what we plan to do in response.

A note on our survey

We used SurveyMonkey to capture our applicant’s responses. It’s a good way to collect people’s views online, and it’s a free-of-charge service. We sent our survey to over 400 people who were asked to complete several questions and then add any comments they wanted at the end. Only the highlights of this are included in this news item.

We decided to keep the survey anonymous, as we wanted respondents to tell us exactly what they thought. However, that does mean we can’t talk to anyone who raises a specific concern.

Finally, while 80% of the respondents were successful in their last application, 20% were not. We think this should result in a reasonably balanced view of our service.

 

How did you find out about our funding?

We want to be the first funder that someone thinks of when they are starting a new group or project in Somerset. We know that this is not currently the case, and so we’ve been working hard to spread the word over the last year.

In our digital age it is interesting to see that – once again – word of mouth continues to be the most common way that people find out about us. It’s therefore pleasing to see that people are talking to us and about us. 

Our grants team has made a conscious effort to get out into the community and attend local events and we would like to continue to build upon and expand this activity. 

We know that many people keep in touch with each other and their communities via social media. The question is: are we missing a section of the community who could do amazing things with our grants?

 

How do you rate our service?

There are various stages in our service when a grant applicant can have a good or bad experience of our system or staff. We asked respondents to score six of these stages on a scale of 0 to 5 (with 0 being ‘unacceptable’ and 5 being ‘excellent’).

Once again, all six stages scored an average of 4 (‘good’) and above. Most respondents were clearly quite happy with the service we provided to them, but we did notice that the score for each stage has also decreased slightly over the last three years. We don’t think this is cause for concern yet.

Our staff’s availability and helpfulness continue to be appreciated by many applicants. We know that some trusts and foundations are unable to talk to applicants at any point in their application processes. We continue to believe that having a friendly voice on the end of the phone is one of the best ways to attract high quality applications.

One area that continues to be a concern, and was noted in various comments, is our speed of decision making. Most applications are considered by a quarterly grants panel that meets three or four weeks after our published grants deadline. However, if a grant is awarded we often then have to talk to individual donors (the Foundation currently manages over 80 different funds on behalf of individuals, families, business, and local government), which can take some time.

 

Did you feel able to apply for what you really needed?

It is important that groups can apply for what they actually need, and not what a funder is able or willing to offer. We manage over 80 different funds, many with their own restrictions, but we work hard to combine these resources to offer flexible grants to the community.

While we are therefore unable to have an entirely open grants programme for Somerset, it is encouraging that three quarters of respondents felt ‘quite a bit’ or ‘very much’ able to apply for what they really needed.

 

 

 

 




Overall, how fairly do you think the Foundation treated you?

We are your Community Foundation and it is essential that what we do is fair and open. We asked applicants whether they felt they were treated fairly and over 90% responded that they felt treated either ‘fair’ or ‘extremely fairly’. However, one applicant felt they had been treated ‘extremely unfairly’.

 









How will we respond to the survey?

We are aware that it sometimes takes time to let you know the outcome of your grant application. While we may not be able to speed up the decision making process, we do commit to getting in touch with you within two weeks of our grant panel to let you know what’s happening.

Also, many respondents clearly valued being able to talk to someone, either over the phone or face-to-face, and we will continue to get out of the office and meet you across the county at different events.

We now publish all our grants data on 360Giving, so you can explore the grants that we award, alongside those of the Big Lottery Fund, Lloyds Bank Foundation and many others.  

Finally, we look forward to talking to you in the future about your projects and ideas, and would welcome any thoughts you might have about our service. You can contact the grants team on 01749 344949 or email info@somersetcf.org.uk

 

 

 

The Hinkley Point C Community Fund Strategic Grants Programme, which focuses on community cohesion, has made its first awards, and six local groups will benefit from funding, totalling in the region of £650,000. The successful groups have demonstrated how their project, scheme or initiative will help communities during the construction of Hinkley Point C. The six projects will be awarded payments over three years, and the following organisations will shortly be receiving their year one payments:

Keeley Rudd, CEO at Community Council for Somerset said: “CCS is delighted to secure funding for our Somerset Diverse Communities project, to help to create more empowered, visible and vocal BME (black and minority ethnic) communities.  Hinkley Point C workers are arriving from far and wide, and we want to provide them with a warm welcome and use the opportunity for us all to celebrate and better understand the diverse communities already living in Somerset.”






Rafal Skarbek, Founder and CEO at Diversity Voice said: “We are delighted with the HPC Community Fund panel decision. Diversity Voice will be able to provide high levels of support – including translation and interpreting services – for Hinkley Point C workers and families. Our services will deal with immigration support, education, community cohesion events, community safety, the Lingo-Link programme and many more activities which will help newcomers integrate into the community.”






Clare Pound, Manager and Senior Support Co-ordinator at Home-Start West Somerset said: We are absolutely thrilled to receive the news of our successful grant application from the HPC Community Fund! It will ensure we continue to help families with young children across the district and will enable us to employ a member of staff to support families in the areas impacted by the Hinkley Point C development. The funding will also be used to recruit and train local volunteers to visit and support families in their homes – developing groups for peer support where appropriate.”



 


Ed Moll, Senior Minister of St George’s Church, Wembdon said: “I am excited about this next chapter in the life of the Parish Centre, and about the possibilities the HPC Community Fund grant affords us for serving everyone in our local area – especially the most vulnerable. I look forward to forging interesting partnerships along the way as we increase our reach into the community.






Susan Clowes, Service Manager at West Somerset Advice Bureau said: “This grant will be invested in our community resources, helping us and our partners to offer better services to local residents. We particularly needed money to increase staffing, so that we could continue to help people remain in their homes. It has given us a lifeline to support people in housing need.”




 

 

 

 

Chris Baillie, Minister of Westfield and Cannington United Reformed Churches, said: “New possibilities always bring new challenges, but when communities are strong they cope better. Our Community Work post, and improved community facilities, will allow us to offer support to individuals and groups in both town and countryside. This grant enables us to extend and improve what we can offer in times of rapid changes.”

 

 

 

 

 

Community Cohesion was identified as the first priority for the HPC Community Fund after Somerset Community Foundation (SCF), who manage the fund, consulted with partners and key stakeholders. SCF then worked with local communities, charities and voluntary organisations to identify suitable projects for funding, which were considered by the Hinkley Point C Community Fund Awards Panel in a two-stage process.

 Justin Sargent, CEO at Somerset Community Foundation explains: “In our first year of running the Hinkley Point C Community Fund grants programme we have focused on investing in projects that strengthen and enhance local communities and services. We’re delighted that these six organisations, all of whom work in areas that are impacted by the construction of Hinkley Point C, have been successful with their applications. Their projects will not only improve and enrich the quality of people’s lives, but also contribute to the overall well-being and sustainability of their communities.”

David Eccles, Head of Stakeholder Engagement for the EDF Energy HPC project, said: “The team building Hinkley Point C want to play our role in supporting the community of which we are a part and allow the project to maximise opportunities for local people.  This is why we have made available community funds totalling over £20 million. The projects funded in this first round appear to match those ambitions perfectly.”

Somerset Community Foundation also manages the HPC Community Fund Small Grants Programme, which is currently open to applications for grants of up to £5,000 for community groups and organisations with an annual income of less than £100,000. The next deadline to apply is Friday 7 September 2018.

Further information regarding funding and how to apply to the HPC Community Fund can be found at: www.hpcfunds.co.uk or you can give Val Bishop, Programmes Director a call on: 01749 344949 or email: info@somersetcf.org.uk

 

Mary’s Beat, a memorial fund that was established last year to support individuals with physical and/or learning disabilities to access music therapy and outdoor adventures, has awarded its first two grants to individuals:

The fund is ongoing, with no deadline to apply and is open to people living in Somerset and Devon.

Click here to apply or to find out more about your eligibility to apply, please contact Jocelyn Blacker at the Somerset Community Foundation on 01749 344949 or jocelyn.blacker@somersetcf.org.uk for advice.

To make a donation to the fund, visit the Mary’s Beat JustGiving page.

The Hinkley Point C Community Fund Small Grants Programme, administered by Somerset Community Foundation, has awarded six new grants, which total over £33,000 in this third round of awards.  The awards have been made to Cruse Bereavement Care Somerset, Bridgwater; Friends of Berrow Beach, Burnham-on-Sea; Nourish Bumps, Babies and Breastfeeding, Cannington; The Quantock Foodbank, Watchet; Minehead Cycling Club, Minehead; and Wembdon Cricket Club.

 The Hinkley Point C Community Fund Small Grants Programme continues to support projects that seek to mitigate the impacts and take advantage of the opportunities of the Hinkley Point C build. Charities, voluntary groups or social enterprises considering applying for the funding must normally operate on less than £100,000 a year. Applications to the fund, which generally awards grants of up to £5,000, can be submitted at any time, as decisions are usually made every 6 – 8 weeks.

Further information regarding Hinkley Point C funding and how to apply can be found at: www.hpcfunds.co.uk or you can give Val Bishop, Programmes Director at Somerset Community Foundation, a call on: 01749 344949 or email: info@somersetcf.org.uk

Liz Simmons, our VCSE Strategic Project coordinator, in partnership with Somerset County Council, reports back from a very successful VCSE Leaders’ Conference.

The second annual VCSE Leaders’ Conference was held on May 9, 2018 at Victoria Park Community Centre, Bridgwater and was very well attended with over 50 delegates. It’s a sign of the increasing desire for collaboration and connectedness of the sector that we were at capacity and closed to new bookings a week before the event. Maybe a bigger venue next year!

We heard from a range of great presenters including Peter Jones of Locality, David Fothergill, leader of Somerset County Council, Naomi Griffiths from the Onion Collective and Susi Calder from Spark. Full presentations are available on the Somerset VCSE Strategic Forum website here.

You may have seen the pictures on twitter of Jane Knowles from SASP encouraging us to be active in a fun, non-threatening way. Justin Sargent, CEO at Somerset Community Foundation, has agreed to lead us all in song next year…apparently he has experience of this!

Lunchtime was a fantastic opportunity for us all to network and catch up with colleagues. In the afternoon we held round table discussions on our response to the Somerset Vision and how we can all further enable social action. Lots of thoughts and ideas to take back to the Strategic Forum to form an action plan. Ideas will be posted on the Somerset VCSE Strategic Forum website.

We ended the day hearing from seven colleagues on developments and activities they wanted to share. Details of these will be on the Somerset VCSE Strategic Forum website shortly.

Mental health charities in Somerset will receive a long-term boost thanks to the generosity of the founder and trustees of the Graham Burrough Charitable Trust who have chosen to wind the charity up after 20 years of helping people living with mental health problems. 

The trust was originally established in memory of Graham Burrough after he died in 1997 aged 66 after a lifetime of amazing willpower and bravery to overcome illness and enjoy a very successful life. To find out more about Graham Burrough click here.

After running the trust for almost twenty years, during which time it supported hundreds of mental health charities with around £500,000 in grants, Graham’s widow, Pam, and her fellow trustees, agreed to wind the charity up.

Somerset Community Foundation was approached by the trust’s solicitors in 2016 and, working with our colleagues at Dorset Community Foundation, we were able to offer a long-term future for the Fund. The trust has now been split between the two Foundations, each receiving over £300,000. The funds will continue to be invested as part of our endowments and the income will be used to support local grassroots projects helping people living with mental health illnesses.

Pam Burrough said: “I am very happy indeed that such a viable future for the trust has been established. I wish I had discovered just how the Foundation works at an earlier stage in our decision making. I feel very confident that Graham’s legacy will be administered wisely and will continue, in his name, to help and cheer many others suffering mental health problems. He was a brave soul, overcoming blindness and many set-backs. I wish Somerset Community Foundation great success in all their endeavours.”

Although we never knew Graham, we are inspired by his life story and it is our privilege to continue supporting great causes in his name, helping local people today and far into the future.

Perrys Recycling has created an easy and straightforward way for people in Somerset to raise money for their local community: by recycling their unwanted paper in their Charity Paper Banks. For every tonne of paper recycled through one of the dozens of paper banks located at supermarket car parks across the county, £10 is donated to Somerset Community Foundation (SCF).

Newspapers, magazines, greetings cards, junk mail and telephone books can all be recycled and since the launch of the first Charity Paper Bank eight years ago, the scheme has raised an incredible £17,500 for SCF.

David Harris, Community Recycling Manager at Perrys Recycling said: “We would encourage everyone to check whether their local supermarket has one of our bright blue recycling paper banks. It’s such an effective way to donate and we could so easily double – or even treble – the amount we’re already donating to SCF if more people brought their recycling to the paper banks. So come on everyone, bring your paper to your local Perrys Charity Paper Bank and let’s see what a difference we can all make in Somerset!”

Gordon Stevens from the Men’s Shed at The Balsam Centre, Wincanton said: “We recently received grant funding from Somerset Community Foundation and we recycle as much paper as we can in these paper banks. It’s such a fantastic way to be able to give back to the Foundation, who provide grant funding and support to over 200 local charities and community groups such as ourselves, every year.”

Perrys Recycling is a family-run recycling company based in Marston Magna near Yeovil with other depots in Bridgwater and Appledore (Devon). They also support Dorset, Wiltshire and Quartet Community Foundations via their very successful Charity Paper Bank scheme.

For a full list of paper banks click here or call us on 01749 344949 or Perrys Recycling on 0800 1692574.

 

Piers and Rachel Dyer will be using vintage pedal power to cycle over 800 miles in less than a month this summer, raising funds for Mary’s Beat. Mary’s Beat is a charitable fund for people living in Somerset or Devon with physical and/or learning disabilities, to gain access to music or outdoor activities. The fund was set up after Mary Christabel Dyer sadly died in 2017 and is administered by Somerset Community Foundation.

In 2000, Mary took part in a 24-hour, 85 mile ‘tortoise and hare’ cycle ride from Leatherhead to Le Mans. Her father, Piers, pedalled Mary in her Duet, a wheelchair bicycle, and Mary’s sister Esther, and her aunt, Rachel, made up the rest of the team of cyclists raising money for the national charity SeeAbility.

Piers explained: “It seems only fitting that, eighteen years after our last charity bike ride to Le Mans, we’re doing it again – but this time raising funds in memory of Mary. And we’re also going nearly ten times the distance! So this July we plan to cycle an 835 mile round trip to Le Mans, starting and ending at our home in Cossington.

