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“I relish the opportunity to support community groups that offer vital help.”

October 1, 2020

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.


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