HRH The Countess of Wessex Visits SCF
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.