“We’ve planned a few rest days along the way and have even managed to schedule an overnight stay with our son, Mary’s brother Theo, in Brighton on the return journey.”

Rachel went on to say: “I will be riding the same bike I rode on the first Le Mans cycle ride – it’s a lovely 1984 Claude Butler tourer – and Piers is riding his 22 year-old Dawes tourer. Our target is to raise £1,500. It’s going to be a challenge but we’re ready for it!”

Once the ride is underway, which starts on Tuesday 3 and finishes Thursday 26 July, there will be regular blog updates posted on the Mary’s Beat JustGiving page here, where you can also donate.

If you have any questions regarding applying for funding from Mary’s Beat, please call us on: 01749 344949.

The Hidden Needs Trust’s (HNT) latest fundraising idea for Somerset and Dorset’s Opportunity Groups is a physical challenge with a difference! Taking place at the Sherborne Summer Festival on Saturday 16 June, Rachel Goodfellow, founder and fundraiser at HNT, is planning on completing a marathon in a specially modified ‘Motivation’ sports racing wheelchair.

Rachel Goodfellow – who in 2015 ran 7 marathons; in 2016 ran 27 marathons in 26 days; and in 2017 ran 65 miles in 12 hours –  said: “The four Opportunity Groups – located in Yeovil, Taunton, Dorchester and Blandford Forum – rely heavily on donations from fundraising activities so they can continue to provide their unique service to children and their parents. I’m currently seeking sponsorship for the wheelchair, which I’ll be keeping for events and other promotional use for another 18 months following the marathon. My aim is to then donate the wheelchair to a para-athlete who really needs it, in order to fulfil their dreams.

“Ultimately, this means the wheelchair could potentially be seen at any athletics meeting in the world – if the para-athlete chosen was aiming high! For exclusive sponsorship of the wheelchair I’m asking for offers over £700. And of course, wherever the wheelchair goes…so will the sponsor’s name!”

Rachel’s sons Peter (10), William (15) and George (18) will also be taking the physical challenge at the Sherborne Summer Festival this June, and para-athlete Ebony Court, who attended Yeovil Opportunity Group as a child, will be joining Rachel in her own sports racing wheelchair, to show her how it’s done!

Opportunity Groups provide specialist learning for pre-school children with additional needs and each has to raise £30,000 per year to operate. Rachel, whose daughter has special educational needs, set up the Hidden Needs Trust – managed by Somerset Community Foundation – in 2014 so that she could concentrate her efforts on fundraising for the groups.

Rachel Goodfellow goes on to say: “We’re also currently seeking a publisher for my first book, ‘The Adventures of Y’, which is a fun collection of tales about my autistic daughter and the challenges we face together as a family. This will be ready to go into book format later this year, so that we can continue to raise more funds for the Opportunity Groups – if anyone can help, please do get in touch!”

For more information about the fundraising Hidden Needs Trust has planned later in the year, to sponsor the sports wheelchair, or publish Rachel’s book, you can visit the HNT website: www.hiddenneedstrust.org

Mugs of tea, biscuits and cake were in plentiful supply at the official Somerset Levels and Moors Shed (SLaMS) relocation opening ceremony last month [April 2018]. The Men’s Shed, which has previously benefitted from grant funding from Somerset Community Foundation, recently moved to a larger premises in Bridgwater, having outgrown their original premises in Burrowbridge.

Bridgwater Mayor Cllr Granter cut the ribbon with a woodwork saw and Bridgwater and North Petherton Town Councillors, Village Agents, Compass Disability Services, Age UK, MIND, Somerset Community Foundation and other members of the community enjoyed guided tours and chats with regular members, who are also known as Shedders.

The newly equipped Men’s Shed, which was formerly part of the Bridgwater brickworks, is now able to provide a fantastic range of facilities for woodwork and craft-based activities, as well as a social space for Shedders – old and new – in the locality. 

Colin Gorton, SLaMS Chairman said: “After two successful years in Burrowbridge, our new Men’s Shed in Bridgwater offers much improved facilities and is also better located for Sedgemoor Shedders.  With over thirty members, we are a vibrant community who enjoy making and repairing items, sharing and learning new skills, having fun and socialising.  We look forward to welcoming new members of any ability to SLaMS.”

Nathan Sarea, Trustee of the UK Men’s Sheds Association (UKMSA), said: “The UKMSA would like to congratulate Colin and the guys from SLaMS for all their hard work and dedication in establishing their new base here in Bridgwater, and we will endeavor to support them in continuing to flourish. 

Personally, I cannot emphasize enough the value and importance of a Men’s Shed to a local community such as Bridgwater. Social isolation is killer for many men – so firstly we need to reach out and find these men – and then we need to provide a fantastic provision they can come along to – SLaMS is a perfect example.”

With over 400 Men’s Sheds in the UK, and growing at the rate of nine per month, the Men’s Shed movement is widely acknowledged to have major benefits for men’s health and wellbeing. 

SLaMS can be found at Canal View, Old Taunton Road, Bridgwater and is open every Tuesday from 09:30 to 12:00 and every Thursday from 13:00 to 16:00.  For more information visit the website here or email: info@slams.org.uk or call: 01823 698612.

The two latest groups to benefit from the Somerset Social Enterprise Fund (SSEF) are We Hear You, based in Frome, and GrassRoots Power, based in Taunton.

SSEF offers a mix of funding which combines grants and loans, ranging from £25,000 to £100,000. These investments are designed to support charities and social enterprises that deliver benefit to society as well as generate financial returns. The fund was established in 2014 with initial financing from Somerset County Council and is administered by Somerset Community Foundation. Last year it was enhanced by additional funding from the Growth Fund, which is managed by Access – the Foundation for Social Investment in partnership with the Big Lottery Fund and Big Society Capital.

We Hear You offer free, professional counselling for anyone affected by cancer or other life-threatening illness. They have been awarded a loan of £25,000 and grant of £12,500 from SSEF and intend to invest in the development of their art gallery in the centre of Frome, expanding their current premises. Hannah Culff, Interim Director at We Hear You said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have been awarded this funding from the Somerset Social Enterprise Fund. By expanding our WHY Art Gallery we can promote our free counselling service and also generate long-term, sustainable funds for the charity.”

GrassRoots Power CIC, who specialise in delivering support services to sports clubs, helping them become more sustainable, has been awarded a loan of £50,000 and grant of £25,000 from SSEF. They plan to invest their funding in marketing, systems, and the recruitment of staff. Harry Riste, CEO and Founder at GrassRoots Power said: “GrassRoots Power CIC are thrilled to be in receipt of this funding. Our organisation has been hard at work deploying services in the community and county, and we are looking forward to the positive challenges ahead and opportunities that Somerset Community Foundation have given us.”

Councillor David Hall, Cabinet Member for Resources and Economic Development at Somerset County Council, said: “These groups demonstrate exactly the kind of diverse work that this fund was set up to support. I’m certain that these loans are going to be used to do excellent work for Somerset residents.”

Seb Elsworth, Chief Executive at Access went on to say: “Access’s programmes are focused on helping more charities and social enterprises use social investment to help grow their resilience and impact. I’m so pleased that these two innovative organisations benefitted initially from the Reach Fund – which was funding that previously helped them to refine their investment proposal – and have now gained further investment from the Growth Fund, via Somerset Community Foundation.”

If you run a local community project and would like to find out more about funding for social enterprises or grant funding in general, please call us on 01749 344949.

Six more local groups are set to benefit from the Hinkley Point C Community Fund Small Grants Programme administered by Somerset Community Foundation.

The grants, which total almost £30,000 in this second round, have been awarded to Old Cleeve Community Hall, Old Cleeve; St. Francis Holiday Club, Bridgwater; Bridgwater Cricket Club; Work-wise, Taunton; Wilstockhub, Wilstock; and Friends of Minehead First School, Minehead.

Charities, voluntary groups or social enterprises that would like to apply for the funding must normally operate on less than £100,000 a year and should be able to show that the projects they are seeking to support will help to mitigate the impacts and take advantage of the opportunities of the Hinkley Point C project.

 

Further information regarding the Hinkley Point C funding and how to apply can be found here or you can give Val Bishop, Programmes Director at Somerset Community Foundation, a call on the number below.

If you run a local community project and would like to find out more about grant funding in general, please call us on: 01749 344949.

 

Social enterprises from across Somerset attended our inaugural Ready, Steady, Grow! workshop earlier this month at Monks Yard, Ilminster. Described by one attendee as “truly informative and motivating,” the event was delivered by our Social Investment Manager, Steve McLauchlan, and featured presentations from Justin Sargent and Monks Yard Trust administrator Liz Tozer.

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) Chief Executive, Justin Sargent, opened the workshop with a update on the current funding landscape for the charity, voluntary and social enterprise sectors. He reported on recent data showing that smaller organisations have felt the greatest impact of reduced public sector funding. Personal donations are not on the increase either, and the funding landscape is not expected to improve markedly in the coming years. Many small organisations will need to consider changing their models of operation in order to generate sufficient income to continue delivering their services. One option is to generate earned or commercial income, thus evolving into a social enterpise. 

Workshop attendees came together to discuss their respective funding challenges and to exchange ideas for overcoming these challenges. They heard from Liz Tozer, Administrator for Monks Yard Trust, a charity and social enterprise that is support by The Monks Yard. The trust recently made a successful application to the Reach Fund with the support of Steve McLaughlan, SCF’s Social Investment Manager. Their grant from the Reach Fund will help the trust meet the cost of legal, financial and consultancyexpertise that will, in turn, support an application to the Somerset Social Enterprise Fund

Steve went on to introduce the Enhance Social Enterprise Programme that SCF is currently delivering. At the end of the day, attendees fed back that the workshop had been useful in raising awareness of the range of services that SCF can provide for charities and social enterprises. They also found value in connecting with people from different local organisations facing common funding challenges. 

If you’d like to register your interest in the next Ready, Steady, Grow! event, please do drop us a line at rsvp@somersetcf.org.uk or give us a call on 01749 344949.

 

 

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) recently welcomed Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex to their offices on The Royal Bath and West Showground.

The Countess, who arrived by Royal helicopter, met with SCF trustees and senior staff where they discussed how the lack of social mobility in Somerset was a growing problem and among the worst in the country, and ways that SCF will be tackling this and other issues that young people in our county face today. The Countess then met with representatives from three groups that provide opportunities for disadvantaged young people in our communities, all of whom have previously received grant funding from SCF:

Gerald Swayne, Churchwarden and senior organiser at Bridgwater-based St Francis Church Holiday Club along with Madison Simmons, age 14, who has been attending the Club since she was 7 years old and who is now a Junior Leader;

Dave Jackson, Director of Operations, who runs YMCA Somerset Coast’s social enterprise, The Beach Hotel, in Minehead, along with Connor Bazley, age 19, who had struggled to find a local college where he could peruse his passion for catering, and is now an apprentice chef at the hotel;

Jock Hedderwick, from PROMISEworks, a mentoring service for disadvantaged young people in Somerset, along with Aaron Rogers, age 21, his mentee of over 6 years, since he and his mum were evicted from their home.

The Countess spent time with the groups, asking questions about each organisation in turn. She particularly enjoyed talking with the young people, listening to their individual stories and finding out how the groups had supported them.

During her Somerset tour, The Countess also went to Taunton where she visited Musgrove Park Hospital, Somerset County Cricket Club, and Queen’s College, before arriving by helicopter at her next stop, the Royal Bath and West Showground where, as Vice Patron, the Countess also visited the newly built Rural Enterprise Centre.

If you run a local community project and would like to find out more about grant funding, please call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949 or visit: www.somersetcf.org.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yeovil Opportunity Group (YOG), who provide specialist care to pre-school children with additional needs and their families, have recently been awarded a £3,000 grant from Somerset Community Foundation – which includes a contribution from Hidden Needs Trust (HNT).

Rachel Goodfellow, founder and fundraiser at HNT, said: “Hidden Needs Trust was set up to raise awareness of the vital work that the Opportunity Groups in Somerset and Dorset provide, and we are delighted to have donated money towards Yeovil Opportunity Group’s latest bid for funding.”

Rachel continues: “One of our next big fundraisers is a marathon with a difference! I’ll be undertaking it in a specially modified sports wheelchair, for which I’m currently seeking sponsorship. I’m also delighted that Ebony Court, who went to Yeovil Opportunity Group as a child and is now a sprint wheelchair para-athlete, will be accompanying me on the race, which is taking place at Sherborne Summer Festival on Saturday 16 June.”

Grant funding supports most of the running costs at the four Opportunity Groups, which are located in Yeovil, Taunton, Dorchester and Blandford Forum, and the groups rely heavily on donations and fundraising so that they can continue to provide their unique service to children and their parents.

Rachel Goodfellow goes on to say: “I have also written my first book, ‘The Adventures of Y’, which is a fun collection of tales about my autistic daughter and the challenges we face as a family. This will be ready to go into book format later this year, once the illustrations are complete.  We’re currently seeking a publisher, so that we can continue to raise more funds for the Opportunity Groups – if anyone can help, please do get in touch!”

For more information about the fundraising Hidden Needs Trust has planned, or to help with sponsorship for the sports wheelchair or finding a publisher for Rachel’s book, you can visit their website here.

 

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is delighted to announce that its 2017/18 Surviving Winter campaign has reached its fundraising target of £100,000!

Thanks to the inspiration of one Somerset pensioner, hundreds of vulnerable older people in our communities can look forward to a warmer and more sociable winter each year. Since Surviving Winter first launched in Somerset in 2010, the appeal has raised an astounding £600,000 in total for the county. One man’s idea to donate the equivalent of his Winter Fuel Payment to help others in greater need has since become a nationwide campaign with over £550,000 raised since October 2017 in the UK alone.

SCF’s community partners actively support people living in fuel poverty by visiting their homes and issuing Surviving Winter grants; thanks to the generosity of donors in Somerset this winter, the campaign has already helped close to 400 people in Somerset so far and more grants will continue to be issued well into the chilly springtime.

Cold weather is a prime cause of preventable deaths among older, isolated people in rural areas like Somerset. Age UK Somerset, one of SCF’s community partners, has a few tips that could save a life in the cold weather: if you have elderly neighbours, pop in to check they are OK; offer to get any shopping they might need; or even offer to take a hot meal to them.

