Donald Lake was a widower from Yeovil, and when he passed away he left his entire estate to charity. Apart from naming a couple of charities, he asked his executors to use their judgement to select which other charities to support.
One of his executors was a partner in a law firm and they approached Somerset Community Foundation as they were being overwhelmed with unsolicited proposals from charities. They decided to invest the proceeds from the estate in our endowment fund to make a more strategic and long-term impact by creating the Donald Lake Memorial Fund.
Since 2010, in Donald’s name, we have awarded more than £15,000 of grants to a range of Somerset organisations working with older people to address loneliness and isolation. One small grant enabled Contact the Elderly to start monthly Sunday tea parties for isolated older people in three new villages, and another helped to fund a new lift to help elderly and disabled people access regular social activities in the function room of a church hall in Langport.
Friends in Retirement is a small Yeovil-based group enabling around 15 older people, many with disabilities, to form new friendships and combat loneliness. A small grant from Donald Lake’s fund helped the groups afford guests speakers and stimulating trips.
Continuing the link with Yeovil, we funded Headway Somerset to try a pilot project engaging with patients in Yeovil District Hospital prior to their return home as well as supporting them once they have left hospital. Our grant has helped them stretch their support to an additional 100 people in the past year.
The grant to Cruse Breavement helped them continue a telephone helpline for people who have been affected by bereavement.