If you are elderly, keep an eye on your thermometer and make sure your living room temperature is at 21 °C and your bedroom is at 18 °C; use a hot water bottle to keep warm, even during the daytime; and drink hot drinks regularly throughout the day and evening.

For information on how to apply for a Surviving Winter grant, please contact either Community Council for Somerset on 01823 331222 or Age UK Somerset on 01823 345610 or click here.

 

 

Twenty chief executives and senior executives from the charity and voluntary sector recently attended the second Good Lunch, which was held at Monks Yard in Ilminster earlier this month. The four-monthly networking event, which is held for senior charity leaders, was well attended and topics that were discussed included GDPR; submitting fundraising bids; how cuts in the public sector affect the charity sector; and working with professional advisors. 

The rotating table plan ensured there were plenty of opportunities for networking, and many attendees commented on how motivating they found the event, and how much they enjoyed meeting new and like-minded people, and exchanging knowledge and sharing advice.

In response to feedback, The Good Lunch will keep moving: the next event is planned for June, and more details, including the new location, will be released shortly. Stay up-to-date by signing up to our monthly e-newsletter here.

The Good Lunch is organised in partnership with Clare Rance (Lloyds Bank Foundation), Pete Hawkins (Hawkins Charity Consultancy), Martin Lock (PKF Francis Clark) and Anna Phillips (Foot Anstey).

Ten organisations that are working with communities in Somerset who are feeling the effects of the development of Hinkley Point C have successfully made it through to the second round of the Community Cohesion grants programme.

Twenty-five expressions of interest were initially submitted to the first stage of the Community Cohesion programme, which is managed by Somerset Community Foundation and is part of a wider Hinkley Point C Community Fund Strategic Grants Programme. Following a meeting earlier last month [January 2018] the panel then identified the projects and organisations that best met the criteria of the call for Community Cohesion bids, which prioritises strengthening communities and community services.

The ten groups who have been invited to submit applications to the second stage, by May of this year [2018], are:

Successful applications aim to avoid, reduce, improve, off-set or take advantage of the identified impact or effect and are for people who are experiencing, or are likely to experience, ‘intangible and residual impacts’ from the construction of Hinkley Point C.

Further strategic grants programmes are expected to be opened in the Spring of 2018.

More information regarding the Hinkley Point C funding and how to apply can be found here or you can give Val Bishop, Programmes Director for the Hinkley Point C Funds a call on: 01749 344949.

Somerset Community Foundation’s (SCF) award-winning Surviving Winter appeal has almost reached its target and is now standing at £97,500. With just £2,500 to raise before reaching their target of £100,000, SCF’s CEO Justin Sargent is urging people to donate:

“We’ve had an absolutely fantastic Surviving Winter appeal this year, with early donations beating all our previous records, but there’s just a little way further to go. We really would love to be able to reach our target so that we can help 500 older people living in fuel poverty this year, so if you don’t want or need your Winter Fuel Payment – or if you would simply like to help by donating to the campaign – then please do.”

Living in fuel poverty can cause serious health problems including heart attacks, strokes and pneumonia, and on average, 330 older people die unnecessarily due to the cold in Somerset each year. A grant from Surviving Winter could make all the difference.

To donate some or all of your Winter Fuel Payment, or to make a donation of any size to the Surviving Winter appeal, please send a cheque made payable to Somerset Community Foundation (writing SW on the reverse), Yeoman House, Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, BA4 6QN; or call 01749 344949; or you can donate online, here

Gift Aid forms are available to download here.

Following the first Hinkley Point C Community Fund Small Grants Programme panel meeting last month [January 2018], two local groups are the first to have been awarded grants from the programme, which is administered by Somerset Community Foundation.

Grants have been awarded to Middlezoy Arts and Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge Men’s Shed (BOSHed) and together total nearly £10,000. To apply for the funding, charities, voluntary groups or social enterprises that normally operate on less than £100,000 a year must show that the projects they are seeking to support will help to mitigate the impacts and take advantage of the opportunities of the Hinkley Point C project.

The Middlezoy Arts project focuses on connecting with the arts through the surrounding environment. The Hinkley Point C grant will improve a popular walking trail of approximately 2.5 miles by making it more accessible for pushchairs and wheelchairs and, for the more tech-savvy, a geocache route will also be available to encourage all ages to explore the village. Local people have been invited to enrol on to iron heritage workshops and, using a local forge, sculptures and signage will be produced by the community to enhance the heritage trail. These will be unveiled at this year’s free-of-charge Have-A-Go Festival Day on Saturday 14 July.

Mari Bell-Phillips from Middlezoy Arts said: “We are delighted to have been awarded a grant from the Hinkley Point C Small Grants Programme. Arts and culture-based activities can reach every member of the community and the Hinkley Point C grant will help us to support the more isolated residents within our community. This project will create exciting enrichments around Middlezoy and allow us to develop our village forge for the use of everyone.”

BOSHed plan to use the grant money to expand their facility to enable more members to attend the activities on offer. Men’s Sheds combat social isolation and loneliness, and BOSHed have seen their numbers swelling to over 60 members which includes a weekly session for women ‘shedders’.

Tony Cradock, Chairman at BOSHed said: “We are absolutely over the moon about receiving the grant. It will enable us to move ‘The Shed’ on to the next level helping to ensure we can cater for all our members – including the new Ladies Shed! We offer an oasis where people can come together to pursue ‘hands on’ interests in a safe and informal environment, where advice, support and friendship are always near at hand.”

Further information regarding the Hinkley Point C funding and how to apply can be found here or you can give Val Bishop, Programmes Director for the Hinkley Point C Funds, a call on: 01749 344949.

Surviving Winter, the appeal run by Somerset Community Foundation that encourages pensioners who feel they don’t want or need their Winter Fuel Payment to donate it, has just received a welcome boost in the shape of £5000 from EDF Energy – but there is still a little way to go before the appeal reaches its target of £100,000 to help 500 older people this winter.

EDF Energy, which operates Hinkley Point B and is building Hinkley Point C, regularly supports local groups and communities through grants and funding. This includes the Hinkley Point C Community Small Grants Fund which is also administered by Somerset Community Foundation.

David Eccles, Head of Stakeholder Engagement for Hinkley Point C, said: “We are delighted to be able to donate to the Surviving Winter appeal as it benefits local pensioners and provides much needed support for them in the colder months.”

Surviving Winter grants can be put towards things like heating bills, fuel and warm clothing and blankets, and the campaign’s community partners also help make sure vulnerable local older people stay connected within their community.  One in six older people in Somerset say that they feel isolated, and recent national research shows being lonely and isolated is linked to increasing the risk of early death by a third.  Age UK estimates that some 873,000 people aged 65 and over don’t see or hear from anyone for days on end, with over half relying on the television for companionship. The Surviving Winter campaign is working towards reducing isolation among older people in Somerset.

To donate some or all of your Winter Fuel Payment, or to make a donation of any size to the Surviving Winter appeal, please send a cheque made payable to Somerset Community Foundation (writing SW on the reverse), Yeoman House, Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, BA4 6QN; or call 01749 344949; or you can donate online here

Gift Aid forms are available to download here.

 

Michael Eavis CBE has joined the Bishop of Bath and Wells, celebrated potter John Leach and West Countryman Les Davies MBE, FRGS in endorsing the 2017/18 Surviving Winter appeal. Now in its eighth year, the Surviving Winter appeal, which is managed by Somerset Community Foundation, asks pensioners who can live without their Winter Fuel Payment to donate it to help local older people who are struggling to stay socially connected and warm this winter.

Michael Eavis says: “I’m very happy to be able to donate my fuel allowance to Somerset Community Foundation again this year. They do a fantastic job helping residents keep warm through the cold winter months.”

To date, over £90,000 has been kindly donated – but Somerset Community Foundation still needs a further £10,000 to reach its target of raising £100,000 to help 500 vulnerable older people this winter.

The latest government figures suggest over 600,000 pensioner households in England live in fuel poverty [Source: National Statistics Fuel poverty trends: 2003-2014, published 30 June 2016]. A grant from Surviving Winter can make all the difference to an older person living in a home that is difficult to keep warm and could be used to help pay heating bills, buy warm blankets and clothing, and purchase additional logs for the fire.

To donate some or all of your Winter Fuel Payment, or to make a donation of any size to the Surviving Winter appeal, please send a cheque made payable to Somerset Community Foundation (writing SW on the reverse), Yeoman House, Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, BA4 6QN; or call 01749 344949; or you can donate online here.

Gift Aid forms are available to download here.

 

As the peal of the mighty bells rang out from the south-west tower, over 500 people filled the magnificent Wells Cathedral on Saturday night for our annual Sing for Somerset carol service.

We would like to thank Reverend Prebendary Paula Hollingsworth, Sub Dean for her involvement this year and for stepping in at the last minute. Our gratitude goes to our conductor Laurence Blyth for his leadership and creativity and our thanks as always to the Mid-Somerset Orchestra and the Somerset Voices Choir, who gave their time completely freely for this event and whose dramatic and powerful harmonies had some of the congregation in tears!

The Virgers and staff at the Cathedral also deserve a huge thank you for their support and assistance during the service along with the ushers who volunteered their time to make sure that everyone found a seat ahead of the service.

Our gratitude, of course, goes to our six readers, who delivered their part of the nativity story from the Cathedral’s pulpit faultlessly. 

The generosity during the retiring collection, particularly at such an expensive time of year for many people, was greatly appreciated and will help to enable us to continue to support groups across Somerset during the coming years.

Finally, a date for your new 2018 diary! Sing for Somerset 2018 will be held on Saturday 15 December at Wells Cathedral – we hope to see you there again!

Local charities make up the lifeblood of our communities. They make a daily difference to millions of people. That’s why Community Foundations are proud to announce, on Local Charities Day, that collectively we have distributed ONE BILLION POUNDS to local charities.

This milestone shows the impact that Community Foundations have had on local communities. In the last year alone we distributed £77million in grants and 4.7million people were impacted by our work.

From floods to fuel poverty to food banks, we support communities where they need it the most. We reach every postcode in the UK and this reach means that we support the very smallest charities and community groups, who often go unnoticed by many. But it’s these charities that are a lifeline for so many people and desperately need our support

Fabian French, Chief Executive of UK Community Foundations, said “At UK Community Foundations we’re proud to work with incredible local charities day in day out. We understand the needs of the communities we work in and direct grants to causes that will meet that need and will make the biggest difference. That’s why we passionately support Local Charities Day and why Community Foundations are what the Chair of the Charity Commission says ‘exactly what charities should be’.”

Support Somerset Community Foundation, and help us reach two billion pounds so we can continue to support local communities. 

Generous Surviving Winter supporters in Somerset have already donated over £70,000 to the campaign, which aims to help keep isolated older people who are living in fuel poverty warm and connected this winter.

However, fuel prices are on the rise, and an increasing number of older people living in Somerset are worried about how they will heat their homes again this winter. Somerset Community Foundation’s (SCF) annual Surviving Winter appeal encourages local pensioners who feel they don’t want or need their Winter Fuel Payment to donate some or all of it to the campaign. Vulnerable older people living in fuel poverty and social isolation in Somerset are identified by SCF’s community partners, where they are given a Surviving Winter grant which helps them keep their home warm and safe. They are also connected to community projects that help keep them socially engaged during the long, cold winter months.

Last winter a Surviving Winter grant was made to an elderly couple who live in a mobile caravan in a more remote part of Somerset. The caravan had no mains water and the couple relied on gas bottles for cooking and a generator for their electricity. With declining physical health as well as mental health problems, the husband’s wellbeing depended on them being able to heat their home, which was an ongoing challenge. Their Surviving Winter grant helped alleviate the pressure of finding money to pay for fuel and the Surviving Winter community partner was also able to give the couple information about local services and other help and support that was available to them.

Christmas is just around the corner and most people are starting to think about spending time cozying up in front of the fire with their nearest and dearest, munching on a mince pie and watching the Christmas television. Please spare a thought for your neighbours who won’t have any family members visiting this year and help SCF reach their target of £100,000 to help at least 500 struggling pensioner households heat their homes, stay healthy and stay connected to their communities this winter. 

To donate some or all of your Winter Fuel Payment, or to make a donation of any size to the Surviving Winter appeal, please send a cheque made payable to Somerset Community Foundation (writing SW on the reverse), Yeoman House, Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, BA4 6QN; or call 01749 344949; or you can donate online here.

Gift Aid forms are available to download here.

West Country legend Les Davies MBE is the latest local name to back Somerset Community Foundation’s Surviving Winter campaign.

Les, who is known as ‘West Countryman’ to some, is President of the Mendip Society, a member of the Youth Environmental Awards Committee and a lifetime member of the Avon and Somerset Search and Rescue team, and he was delighted to pledge his first Winter Fuel Payment to the Surviving Winter appeal. Les says: “Donating all or part of your Winter Fuel Payment to Surviving Winter can help so much. I’m delighted to support such a worthwhile campaign! If you can help, please consider giving your payment to others who are in need. Let’s make an effort to look after those who are less fortunate and make sure everyone stays warm this winter.”

And, following a recent television appearance where Les endorsed Surviving Winter on a BBC Points West report with Clinton Rogers, the appeal has had a massive boost – with donations now well on their way to reaching 50 per cent of the £100,000 target!

Winter Fuel Payments range from £150 to £300 and are usually received between mid-November and Christmas. To donate some or all of your Winter Fuel Payment, or to make a donation of any size to the Surviving Winter appeal, please send a cheque made payable to Somerset Community Foundation (writing SW on the back), Yeoman House, Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, BA4 6QN; or call 01749 344949; or you can donate online at: www.somersetcf.org.uk/winter

Somerset Community Foundation’s Surviving Winter campaign is off to a great start with over 10% of the £100,000 target already raised! Thanks to people like you who have donated their Winter Fuel Payments, hundreds of vulnerable pensioners across Somerset will be protected from the harsh effects of fuel poverty, loneliness and isolation this winter. Somerset Community Foundation (SCF), who administer the annual award-winning programme, is also delighted to announce the latest celebrity to support the campaign, celebrated potter John Leach, who is the eldest grandson of renowned potter Bernard Leach and son of potter David Leach. John continues the family tradition in his pottery in Muchelney with his wife Lizzie and knows all about how difficult winter can be. He was one of hundreds of people in the community of Muchelney to be hugely impacted by the flooding of the Somerset levels during the winter of 2013/14.

John says: “I’m very pleased to be supporting Surviving Winter – it’s a campaign I heartily endorse. I love Somerset and strongly believe that it’s important to look after our neighbours – especially in times of need. My wife Lizzie and I have donated our Winter Fuel Payments to this incredibly worthwhile cause, and, if you have the means, I would ask that you would consider the same.”

A Surviving Winter grant is more than just a donation towards the heating bill. It is also the first step towards connecting people living in fuel poverty to a local community partner; this can become the foundation for a new relationship that can help to overcome the isolation and loneliness many older people experience.

Somerset Community Foundation aims to help at least 500 pensioner households struggling to heat their homes and to stay healthy this winter. To donate some or all of your Winter Fuel Payment, or to make a donation of any size to the Surviving Winter appeal, please send a cheque made payable to Somerset Community Foundation (please write SW on the back), Yeoman House, Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, BA4 6QN; or call 01749 344949; or you can donate online here.

Gift Aid forms are available to download here.

 

 

We were delighted at how popular our Community Christmas Dinners grant was again this year, with 34 grants awarded – totalling £8372! This money will allow small groups to put on Christmas meals for isolated members of their community. Beneficiaries are both old and young, rural and in towns, but most importantly, all of the grants will allow people to come together for a meal and companionship over the festive period. A few examples of successful applications this year…: 

These groups are also being given the chance to take part in a free online course called Making Every Contact Count (MECC). MECC is about listening to someone and asking open questions to encourage thoughts about a particular health or lifestyle issue, which we hope the groups will find helpful in their work.

The Rt Rev’d Peter Hancock, Bishop of Bath & Wells, has endorsed this year’s Surviving Winter campaign, which is administered by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF). Now in its eighth year, the award-winning Surviving Winter appeal asks people to think about donating some or all of their Winter Fuel Payment to help SCF reach their target of raising £100,000 to help 500 isolated and vulnerable older people this winter.

On average, there are 330 winter-related deaths in Somerset; over one in eight households in the county live in fuel poverty; and around one in six older people in Somerset say they feel socially isolated. Surviving Winter offers you the opportunity to make a difference this winter.

Bishop Peter, who is a Vice President of Somerset Community Foundation and Patron of Age UK Somerset says: “Many older people face making difficult financial decisions during the colder months, when their heating bills increase. Winter can be a very lonely time for some, especially those living in the more remote rural areas, so please think carefully about whether you need your Winter Fuel payment this year and consider donating it to this year’s Surviving Winter appeal. Thank you so much.”

When a person receives their Surviving Winter grant, it doesn’t just go towards paying the heating bill. It is also the first step towards connecting them to a local community partner; this can become the foundation for a new relationship that can help to overcome the isolation and loneliness many older people experience.

To donate some or all of your Winter Fuel Payment, or to make a donation of any size to the Surviving Winter appeal, please send a cheque made payable to Somerset Community Foundation (write SW on the back), Yeoman House, Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, BA4 6QN; or you can call us 01749 344949; or you can donate online here.

Gift Aid forms are available to download here.

As work at Hinkley Point C continues, communities in Somerset can now apply for grants from £15 million of new funding as a result of the Hinkley Point C Project.

The Hinkley Point C Funds, which include the existing Community Impact Mitigation (CIM) Fund, have been created with money paid by EDF Energy to improve the well-being of communities affected by the Hinkley Point C development or any of its associated off-site projects. Developed as part of the planning permissions for the new nuclear power station, the funds will be administered by Somerset Community Foundation and West Somerset Council in partnership with Sedgemoor District Council, Somerset County Council and EDF Energy. Grants will be available for community-based projects across Somerset. 

Applications can be for large or small projects but they must be directly linked to the effects of Hinkley Point C. Projects that seek to help communities benefit from the positive opportunities offered by the development at Hinkley Point C are also being encouraged.

A new website has been launched at www.hpcfunds.co.uk which provides a central access point to the grant programmes administered by Somerset Community Foundation, in addition to the existing Community Impact Mitigation Fund which is administered by West Somerset Council and has supported many community initiatives to date.

Justin Sargent, CEO of Somerset Community Foundation, said: “We are delighted to be able to launch two new Hinkley Point C Community Fund programmes which will complement the existing Community Impact Mitigation (CIM) Fund. Our new website will help to guide people to the correct programme for their proposal.

We look forward to seeing a variety of creative projects and ways of mitigating the impacts of Hinkley Point C in our communities, as well as making the most of the opportunities the project offers. These projects and facilities will help Somerset during the HPC development and will also leave a lasting legacy for many years to come.

Staff at both Somerset Community Foundation and West Somerset Council are available to advise and support groups through the application process.”

Cllr Mandy Chilcott, West Somerset Council’s Lead Member for Resources said: “There have been many organisations right across the area that have already been awarded funds from the Hinkley Community Impact Mitigation Fund and we have seen many varied and exciting projects come to fruition. I welcome the launch of the two new grant programmes and look forward to working with Somerset Community Foundation. I would urge any organisation that is looking to fund a project large or small that is linked to impacts of the Hinkley Point C Project to visit the website www.hpcfunds.co.uk for more information.  It only takes a moment to look at and could be a step towards getting your project off the ground, helping to make a real difference in your community.”

The HPC Community Impact Mitigation Fund launched in June 2014 and has awarded £3.77m, supporting 34 projects – and drawn down a further £6.2m of match-funding into Somerset, bringing real grass roots benefits to communities.

These grants awards include:

‘Tis the season….! Members of the public are invited to the joyful Sing for Somerset carol service in the magnificent Wells Cathedral on Saturday, December 16 at 7pm. Admission is free, no tickets are required and doors will open at 6.15pm. 

Sing for Somerset features a festive mix of traditional and contemporary music conducted by Laurence Blyth, featuring the Mid-Somerset Orchestra, Somerset Voices choir and organist Matthew Redman. Carol sheets will be provided for all to join in the festivities. Get there early to avoid disappointment!

The retiring collection will benefit the work of Somerset Community Foundation. By supporting SCF, carol service-goers are helping to make a difference to hundreds of local charities throughout Somerset. Somerset Community Foundation provides funding, advice and support to hundreds of local grassroots organisations operating across the county and the work of these organisations is fundamental in tackling some of the most important challenges in Somerset today. So wrap up warm, get yourself down to Wells Cathedral and ring in the festive season with Somerset Community Foundation.

Supporters, friends, trustees and charity groups attended Somerset Community Foundation’s (SCF) Annual Celebration of Inspiring Philanthropy last week, which was held at Taunton School.

Chairman of SCF, Jane Barrie, spoke about the past year, what SCF were currently doing, and their plans for the future.

Five groups who received funding from SCF in 2016/17 showcased their services to the community on the night with informative displays: Mind in Taunton and West Somerset; North Taunton Partnership; PROMISEworks; SLaMS; and Trident Youth and Community Centre. A representative from each group spoke for a few minutes about the work they do and how SCF has helped them.

Following the speeches, Robert Peto, Chairman of PROMISEworks said: “This evening has been a great opportunity to demonstrate what we do and also to express our gratitude to SCF for the vital financial support they’ve given us as a start-up charity. An enjoyable, instructive and worthwhile evening; it was a privilege to have been invited.”

Colin Gorton, Chairman of SLaMS, said: “Thanks for a great evening, and for the opportunity to “shed” some light on what SLaMS and Men’s Sheds in general are doing. We’ve also been able to thank SCF for supporting us in our start-up year.”

Keynote speaker Stephen Dawson, venture philanthropist, delivered his talk: ‘From Madagascar to Somerset – A Philanthropic Journey’, where he spoke about his overseas work. He also spoke about his work as a trustee for Sanitation First: a charity which provides GroSan toilets in the developing world; as Chair of The Galleries shop and café: a village shop and café funded, owned and run by the community; and as co-founder of Impetus Trust: the first venture philanthropy organisation in the UK.

Tim Walker, a trustee of SCF, spoke about the Clarke Willmott Fund and the company’s relationship with SCF and said after the event: “Somerset Community Foundation’s Annual Celebration highlights the significant influence that SCF now has on our community here in Somerset, and the need for further investment from donors to support its activities to meet a growing need. It has been a well-attended and excellent evening.” 

Justin Sargent, CEO of Somerset Community Foundation, chaired the speeches where he welcomed everyone to the celebration and SCF’s 15th birthday party. He went on to speak about how everyone present that night had one thing in common: a shared mission to make their local communities more vibrant and to transform peoples’ lives. He also spoke about SCF’s Theory of Change before thanking everyone for coming and encouraging them to visit the display stands and enjoy the canapes and special birthday cupcakes.

The event was kindly sponsored by Clarke Willmott LLP.

 

Our Theory of Change

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) and Community Council for Somerset (CCS), in partnership with Clarity CIC, have launched a survey for people living and working in communities that will be directly affected during the Hinkley Point C (HPC) construction period.

The survey asks individuals and local community organisations – such as parish councils, village halls and local schools – what they feel would help to improve community well-being and quality of life.

The outcomes of the survey, alongside other evidence and stakeholder engagement, will help develop the priorities for the Hinkley Point C Community Fund. The grant awards panel, which includes representatives from EDF Energy, SCF trustees, local councils, and two independent volunteers, will then make decisions on applications for funding, received from communities which are directly affected by the development.

The £13million community fund will support projects that improve social, economic and environmental well-being and enhance overall quality of life, or help people benefit from the positive opportunities offered by the project.

Val Bishop, Programmes Director at SCF said: “We are keen to hear what communities have to say as we develop the priorities for the Hinkley Point C Community Fund. The results from this survey will be used alongside information and reports from district and parish councils to help us to build a picture of what community members would like to see improved and will be working alongside CCS to deliver this effectively.”

Keeley Rudd, CEO of CCS said: “We are delighted that SCF and CCS are working together to give people a real chance have their voices heard so they can establish local priorities and influence what they would like to see improved in their communities. Our Village Agents are on hand to help people access the online survey, and we look forward to hearing what the communities have to say.”

The survey can be found online here. A hard copy version can be obtained from local Village Agents, or by calling CCS on 01823 331222 and the deadline to complete the survey is Monday 6 November.

Good causes in Somerset could soon benefit from a new boost to the Somerset Social Enterprise Fund (SSEF), which is delivered by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF).

The SSEF, which was established in 2014 with initial funding from Somerset County Council, has recently been enhanced by additional finance from the Growth Fund, which is managed by Access – the Foundation for Social Investment in partnership with the Big Lottery Fund and Big Society Capital, and is designed to help charities and social enterprises start, develop and grow by funding financially sustainable business models.

A blended range of funding, which will combine grants with loans, is now available for local organisations and funding packages will range from £25,000 to £100,000 to support charities and social enterprises that both deliver benefit to society as well as generate financial returns.

Compass Disability, We’re Eco, the Trident Youth and Community Centre and Taunton Athletic Club have already benefitted from the Somerset Social Enterprise Fund and SCF is keen to hear from more organisations.

Justin Sargent, CEO of Somerset Community Foundation, said: “The Growth Fund is enabling us to offer a broader blend of funding to enterprising social-purpose organisations through our Somerset Social Enterprise Fund. There is a growing interest among local charities and social enterprises in adopting business models designed to become financially self-sustaining, and we are very keen to hear from any groups or individuals who have a great idea they’d like to get off the ground or an existing project they’d like to grow.”

Seb Elsworth, Chief Executive of Access said: “We are delighted to be helping Somerset Community Foundation offer a more flexible range of blended loan and grants to charities and social enterprises across the County. The Growth Fund aims to make social investment more accessible and Somerset Community Foundation’s long standing role in supporting the sector means that they are ideally placed to do just that.”

Cllr David Hall, Deputy Leader of Somerset County Council, said: “It is fantastic news that Somerset Community Foundation is able to offer local charities and social enterprises this valuable funding. The grants and loans can help organisations set themselves up as sustainable businesses or allow them to expand the great work they do to support local communities.

“The County Council helped the Somerset Community Foundation set up the Social Enterprise Fund three years ago and I am so pleased that it has gone from strength to strength to support charities and social enterprises to continue their work for the benefit of Somerset people.”

Somerset Community Foundation is also involved in programmes designed to help organisations develop their business plans and work towards enhancing social investment. Details are available here or call 01749 344949 for more information.

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) have bid a fond farewell to trustee and grants panel member Jane Lock after nine years of expert advice and £3.9m of grants funding to 1,787 community groups and charities across Somerset.

Jane, who is also a Somerset County Councillor, said:

“I’ll miss being part of the grants panel for Somerset Community Foundation, but am looking forward to concentrating on my other interests in the voluntary sector! The Foundation plays such an important role in our county and it’s been a privilege to be part of the panel for so long: the majority of the funding goes to small ‘grassroots’ organisations and community groups that improve the lives of some of the most disadvantaged people in rural areas. It’s really important that these groups continue to succeed.”

Somerset Community Foundation’s CEO, Justin Sargent, thanked Jane for her significant contribution over the past nine years and presented her with a bouquet of flowers and a scroll listing each of the 1,787 groups that have been awarded grants since Jane joined the panel.

Somerset Community Foundation is supporting Comic Relief by delivering part of a £2 million national investment, supporting small, community-led organisations with grants of £1,000-£5,000 towards their core running costs.

Grassroots charities and community groups, which must be locally-based with local people involved in the running of the organisation, can apply for the Comic Relief Core Strength – Local Communities grants from Somerset Community Foundation. The deadline is Monday 13 November and applications will be considered from charities and organisations with an annual income of up to £100,000.

Andrew Ridgewell, Programmes Manager at Somerset Community Foundation said: “We’re incredibly proud to work with some fantastic local organisations, and our reach into communities means that we support the very smallest charities and community groups which are exceptionally important to the well-being of our communities and the specific needs of individuals. We know that one of the key challenges faced by local organisations is getting funding for their core running costs and we’re delighted to continue our strong partnership with Comic Relief to help small and local charities concentrate on what they do best – helping those in need.”

Gilly Green, head of UK grants at Comic Relief said, “We at Comic Relief recognise the importance of these community led organisations and their critical work. We also know that sometimes even the basics of keeping the lights on can be a struggle at the moment, let alone time to plan and invest in growth. At the heart of this funding is to give organisations the choice of where their needs lie – be it paying for the rent and lighting or invest in development and forward planning. We are proud to lead this approach and invest into the heart of our local communities.”

 

People living in areas of disadvantage or who face social issues often get vital support from smaller local groups based within their communities. It is these locally based groups that truly understand the needs of the people they serve and make a huge difference to their lives.

Recent research shows that small and medium-sized organisations across the UK are being hit particularly hard by the current economic climate, forcing many to either scale back or dissolve completely. These organisations urgently need core funding to continue their crucial work.

To apply for a Core Strength – Local Communities grant click here.

 

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is looking for volunteers to join the EDF Energy Community Fund Awards Panel to help communities affected by the Hinkley Point C development and build a lasting legacy in Somerset. 

SCF will be managing the EDF Energy Community Fund, which is part of the ‘Section 106’ mitigation measures agreed through the planning process. The fund is designed to lessen the impact of Hinkley Point C on the local communities by supporting projects that improve the social, economic and environmental well-being and enhance overall quality of life. 

The Awards Panel will include representatives from EDF and SCF trustees, as well as local councils, but the Foundation is also looking for up to three independent volunteers to help make decisions on applications to the multi-million pound fund and provide advice to the SCF Board on the overall fund strategy. 

Justin Sargent, CEO of Somerset Community Foundation, said: “We would like to hear from anyone who knows Somerset well – particularly the area around Hinkley Point C – and who can think and act independently. If you are committed to improving the well-being and quality of life in local communities, we’d be really interested to hear from you.”  

To find out more about the role, visit www.somersetcf.org.uk  or apply by sending  your CV and a covering letter to info@somersetcf.org.uk or by post to: Somerset Community Foundation, Yeoman House, Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, BA4 6QN. 

The deadline to apply is Friday 7 July, 2017 at 5pm, and shortlisted applicants will be interviewed during the week beginning 17 July, 2017. 

The first call for grant applications to the EDF Energy Community Fund is expected to be in the autumn of this year. Meanwhile the Community Impact Mitigation Fund, managed by West Somerset District Council, is already in operation and can be accessed through their website.

Earlier this month, over 150,000 people made their annual outing to The Bath & West Show. It’s always an exciting time of year for us, as we watch the show come together from our headquarters here at Yeoman House, on the Bath & West Showground. The British Army set up camp on an adjoining plot – it was a total surprise to see a tank roll up next to the office!

This year we opened our doors to the public and hosted a showcase of social enterprises from around the county. From long-time supporters to potential grant applications, we welcomed a steady stream of visitors throughout the week. We were particularly delighted to sit down and enjoy some tea and cake with delegations from PALS (Proactive Lifestyle) and Home-Start West Somerset.

PALS, a water fitness club, is a friendly and enthusiastic organisation based in West Somerset which helps around 120 people aged 18 – 80 who need to exercise but can’t adopt conventional ways due to injuries or illness. SCF has supported PALS over the last 12 years, providing grants to help them provide subsidised transportation to swim classes for their members, and to purchase a hydraulic chair lift, making swimming classes more accessible.

Home-Start West Somerset provides home visiting support for families experiencing difficulties with at least one child under the age of seven, enabling them to achieve positive change, and SCF has worked with Home-Start West Somerset many times over the last 10 years providing grant funding for their vital community work.

This year, PALS were one of only two Somerset charities to win The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) – the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK. They celebrated their award at a Buckingham Palace garden party hosted by the Queen and Prince Phillip. Home-Start West Somerset were also shortlisted for the prestigious award, which was created in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of The Queen’s coronation and is the equivalent of the MBE for volunteer groups. The folks at PALS and Home-Start West Somerset also were invited to attend a VIP reception during The Bath & West Show and we’re really proud of them for representing our county’s VCSE sector at this highly-regarded event. 

Thank you to everyone who came to see us during The Royal Bath and West Show – see you next year!

Morrison’s in Wincanton and Tesco in Glastonbury are home to new charity paper banks managed by Perrys Recycling. Local residents are invited to use the smart blue paper banks to recycle newspapers, magazines, junk mail and telephone books. For every tonne of paper recycled through the banks, £10 is donated to charity. The first charity paper bank was launched in March 2010, and since then the scheme has raised an incredible £15,000 for Somerset Community Foundation.

Perrys Recycling is a family-run recycling company based in Marston Magna near Yeovil with other depots in Bridgwater and Appledore. It provides recycling and waste services to businesses, councils and government departments across the South West. They also support Community Foundations in Dorset, Wiltshire North Somerset, Bath and Bristol via the very successful paper bank scheme.

For a full list of charity paper banks click here

The Huish’s Exhibition Foundation is the latest charitable trust to transfer to the stewardship of Somerset Community Foundation. This image is of a ‘cash book’ that kept handwritten records of the trust from 1917 to 2009! Established in the nineteenth century, the trust has supported the education of young people in Taunton Deane for almost 150 years, and now it begins a new phase in its history.

Like many local charitable trusts, it still retains an important purpose today. But, the governance and administration that goes with managing and older trust can become a burden and expensive. Finding trustees willing to continue looking after the trust is also increasingly difficult and we know there are dozens, possibly hundreds, of trusts that have already fallen dormant or are at risk of becoming so.

The trustees of the Huish’s Exhibition recognised the risk facing this charity and have taken proactive steps to secure its future. By transferring the fund to Somerset Community Foundation, the trustees have ensured it will continue its vitally important investment the next generation, helping young people with much-needed financial support. It will sit alongside the bursary scheme we established with the Eagle House Fund, an area of philanthropy we aim to grow in the future.

Currently, 4 in 10 young people regularly engage in social action – such as campaigning, fundraising, and volunteering.  The #iwill campaign has been launched to increase this to at least 6 in 10 10-20 year olds taking part, by the year 2020. 

The Youth Social Action Fund is part of the #iwill campaign and offers grants to groups working with young people between the ages of 10 and 20 years old (or 25 for young people with disabilities) in Somerset.

Grants of up to £5,000 are available to fund social action opportunities for young people. The fund is not to cover general youth club provision nor to fund other activities or events that ‘merely’  have young people involved.  The fund is to cover specific activities for young people aimed at developing their skills and confidence as volunteers in their community.

The first deadline to submit applications for funding will be in 12th May, 2017. Applications forms will available on this website shortly. To register your interest in the Youth Social Action Fund, please contact Kirsty Campbell on info@somersetcf.org.uk or call 01749 344949.

 

As the threat of an arctic blast looms large over Somerset, Val Stones of Great British Bake Off fame throws her support behind the 2016/17 Surviving Winter appeal, managed by Somerset Community Foundation. Now in its seventh year, Surviving Winter asks pensioners who can live without their Winter Fuel Payment to donate it to help local older people struggling with the cost of staying warm and socially connected.

The Great British Bake Off star said, “My husband, Ian, and I have been very lucky in that our pensions allow us to have a decent quality of life, but we know this isn’t the case for everyone. We are very happy to give our winter fuel payment to Surviving Winter because we know it will be used for good.”

Somerset Community Foundation has raised over £80,000 since launching the campaign in November, they still need a further £20,000 to help 500 vulnerable older people this winter. Surviving Winter grants are used to purchase fuel tanks, heating oil, blankets and other essential supplies to help older people living in fuel poverty keep their homes warm. Grants are delivered by a handful of key charity partners such as Age UK Somerset and the Village Agents of Community Council for Somerset. Delivery partners also support grant recipients by connecting them to other services in the community, giving advice on housing and enquiring about their general safety and well-being. 

The percentage of households living in fuel poverty in Somerset is 16% higher than the national average and over 2.5 times higher in some areas. (Somerset Intelligence) Each year, on average, there are 340 winter-related deaths in Somerset.

Don’t need it? Donate it! To donate your Winter Fuel Payment, please click here.

Michael Eavis has joined the Mayor of Taunton and the Bishop of Bath and Wells in endorsing the 2016/17 Surviving Winter appeal managed by Somerset Community Foundation. Now in its seventh year, Surviving Winter asks pensioners who can live without their Winter Fuel Payment to donate it to help local older people struggling with the cost of staying warm and socially connected.

To date nearly £80,000 has been kindly donated by local pensioners, but Somerset Community Foundation still needs a further £20,000 to reach its target of helping 500 vulnerable older people this winter.

Nationally around 5% of pensioner households are “fuel poor”, which means that around 3,000 households in Somerset don’t have enough money to sufficiently heat their homes to stay warm and healthy all winter. The gap between what they need to spend and what they do spend on heating to stay warm enough is around £460. (Gov’t fuel poverty report 2015, Somerset Intelligence) A grant from the Surviving Winter campaign can make all the difference to an older person living alone, in a stone home that is difficult to keep warm.

Click here to donate online today! 

The day after launching the first ever Somerset’s Vital Signs report, Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) welcomed Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex to their head office to meet some of the grassroots groups working on the frontline to tackle disadvantage and build vibrant communities in our county. She met representatives from Home-Start West Somerset, Taunton-based social enterprise On Your Bike and South Somerset Mind, which have previously received grant funding from the Foundation.

Somerset’s Vital Signs is a report that consists of existing research and community consultation conducted by SCF, and it acts as a guide to local charitable giving by measuring social trends and issues. Chief Executive Justin Sargent said, “Undoubtedly, the majority of us in Somerset enjoy a good quality of life. We have high employment, thriving communities, and a terrific environment. However, there is a significant level of need hidden beneath the surface. For example, the 34% attainment gap at GCSE level between children from poorer backgrounds and their peers, the striking fact that the number of ‘fuel poor’ households has increased to nearly 30,000 this year, and research showing that 1 in 6 older people in the county say they have insufficient social contact and feel socially isolated.”

In 2015/16 the Foundation awarded £488,633 in grant funding to over 230 community groups. Yet Somerset’s Vital Signs indicates that even more strategic philanthropic investment is needed to support these grassroots groups that are tackling some of the deepest and most significant social issues.

Following the EDF Board’s approval of the Final Investment Decision for Hinkley Point C in July and yesterday’s ‘green light’ from the Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, Somerset Community Foundation is looking forward to playing an important role in supporting communities most affected by the construction over the next decade.

As part of the Section 106 agreement for the construction project, Somerset Community Foundation will be managing the £13million Hinkley Point C Community Fund to help local communities maximise the social, environmental and economic benefits of the development. We will start to work with local communities, local councils and other stakeholders in early 2017 to define the priorities for the fund and expect to launch it in the second half of next year.

Justin Sargent, SCF’s Chief Executive, said “I am looking forward to Somerset Community Foundation playing an important role in realising the potential that Hinkley Point C, one of the largest construction projects ever seen in Europe, brings to Somerset. Most importantly, we want to ensure that this fund enhances people’s quality of life in the communities that will be most affected through the construction period.”

Somerset Community Foundation are delighted to announce that the Anne Dodgson Memorial Fund is now open for applications, with a closing date of Friday 30th September.

The fund was set up in 2015 in memory of Anne Dodgson who, before her untimely death, made many significant contributions to the promotion of astronomy in Somerset and was instrumental in the founding of the Crewkerne and District Astronomical Society (CADAS).  

A limited number of small grants (around £250) are available from this fund to help people of all ages across Somerset access science education through astronomy, and applications are now invited from community groups and charities. Schools may also apply, via their Parent Teacher Association (or equivalent organisation), but in general we would expect to see a matched contribution towards these projects. We will only consider applications for projects which benefit people living in the county of Somerset (ie. Mendip, Sedgemoor, West Somerset, Taunton Deane and South Somerset).

For more information please click here or email Programmes Manager Jocelyn Blacker at jocelyn.blacker@somersetcf.org.uk 

A recent report from Philanthropy Impact revealed how important the role of traditional professional advisors, alongside philanthropy specialists, can be to people considering a significant charitable gift.

James Craw from ‘Your Financial Planning’ contacted Somerset Community Foundation last year to explore how we could help a couple near Wincanton, who are his clients, create a charitable fund worth around £300,000 for their local area.

Following an introduction by James we got to know the donor over a number of months, developing an understanding of what their goals are and how we could help. They joined us at our Annual Celebration in October, we met at their home and then we visited a few projects already funded by the Foundation.

Once they confirmed they were happy to proceed we prepared a simple fund agreement and then, through James, the new fund was created though a share transfer.

 James Craw told us, “Justin and his team at the Foundation were very good at taking time to understand exactly what the clients wanted before going ahead with the charitable trust.  I would recommend their services to anyone in the area looking for help to set up a charitable trust.”

If you are a professional advisor and would like to find out more about working with Somerset Community Foundation please contact Justin Sargent on 01749 344949 or email justin.sargent@somersetcf.org.uk

 

We are pleased to announce that former Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset Lady Elizabeth Gass has been named as Patron of Somerset Community Foundation. Lady Gass was founding President of the Foundation and was heavily involved in its early development and strategic direction. It is with great pleasure that we also announce that our former Chairman Peter Wyman has become a Vice-President of Somerset Community Foundation, again Peter has been a hugely influential character in the development of SCF and we look forward to Peter’s continued involvement.

Chief Executive Justin Sargent said: “I am delighted that Lady Gass has agreed to become Patron of the Foundation and that Peter joins our esteemed  Vice-Presidents. As a growing organisation Somerset Community Foundation has benefited enormously from their dedication and involvement over the years, and we are privileged to have such a high calibre of local supporter as we move forward in 2016.”

For the full list of Patron, President and Vice-Presidents please click here

Our 2015/16 Surviving Winter appeal has now been up and running for just under a month and we have raised over £40,000 towards an ambitious target of £90,000. Thank you to every single generous person who has donated part of all of your Winter Fuel Payment already, you will make a difference to people suffering fuel poverty this Christmas.

The first grants are now being issued to our charity partners to help those in desperate need in our communities. We are yet to see sustained cold weather in Somerset but for those who struggle to heat their homes at all, the wet and windy weather of late can be just as harmful to their health and wellbeing. When winter does begin to bite, as it almost certainly will in January, the Surviving Winter donations enable us to be ready to act immediately when our charity partners need our grants. 

To find out more about the appeal, donate and and download the 2014/15 report click here. Please consider ‘recycling’ your winter fuel payment this year and help those who face a miserable winter in Somerset. We are so grateful for every penny we receive, but have a long way to go to meet our target. 

We were absolutely delighted to see so many people pack out Wells Cathedral on Saturday night for our annual ‘Sing for Somerset’ carol service, and would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to everyone who came along. The event was kindly supported by Quilter Cheviot Investment Management, and we are indebted to Gerald Rothwell for enabling us to put on such an event year after year. The fantastic standard of music provided by the Mid Somerset Orchestra and the Somerset Voices Choir under the talented baton of Laurence Blyth was complimented by the congregation singing their hearts out and there were some truly spine-tingling moments.

Our Canon-in-Residence for the service, Archdeacon Nicola Sullivan, was a warm and thoughtful leader and we thank her for her involvement in the event again this year.  We would like to pass on our gratitude to the members of the choir and orchestra, who give their time completely freely for this event, as well as members of the Benevolent Lodge of Somerset for all their help in the Cathedral. The staff at the Cathedral also deserve a mention for their efforts and assistance as of course do our contingent of readers – a nerve-wracking job that was completed with aplomb by all.

Your generosity during the retiring collection, particularly at such an expensive time of year for many people, was greatly appreciated and will enable us to continue to support groups across Somerset during the coming years. Finally, a date for your diary, albeit a little early! Sing for Somerset 2016 will be held on Saturday 10th December at Wells Cathedral – we hope to see you there again!

Households across Somerset are donating their Winter Fuel Payments to our Surviving Winter appeal; to help those in their communities who desperately need to stay warm this winter.  Donations have begun to pour in after an outstanding response to the launch but after a weekend of arctic temperatures in the south west, more help is needed!

As the sustained cold weather of winter kicks in, GP surgeries and hospitals in Somerset will come under increased pressure. We often hear about the excess winter deaths caused by cold temperatures in winter, but what about the hidden burden the effect of the winter weather on the elderly has on the NHS? Respiratory infections can increase by 19% for every 1 degree Celsius drop in mean temperature below 5 degrees, leading to more doctors’ visits and travel for those who are already struggling to cope.

Simply helping the elderly residents in our county keep warm will make a difference to their health, and therefore help ease some of the pressure on our health infrastructure. This is why this year’s Surviving Winter campaign is so important.  A grant that helps a person suffering from fuel poverty to heat their home will lower the risk of them becoming ill. Helping those who are struggling to cope to eat well and worry less will enable the elderly of Somerset to look forward to Christmas with dignity.

A recipient of a grant from last year’s campaign shares why the help was so important to them, and how difficult the winter before had been: “I will use the grant to keep myself warm this winter. My cottage is very old and does not have central heating. Jumpers can only do so much, last year I really suffered and had to rely on others to take me to the doctors most weeks. It took me a long time to get well.”

We need your help to ensure that as winter bites here in the south west they are well-placed to help those in need. Don’t let Somerset’s elderly population get left in the cold to suffer.

 

To recycle your winter fuel payment please click here. Thank you.

Somerset Community Foundation are delighted to share the news that our former Chairman Peter Wyman CBE, who stepped down in September of this year, has been appointed the new Chair of the Care Quality Commission. 

The Care Quality Commission is the independent regulator of all health and adult social care services in England, working to ensure sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care. 

We wish Peter every success in his new role and thank him once again for his leadership during his tenure as Chairman here at SCF. 

We are delighted to announce we are selling Christmas cards here in the SCF office to help raise money for the Benchmark Fund!

The Benchmark Fund makes grants to local charities and community groups within Somerset that support vulnerable young people, diverting them from anti-social behaviour and crimes and aiming to enhance their lives. Formerly the Benchmark Trust and the charity of the Somerset magistrates, the Benchmark Fund became part of Somerset Community Foundation in the summer. 

There are two designs to choose from, and the cards come in packs of 10 (all one design), for £3.50 per pack. 

Design 1 – Peace on Earth

 

Design 2 – Following Yonder Star

 

To buy your Christmas cards and support this fantastic cause, please call the office on 01749 344 949. We can take card payments over the telephone and are happy to post the cards out at a cost of £1.50 per pack, or arrange for you to pay in person by cash and collect them from our Shepton Mallet office. 

We hosted our  Annual Celebration last week at the spectacular North Cadbury Court, bringing together our fundholders, supporters and other Somerset VIPs, as well as groups supported over the past 12 months.

Despite the dark and drizzly weather outside, the atmosphere inside was full of warmth and enthusiasm for the work of the Foundation.  Our new Chairman Jane Barrie spoke about Inspiring Philanthropy and her aims and ambitions for SCF, and the charities and groups then had a chance to share stories of their work and the positive impact on communities across Somerset.

Lucy Workman who represented On Your Bike at the Celebration said “I thoroughly enjoyed the evening, it was so well managed and in a beautiful setting. There was an incredible energy in the room and a wealth of kindness emanating from everyone. I think the opportunity to represent On Your Bike at events is so valuable, and makes a big difference to us.”

Drinks and canapés were served as the guests had the chance to talk to charity representatives, browse the displays and network. A big thank you to our trustee Jane Lock for taking the reins of the catering for this year’s event – the standard has certainly been set very high for next year!  We would like to thank all our guests who came along, and hope that you found the evening both interesting and inspiring. 

We are delighted to announce that Taunton Athletic Club has become the first beneficiary of a loan from the Somerset Social Enterprise Fund (SSEF), a fund administrated by Somerset Community Foundation and funded by Somerset County Council. The fund offers loans of between £10,000 and £100,000 to support new and established social enterprises in Somerset to grow and prosper.

The £25,000 loan which has been made to Taunton Athletics Club will help the club increase membership and complete refurbishments to the club house and other facilities. Somerset Community Foundation Chief Executive Justin Sargent said “Taunton Athletics Club plays a very important part in promoting healthy living, healthy communities and sporting achievement in our county town, and we are pleased to support its development with this loan”. Somerset County Council leader John Osman said: “As an authority we are pleased to be able to support social enterprises and the work of those who make them possible. Without them, our communities in Somerset would undoubtedly be poorer. I’m thrilled that Taunton Athletics Club, one of the oldest athletics clubs in the country, has been first to benefit.”

SSEF funding is available to organisations working within Somerset who are able to demonstrate that they are social enterprises – community-focused organisations which operate in a commercial manner for the benefit of the community and people around them. They come in many different forms including charities, community interest companies, companies limited by guarantee or industrial and provident societies. Whilst the SSEF is primarily a loan fund, there is the possibility of an element of grant funding alongside loans. The team are also happy to discuss eligibility and business plans with applicants.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Somerset Social Enterprise Fund and how to apply for a loan please click here or contact Somerset Community Foundation Chief Executive Justin Sargent on justin.sargent@somersetcf.org.uk

We are delighted to announce the findings of an independent evaluation of our £1.5million Flood Relief Fund, which has found the fund was managed to “the highest standards and, particularly in the light of the pace of change of the crisis, with a level of integrity which exceeded any reasonable expectations.”

The fund, which was launched in January 2014 will be closing in the next few weeks with a final distribution of grants.  

The independent evaluation, carried out by industry specialists, South West Forum , praises the Foundation for its administration and delivery of the fund.  In the executive summary they say  “the Foundation took great care in using its own prior experience and the guidance of others in designing and developing the grant applications, their assessment and distribution.    

Evidence gathered through stakeholder interviews and their own research helped them reach the following conclusions: 

Organisations interviewed by the Forum said that Somerset Community Foundation “worked hard to be fair and even handed”, “stepped up to the mark” and “did a fantastic job”.

People who received help from the Foundation and were able to return to their homes and livelihoods have also commented. One grant recipient wrote “Thank you so much for your kind assistance, the grant monies has taken a great deal of worry off our minds” and another “You’ve been so helpful throughout”.

Almost 10,000 donations were processed in the spring of 2014 as the flooding on the levels became a national crisis. The grants team here at Somerset Community Foundation developed a phased approach to grant-making as the fund grew beyond initial expectations, so they could respond to changing circumstances and emerging impacts. Over 1,000 individual grants were awarded to households, businesses and charities in the affected areas. The value of the final grants awarded will exceed £1.34 million.

Justin Sargent said ‘We are very grateful for the generous support of our donors who responded magnificently to the crisis back in 2014. This report shows that the faith shown by them in everyone at Somerset Community Foundation was fully justified and, without doubt, there are people back in their homes tonight and going to work tomorrow thanks to their generosity and the hard work of our staff and volunteers.’.

A small residual amount, less than 2% of the fund, has been transferred over to our Disaster Relief Fund to be held ready for any future disasters, although interest earned on this fund will continue to be used to support the 2014 flood affected communities.

Justin appeared on BBC Somerset on 16th September to talk about the Flood Fund, which you can listen to by clicking here

 

Please click here to read the Executive Summary of the report.

Somerset Community Foundation are delighted to announce that launch of their latest fund, the Anne Dodgson Memorial Fund, in memory of Anne who, before her untimely death, made many significant contributions to the promotion of astronomy in Somerset and was instrumental in the founding of the Crewkerne and District Astronomical Society (CADAS).  

A limited number of small grants (maximum of £500) are available from this fund to help people of all ages across Somerset access science education through astronomy, and applications are now invited from community groups and charities. Schools may also apply, via their Parent Teacher Association (or equivalent organisation), but in general we would expect to see a matched contribution towards these projects. We will only consider applications for projects which benefit people living in the county of Somerset (ie. Mendip, Sedgemoor, West Somerset, Taunton Deane and South Somerset).

Please apply using the online application form, available by clicking here. If you prefer a paper copy please contact Karen Collins on 01749 344949 or karen.collins@somersetcf.org.uk.

If you would like to support science education and astronomy in Somerset through a donation or legacy to the Anne Dodgson Memorial Fund, please contact Justin Sargent on justin.sargent@somersetcf.org.uk

The closing date for receipt of applications is Monday, 28th October 2015

Somerset Community Foundation is delighted to announce two new appointments. Mrs Jane Barrie OBE DL has been appointed as our next Chairman. She will replace Peter Wyman when he retires from the Board in September at our AGM.  Meanwhile Somerset’s new Lord Lieutenant, Mrs Annie Maw, has also been appointed as our Honorary President, succeeding Lady Gass who had been President since the Foundation was created in 2002. 

A stockbroker by profession, Jane Barrie is also Chair of Health Education South West and has held several Non-Executive roles within the NHS during the last 24 years, including Chair of NHS Somerset and Chair of Dorset and Somerset Strategic Health Authority. She has also recently retired as Chairman of Governors of Taunton School, and is the former Chairman of the Learning and Skills Council for Somerset. She is a past President of Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland, a Patron of St Margaret’s Somerset Hospice and President of Care Focus (South West) CIC.

Jane said “I am delighted to be appointed the next Chairman of the Somerset Community Foundation. Having been a Trustee for under one year, I hope to build on the excellent work of the present Chairman, Peter Wyman. Although not born in Somerset, I was brought up here and its prosperity both in terms of its economic success and the success of its local communities is very dear to my heart. As part of the Foundation, I hope we can continue to make a real difference in Somerset.”

Annie Maw was invited to become the Foundation’s second President when she became Lord Lieutenant, following the tradition started by her predessor Lady Gass. Annie is a trustee of several charities supporting young athletes, those with disabilities and those with spinal injuries in Somerset and across the West Country. She is a Director and Council Member of the Royal Bath and West Society, Vice-President of the Friends of Wells Cathedral, and Chancellor of the Children’s University of Somerset. Annie and her husband, ‘Dickie’ live near Shepton Mallet, having moved there from the Chew Valley.

Annie said “As Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset my involvement with SCF is crucial to my role.  The SCF reaches the people in our county who often ask for very little but who benefit from our support. 

I am delighted to see this organisation go from strength during the time that I have known it.  The wealth of experience which Peter Wyman has brought to the SCF during his Chairmanship has been of inestimable value and his successor, Jane Barry, will take the organisation forwards to face the challenges which our county and our community face over the next few years.

Both Peter Wyman and Jane Barrie are Deputy Lieutenants of Somerset which confirms the strong link between the SCF and the Lieutenancy.

 

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is pleased to announce the establishment of our latest fund called Elliot’s Touch. The fund was set up in June by Donna and Paul Stevens in memory of their young son Elliot, who tragically died of cardiomyopathy in March 2015. Their aim is to raise awareness of mitochondria disease and cardiomyopathy, and the fund will support organisations that are working on new cures.

On Saturday 15 November 2014, Elliot was taken to Musgrove Park Hospital, in Taunton, with suspected dehydration after having gastroenteritis, but it soon became clear that something more serious was wrong with Elliot. It was after being transferred to Bristol Children’s Hospital that he was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy.

Despite showing signs of recovery after treatment, Elliot’s condition began to deteriorate to the point where his heart required a mechanical pump. Donna and Paul were told their son needed a heart transplant. On New Year’s Day, Elliot was taken to London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital where he was further diagnosed with mitochondrial disease – a rare genetic condition that means the cells do not produce enough energy to work. Although Elliot underwent four successful operations and survived the fifth, he died hours later, on March 3rd after almost four months in intensive care. 

Donna Stevens said, “Elliot was our hero, our inspiration; he could always light up a room with his gorgeous smile and big blue eyes. We were so proud of him and his determination to live. We want to do him proud and keep his memory alive.”

The couple were introduced to SCF by the staff at EDF, where Paul Stevens works in West Somerset. SCF Deputy Chief Executive, Mary Hancock, has been working very closely with the Stevens to set up their fund and to provide support for future fundraising activities. Mary said, “Setting up a fund with SCF is a quick and simple alternative to going through the process of establishing a grant-making charity. It also avoids the need to recruit trustees, advertise that funding is available and keep up with annual accounting procedures. Our fund management services are comprehensive and will allow the Stevens Family to focus on the more enjoyable aspects of charity work – fundraising and spreading the word about this special cause!”

If you would like to know more about upcoming fundraising events or would like to donate to Elliot’s Touch, please visit http://www.elliotstouch.org/.

If you would like information about setting a memorial fund with Somerset Community Foundation, please call Mary Hancock on 01749 344 949 or email mary.hancock@somersetcf.org.uk.

The inaugural Taunton Deane Mayor’s Fund Award Ceremony took place on Friday evening at Queens College. The evening followed the completion of the first round of £500 grants from the Mayor’s Fund, which holds the money raised through the “Deane Dragons” initiative, curry nights and many other fundraising events led by the Worshipful Mayor of Taunton Deane, Councillor Dave Durdan.

26 community groups, charities and sports clubs from within the Taunton Deane Borough received grants this spring from the Fund, and the awards ceremony provided a wonderful opportunity for representatives from the groups to meet other and talk to the Mayor himself, the man behind the fund!

Attendees gathered in the Queen’s Hall for a welcome address by Somerset Community Foundation Chief Executive Justin Sargent, before the Mayor made his entrance to kick off the celebrations. Representatives from every group funded were welcomed onto the stage to accept a certificate from the Mayor, and to say a few words about the positive impact of their work.

The evening was rounded off with a group photograph with the Mayor, Justin Sargent and one of the famous Deane Dragons! We hope that supporting community projects in the area will have a lasting benefit to the residents, and look forward to sharing more good news from the Taunton Deane Mayor’s Fund with you in the near future. 

Somerset Community Foundation held a small lunch reception with property development company Summerfield at their Taunton office on Thursday, as a way of saying thank you to the firm for their grant making in the local area.

Somerset Community Foundation has awarded almost £17,000 in grants to local, grassroots groups from the Summerfield and Tauntfield Fund since 2013. Grants have been made to a wide variety of organisations working with disadvantaged children, people of all ages with disability, long term unemployed adults, young people not in education or employment, and residents from low income urban areas.

SCF invited representatives from some of these groups to the lunch, and were delighted to welcome Tone Ability FC, Outdoor Challenge, In the Mix Project and the Lane Estates Residents and Tenants’ Association.  The lunch provided an excellent opportunity for the staff at the firm to hear about the work these groups do, and the difference made by the grants given to them.

 Summerfield Richard Lloyd, Executive Chairman, said “We were delighted to hold the lunch to bring together our staff and leaders of groups who have benefitted from our funds, and to hear about their varied experiences. The Somerset Community Foundation provides an excellent service as fund managers and we necessarily rely on them to ensure that our charitable giving is channelled through to appropriate organisations.”

Somerset Community Foundation Chief Executive Justin Sargent said “SCF are ideally placed to help Somerset businesses such as Summerfield support their local community and we can connect them to local groups that match their interests. As a result of this partnership, grants made by Summerfield have made a real difference to groups in their area.” 

The St. Francis Youth Group have recently received £1000 of funding for their Holiday Club, made possible by a grant from the Clarke Willmott Fund, which is managed by Somerset Community Foundation. The Youth Group works in Sydenham and Bower, part of a large council estate in Bridgwater, and the Holiday Club aims to provide fun activities and outings for children aged 5 to 12 years old during the school summer holidays. The funding will go towards providing arts and crafts materials and subsidising the coach trips, so that every child has the chance to attend the sessions.

Representatives from the Youth Group attended a lunch reception at Clarke Willmott’s Taunton office last week, which brought together charities and community groups funded by Somerset Community Foundation. Clarke Willmott staff and the charity representatives heard from Senior Partner Stuart Thorne and Mary Hancock, Deputy Chief Executive of Somerset Community Foundation, and took the chance to discuss informally the impact the funding has made to people who rely on their groups.

Mary Hancock said “Clarke Willmott has been an outstanding supporter of community projects in Somerset for several years, and  it was wonderful to see their staff to see the impact of the Clarke Willmott Fund. Somerset Community Foundation manages endowment funds for local companies like Clarke Willmott, which will allow them to keep on making a difference for many years to come.”

The first anniversary of the 2014 floods has been covered extensively in the media recently, a timely reminder of the desperation and devastation experienced by so many families and businesses last winter. Even today there are still some people who have not been able to return to their homes and we continue to support them on their journey.

Thankfully the majority of families are back in their communities. The lights are on in the evenings and something resembling normal life has returned. However, beneath the surface, the emotional effect of the upheaval, stress and financial hardship that the unprecedented levels of rainfall caused is still keenly felt.

While the priority of our Somerset Flood Relief Fund has been to help people recover their homes and protect their livelihoods, we have also been mindful that recovery is not just about ‘bricks and mortar’. Behind the scenes the Somerset Masonic Flood Recovery Fund, also managed by Somerset Community Foundation in partnership with a committee of local Freemasons, has been investing in efforts to address these hidden needs.

First of all we have been supporting a range of community resources and activities that are helping normal life return, and through that, enable informal peer support amongst those who experienced the worst of the floods. By helping groups like the local village halls and the Pentathlon Carnival Club, and funding local coffee mornings and community meetings we have been helping community life return to normal. Secondly, we are supporting more direct assistance, for example by providing funding for an “Emotional Wellbeing” Worker, who will use their knowledge and links with their community to help those people who have suffered distress and emotional trauma resulting from their homes or business being flooded.    

Building stronger communities through local groups and projects remains an important part of the recovery process. We are very keen to hear from  groups or projects in the flood affected areas that are looking for funding. In the meantime we are also continuing to help individual households meet the costs of returning home, with £30,000 awarded during February. 

We have compiled the latest figures for the Somerset Flood Relief Fund, and 84% of the funds (£1.14m) available for grants and financial assistance in the fund have now been distributed. Our team continues to help individual flood affected households on a daily basis as they rebuild their homes and their lives.  

We are still happy to hear from any households that were flooded but have not yet applied for a Phase 3 grant if they had significant excess payments or other costs not covered by insurance policies.

We are also continuing to award grants from the Somerset Masonic Flood Recovery Fund to help charities and local community projects that are helping to strengthen flood affected communities and we always happy to hear about new potential project ideas from the communities most affected by the floods in 2014. 

After county-wide public voting, the 11th May has been chosen as the new ‘Somerset Day’, commemorating the same date in 878 when King Alfred of Wessex gathered the people of Somerset to march against and defeat invading Danish fighters. The group behind the initiative, Passion for Somerset, have chosen Somerset Community Foundation as their nominated charity (along with Quartet Community Foundation for the BANES and North Somerset areas) to receive money raised by events celebrating Somerset Day. We will use the funds raised to invest in the next generation growing up in Somerset through our Youth Fund.

Nigel Muers-Raby, who inspired the concept behind Somerset Day said:

 “We have a passion for Somerset and want to work with charities who share that passion and who support our aims and aspirations in bringing together businesses, communities and individuals throughout our county. That is why we have chosen to ask Somerset Day event organisers to give all or part of the proceeds from events they organise to our local Community Foundations – “Somerset” and “Quartet” – who, by their actions, have shown both a deep understanding of, and a deep commitment to, our community and our county.”

Somerset Community Foundation are now calling on all our supporters to help us raise as much money as possible for the Youth Fund by holding fundraising events and schemes in honour of Somerset Day. All fundraising ideas are welcome and the more inventive, the better! As the 11th May falls on a Monday this year, events will take place on Saturday 9th  and Sunday 10th of May as well as on Somerset Day itself, so you have plenty of time to get planning. We know our supporters will come up with some brilliant events and fundraising schemes, but here are some ideas to get your mind whirring:

 

 

We’ll be setting up a page on our website very soon, which has information on just about anything you need to know to put on an event, and links to make sure you stay safe while you raise money. If you have any questions, please contact Mary Hancock or Victoria Malcolm on 01749 344 949.

At the end of 2014 we established our first Somerset new endowment fund from a direct legacy to the Somerset Community Foundation. The fund will not only help local communities for generations to come, it is also a fitting permanent memorial to a very generous lady.

Justin Sargent, SCF’s Chief Executive, met Priscilla Ringham in 2006 after an introduction by her solicitor. After a couple of meetings and a visit to projects supported by the Foundation, she decided to include a gift in her will to establish the ‘Ringham Fund’ to benefit her local communities, particularly disadvantaged young people and vulnerable older people.

Justin said “Mrs Ringham cared very much about people less fortunate than herself and particularly felt a strong bond with people in her local communities. It is always sad when someone passes away, but her legacy means that she will continue to help her community, remembered forever by the Foundation and by those who benefit from her generous and thoughtful gift.”

Creating a charitable fund within Somerset Community Foundaiton is a very simple process and offers an effective alternative to creating a separate charitable trust.

To find out more please contact Justin Sargent on 01749 344949 or email justin.sargent@somersetcf.org.uk

Legacies to registered charities can be off-set against Inheritance Tax. An estate can pay Inheritance Tax at a reduced rate of 36% on some assets (instead of 40%) if 10% or more of the ‘net value’ of their estate is left to charity. Always seek advice from your solicitor before writing your Will

 

St Benedict’s Church in Glastonbury were delighted at the turnout for their Christmas Day Lunch, with 147 people (and 3 dogs!) enjoying a full 3-course Christmas Lunch with all the trimmings. The lunch, which is partly funded by Somerset Community Foundation, was served from 12:00pm to 1:45pm, but the team of 30 volunteers were on shift from 9:30am to 4:00pm to prepare, cook, serve and then clear away the meal. The volunteers included people with disabilities, families who wanted to share their Christmas day with others, several elderly retired couples who no longer have families around, and single people living far from home.

The guests came from a variety of backgrounds and circumstances and spanned families with children, travellers and street people, young single men, elderly people living on their own, clients with their carers, and some teenagers. One guest even brought along his saxophone, and did an impromptu performance for everyone! With the detrimental effect of loneliness on mental and physical health now being widely reported, events such as this lunch are vital in helping communities stay connected. Bravo to the team from St Benedict’s Church in putting on this event year after year, and to the volunteers for giving up their time on this most special day.

Somerset Community Foundation Deputy Chief Executive Mary Hancock recently attended a charity supper event, one of two held in late 2014, at the Natraj Indian restaurant in Taunton. The events were organised by Taunton Deane Mayor Dave Durdan and Kevin Smith, Relationship Director at Santander, to raise funds for the Mayors charity project The Deane Dragons, part of the Taunton Mayors Fund. The Mayors Fund helps Somerset Community Foundation support grassroots groups working to change peoples lives in the Taunton area.

Over the two events, £2,925 was raised, which was generously match funded by Santander to bring the overall total to £5,850. Kevin said We were delighted that both evenings sold out, and on behalf of Santander I want to thank everyone that attended, both friends of the Mayor and local business people.

 

Mayor Durdan said “I want to extend my sincere thanks to Kevin and his team at Santander for match funding the Mayors charity which is helping the community of Taunton Deane. I also want to thank Morrison’s in Taunton for donating the wonderful raffle prizes.”

The next supper will be held on 11th February, so if you are interested in attending please contact the Mayors office for more details 01823 356 391 or email j.miller@tauntondeane.gov.uk.


 


The team at Somerset Community Foundation were proud and delighted that our Chief Executive Justin Sargent was invited by David Warburton, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Somerton and Frome, to attend an exclusive charity reception hosted by Samantha Cameron. The reception was held at No.10 Downing Street last night and was part of the Charity Champions events, which aim to raise awareness of UK charities and recognises the valuable work they do for local communities.

David Warburton explained, “I was delighted to have the opportunity to introduce Justin Sargent and the Somerset Community Foundation to Samantha Cameron this week.

“The Charity Champions reception at No. 10 Downing Street has become something of an institution, with many major charities receiving recognition for the significant work they do.  Samantha Cameron wanted to recognise the SCF for their tremendously hard work in promoting vibrant, inclusive communities here in Somerset. This is particularly important given the work they did to manage the huge funds donated during the floods twelve months ago.”

Justin commented “It was a great honour to be invited to no.10 Downing Street and meet Samantha Cameron who clearly understands and feels passionate about the role of the voluntary sector in our country today. We saw during the floods crisis how important communities are in response to emergencies, but the reception was also a great reminder of the magnificent contribution made by charities in every community, every day.”

Somerset Community Foundation are delighted to invite any small voluntary or community groups in the Frome area to ‘Meet the Funders’, a free workshop taking place on Thursday, 26 February 2015 from 4pm – 7pm at the Cheese and Grain Mezzanine, Frome.       

Come and hear from

And take part in interactive workshops on:

There will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions and browse our funders market place, with stalls by Awards for All, Frome Development CIC, Mendip Community Support and other local funders.    

The event will run from 4pm to 7pm. You can drop in any time and the key speakers will be making presentations at 5pm. 

Click here to register your free place.

 

Our annual carol service ‘Sing for Somerset’ took place last Saturday at Wells Cathedral, and we were delighted at the number of people who had braved a very cold a frosty night to attend the service! It was a wonderful evening of Christmas carols sung by the Somerset Voices choir, accompanied by the Mid Somerset Orchestra and Matthew Redman on the organ. The music was conducted and arranged by the outstanding Elizabeth Hayley, who sadly moves to pastures new after this final performance – she will be missed. The readings were performed by Somerset Community Foundation supporters and representatives of recently funded local charities.

 

The whole team at Somerset Community Foundation would like to extend our thanks to the Chapter of Wells Cathedral, the members of the orchestra and the choir, and Matthew and Elizabeth for helping to make the event such a huge success. We are also indebted to the Masons from the Benevolent Lodge, Wells for their help in ensuring the setup of the cathedral and service went smoothly, and guiding people to their seats. Somerset Life magazine were our media sponsors for the event, and produced the wonderful programmes for the evening.

 

Somerset Community Foundation are also delighted to announce that the retiring collection raised a staggering £2574.00 (plus Gift Aid), so another huge thank you, this time to everyone who dug deep on the night to help us carry on making a difference to communities across Somerset. 

 

Finally, thank you to Quilter Cheviot Investment Management, who once again offered their generous support to Sing for Somerset. Their sponsorship enables us to put on a fantastic event that kicks off the festive season for so many Somerset residents, and at the same time raise money to help cover our running costs.

 

We wish all our supporters a very Merry Christmas, and a happy, healthy New Year.

 


 

 

 

It is with pleasure that Somerset Community Foundation announce the appointment of Victoria Malcolm as their Marketing and Events Executive. Victoria has relocated to Somerset from Hampshire, and joins Somerset Community Foundation from The Nelson Consultancy, where she was an Account Manager looking after PR, marketing and events for a range of clients in the consumer sector. In her new role, Victoria will be responsible for communications including social media messaging, newsletters and the website, as well as administering events and assisting in the campaign to find new donors.

Victoria said of her new appointment ‘‘I am delighted to be joining the team at Somerset Community Foundation, and look forward to helping share news of  the work being carried out by the Foundation at a time of rapid growth and change’’.

Victoria is keen to hear from other Marketing Executives working in the charitable sector in Somerset, and the South West as a whole, to share ideas and updates on marketing activity. Please do get in touch by email if this is of interest – victoria.malcolm@somersetcf.org.uk

Representatives from Yeovil Glass and Window Centre and Somerset Community Foundation recently visited Somerset Rural Youth Project (SRYP) at their headquarters in Edington. The charity was recently awarded the first instalment of a £6,000 grant to support the Moped Loan Scheme. In the future, grants to charities working to raise the economic and educational aspirations of vulnerable young in Somerset will be made possible by the newly established Somerset Youth Fund, which is managed by Somerset Community Foundation.

Mary Hancock, Deputy Chief Executive of Somerset Community Foundation, said: “We’re really excited that local companies like Yeovil Glass, Gooch & Housego and Langdons are committed to supporting the Somerset Youth Fund. Our aim is to raise £100k for the fund each year to provide substantial, long-term grants to grassroots groups so that their staff can focus more of their time and energy on delivering services, and less on fundraising.”

SRYP’s innovative Moped Loan Scheme provides young people with an economical moped at reasonable cost while supporting them and helping them towards organising their own transport. Paul Garrard of Yeovil Glass said: “Our company has run an apprenticeship scheme for many years because we see the value in investing in young people. Now we’re also committed to supporting the Somerset Youth Fund on an on-going basis so that it, in turn, can support wonderful initiatives like the Moped Loan Scheme.”

Keynote speaker Tracey Bleakley, the Chief Executive of the Association of Police & Crime Commissioners, and formerly CEO of PFEG (the Personal Finance Education Group), spoke of her involvement in the successful campaign for financial education to be in the National Curriculum in England to supporters, friends and recipients of grants at Somerset Community Foundation’s Annual Celebration last week. The speech also covered the life cycle of a charity, from inception to merger, and Tracey challenged the audience to consider whether charities should change focus or even choose not to exist if they have achieved their objectives.

Justin Sargent, CEO of Somerset Community Foundation, spoke about how it had been a year of ‘firsts’, namely: the first £1m fund; the first donation of shares (which helped create a new £150k endowment fund); the first grants have just been awarded from the first fund established on the back of a solar panel farm in the Blackdown Hills; shortly the first fund will be established through a legacy where the Foundation will be the named beneficiary; and, all being well, the Foundation should soon manage the first fund providing loans alongside our grants, particularly for local social enterprises.

Seven groups that had received funding from the Foundation in 2013/14 showcased their services to the community on the night; Advocacy in Somerset, Blackdown Healthy Living Centre, Children’s World, Sydenham Amateur Boxing Club, Puriton Allotment Association, Wincanton Community Venture and The Somerset Emergency Volunteers, who supported their good work with colourful displays, slideshows and banners. Mayor of Taunton Deane, Dave Durdan, also brought along his roving Deane Dragon, ‘Proud Heritage’, for the night.

Sue Albone, Communication Committee Member from Cheddar Valley Foodbank said: “My husband and I were delighted to be invited to celebrate the wonderful work that the Somerset Community Foundation has achieved in the past year. It gave us an insight into the wider roles that are played by so many groups and individuals both in giving to the Foundation and in receipt of these grants and support. We really appreciated the opportunity to meet with some of the recipients of grants who were there to share their stories with everyone who attended.”

The event was kindly sponsored by long-standing supporters of Somerset Community Foundation, Old Mill Accountancy and The Philanthropy Fellowship.

 We’re continuing to celebrate the UN’s International Youth Day this week by highlighting our newly launched Somerset Youth Fund. The mission of the Fund is to support innovative and effective solutions to issues faced by the most disadvantaged young people in Somerset today and to raise the aspirations and life opportunities of these young people.

Streetspace, which is based in Chard, is an example of one of the charities in the county that the Somerset Youth Fund aims to support. They offer detached youth work and a counselling service for young people in crisis and have received three grants from Somerset Community Foundation in the past. 

You can find out more about the work that Streetspace do here.

To donate to The Somerset Youth Fund you can text: KIDZ14, followed by your donation amount (ie: £4), to 70070 or call Somerset Community Foundation on: (01749) 344949.

Read more about our Somerset Youth Fund here.

The Somerset Youth Fund’s mission is to support innovative and effective solutions to issues faced by the most disadvantaged young people in Somerset today and to raise the aspirations and life opportunities of these young people.

Today, we feature a piece written by Paddy Hill, Co-Director of Children’s World based in Glastonbury: 

Over the years Somerset Community Foundation have helped us with various pieces of equipment that we have used successfully in our work with children with special needs and in our integration work with special needs and mainstream primary children.
Most recently, they helped us purchase new lighting and staging equipment which we use to produce large scale puppet shows created and performed by an integrated group of special needs and mainstream primary children. 
This project is an invaluable tool that shows the positive outcomes of integration.

We are constantly approached by parents of these children who tell us how the workshop week has affected their children; how new understandings have been reached and new relationships forged. The impact of these weeks regularly bring tears to the eyes of the parents.

Apart from the values of social integration, we are told by participating staff that the structure of the week allows the academic achievement of each pupil to be maintained and stretched without impacting on any other child’s needs. 
The most recent school taking part in this workshop was Brookside School in Street. Here are some comments from pupils and staff who took part:

“.. thank you for making our week lovely!”  pupil

“The children thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, especially working together and producing a show for their parents.” class teacher

This project is extremely successful but can be expensive to produce. With help from the Somerset Community Foundation, we have been able produce these workshop weeks for a greatly reduced cost to us and to the participating schools.

You can find more information about Children’s World here.

To donate to The Somerset Youth Fund you can text: KIDZ14, followed by your donation amount (ie: £4), to 70070 or call Somerset Community Foundation on: (01749) 344949.

Read more about our Somerset Youth Fund here.

This week we’re looking at charities across Somerset that work with young people, to highlight our newly launched Somerset Youth Fund. The Somerset Youth Fund’s mission is to support innovative and effective solutions to issues faced by the most disadvantaged young people in Somerset today and to raise the aspirations and life opportunities of these young people.

Somerset Youth & Community Sailing Association was founded in the 1970s and is run by volunteers. Their aim is to provide training and recreational facilities, for the purpose of advancing education, in the interests of social welfare and they are one of the charities in the county that Somerset Youth Fund aims to support.

Peter Branson, Chair of SYCSA, said: “Every year we offer hundreds of children and young people, many of whom have never had a hobby before, the opportunity to take free taster sessions and learn to sail. As a result, a number of them go on to take up sailing and some obtain the internationally recognised Royal Yachting Association qualification which can lead to a career as an instructor.”

You can find more information about Somerset Youth & Community Sailing Association here.

To donate to The Somerset Youth Fund you can text: KIDZ14, followed by your donation amount (ie: £4), to 70070 or call Somerset Community Foundation on: (01749) 344949.

Read more about our Somerset Youth Fund here.

Somerset Community Foundation are celebrating the UN’s International Youth Day on Tuesday, August 12 by highlighting our newly launched Somerset Youth Fund. The Somerset Youth Fund’s mission is to support innovative and effective solutions to issues faced by the most disadvantaged young people in Somerset today and to raise the aspirations and life opportunities of these young people.

Mary Hancock, Deputy Chief Executive of Somerset Community Foundation, said: “Our aim is to provide substantial, long-term grants to grassroots groups so that their staff can focus more of their time and energy on delivering services and less on fundraising.”

Somerset Motor Project, which is based in Glastonbury, is an example of one of the charities in the county that the Somerset Youth Fund aims to support.

Joe Degregorio, manager of the Somerset Motor Project, said: “We seek to motivate young people who have found mainstream forms of educational provision difficult. A young person who attended the Project, following exclusion from school at the age of 14, went on to become a full-time apprentice at a Mercedes garage and now regularly returns to deliver motivational talks to our new trainees.”

To donate to The Somerset Youth Fund you can text: KIDZ14, followed by your donation amount, to 70070 or call Somerset Community Foundation on: (01749) 344949.

Read more about our Somerset Youth Fund here.


Wadworth, the Devizes-based brewer, has donated £2,046 to Somerset Community Foundation to help the flood affected communities on the Somerset levels. Wadworth Chairman and Managing Director, Charles Bartholomew, presented the cheque to Somerset Community Foundation Chief Executive, Justin Sargent, at The Rose and Crown in East Lyng, a village totally cut off during the peak of the flooding.

The money was raised by sales of more than forty thousand pints of Wadworth 6X at sixteen Wadworth pubs around Somerset, Bristol and west Wiltshire. For every pint of 6X sold in these pubs during March, April and May this year, Wadworth donated five pence to the fund.

wadworth“The floods were a desperate time for the communities around our pubs and we were determined to help,” explained Charles Bartholomew. We launched our fundraising in February with the twin aims of raising as much money as possible, and also of keeping the fundraising for the Somerset Community Foundation in the minds of the public long after the floods had receded. This is important as there is still so much to do to help those many people who lost so much in the unprecedented high water levels.”

“This donation from Wadworth and the customers of Wadworth’s pubs show how the whole community across Somerset and Wiltshire wants to help those who have been affected by the floods. It is a much appreciated contribution from a company with a visible and welcoming presence at the heart of so many Somerset communities,” said Justin Sargent. “At a time when the sun is shining it is important to remember that for lots of people, their journey to recovery in just beginning.” 

Approval for the development of a £1,000,000 Social Investment Fund to support Somerset businesses and communities was granted by Somerset County Council today.

Council Leader Cllr John Osman gave the green light for the £1,000,000 fund, a move that will help charities and social enterprises to make a positive impact on local communities and the economy.

Social enterprises are businesses with primarily social objectives where profits are reinvested into the business or the community, rather than being driven to make profit for shareholders and owners.

The proposed fund will normally offer loans of £10,000 to £100,000.

Leader of Somerset County Council, Cllr John Osman, said: “This is a significant commitment by Somerset County Council to help start, grow and expand charities and social enterprises that provide social, economic and environmental benefit to the communities of the county.

“We are committed to empowering individuals and communities to help support each other with targeted investment and support and to helping and supporting innovative ways of providing services.”

Justin Sargent, Chief Executive of Somerset Community Foundation, commented, “The fund will underpin a supported loans programme targeted at locally-based, home-grown charities and social enterprises using a business-based approach to achieve direct benefits for local communities.”

Cllr Osman added, “Somerset Community Foundation has a track record of delivering grant funding projects and has an established network of contacts that makes this such an exciting prospect for social enterprise schemes that often struggle to secure finance.”

The criteria and application process for the fund is currently being developed with a view to launching the fund in November 2014.

Anyone interested in the fund should contact Justin Sargent, Somerset Community Foundation Tel: 01749 344949 or email: justin.sargent@somersetcf.org.uk

Five intrepid members of the Francis Clark Taunton team are attempting to climb the highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales – all in 24 hours next weekend! 

Martin Lock, Nick Farrant, Heather Britton, Alex Bailey and Chris Dawson will battle against the elements and exhaustion in order to raise money for the Foundation, their chosen charity for 2014.

You can support their efforts by visiting https://www.justgiving.com/Francis-Clark1.

Bob Young, Chief Executive of Taunton Racecourse, invited the Foundation to take up the collection for flood relief last Wednesday after the final race of the eveningThe Foundation’s trustees were joined by employees of Francis Clark’s Taunton office. The chartered accountants, who chose Somerset Community Foundation as their charity of the year in 2013, have already raised money through various fundraising events such as a 150 mile cycle ride.

Over £560 was donated by members of the public to the Somerset Flood Relief Fund, which supports households, micro-businesses, farmers and community groups affected by flooding throughout the county this winter. So far over £330,000 has been given out in grants to households and community groups. 

Two months after the launch of our Flood Relief Grants programme, Somerset Community Foundation has awarded over £122k worth of emergency grants and raised over £660k for the relief effort. Our office has been temporarily staffed with incredibly helpful volunteers, and we’re looking forward to many fundraising events across the county! Read more here.

David Heath and Sarah Yong

It’s been a busy month at Somerset Community Foundation (SCF). Based in an unassuming office on the Bath and West Showground, the small charity launched the Somerset Flood Relief Fund on 9th January, which has now raised over £550,000 for flood victims in Somerset. With telephone donations lighting up the phones and cheques coming in from all over the country, the tiny staff of 4 have required extra manpower to process donations quickly so that the money can get to people who need assistance as soon as possible.

Local MP David Heath was in the office this week to help the very busy SCF in their efforts, along with one of his staff and new prospective parliamentary candidate Sarah Yong. David said “I have been doing everything I can to push the Government to support flooded communities on the Somerset Levels, and this week I wanted to ensure I was in Somerset doing something productive for the relief effort on the ground. SCF are doing an amazing job and they know just where the money needs to go to help those most affected. When I realised their team were desperate for help I was delighted to offer support”.

Employees from Glastonbury and Shepton Mallet Tesco stores have been volunteering in the office for the last two weeks. The grocery store company is working closely with SCF to raise money for flood-victims right across the South West, with donations being split across Cornwall, Devon and Somerset. Deputy Chief Executive of SCF Mary Hancock said, “When Tesco called to offer to collect donations in store, they also asked what was needed on the ground immediately. I requested a small army of volunteers, and they have just been brilliant!”

Other volunteers that have helped out with the relief effort include employees from Somerset County Council, the Alliance of Religion and Conservation, as well as Quartet and Wiltshire Community Foundations. 

Tesco Volunteer

Plaques sold on ebay for flood relief

From coffee shops to law firms, beauty salons to high street retailers, dozens of Somerset Businesses are doing their bit to raise money for flood relief.

Between 1st March and 30th May, pubs owned by Wadworth Brewery will donate 5p for every pint of 6X sold. My Coffee Stop in Shepton Mallet will donate 10% of sales during the month of February to the Fund, and Bridgwater-based Artistic Tendancies are selling handmade plaques using recalimed materials on their ebay site.

The internationally famous, everyday footwear company Clarks has been based in the heart of Somerset since the company began, and to support the local community the Street-based company has donated £15,000 to the Somerset Flood Relief Fund.  In addition to the cash donation, Clarks have provided 200 pairs of Kids Wellington Boots.

Mary Hancock, Deputy Chief Executive says, “It’s been great fun to engage with businesses large and small that are organising fundraising activities. During this flooding emergency, the support from the Somerset business community is really going a long way to helping us respond to the immediate needs of flooded households in our county and build resilient communities in the future.”


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