New hub brings two rural communities together thanks to grant from HPC Community Fund
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:
- Conquest Centre, Taunton: £66,000 towards their Free Counselling for Parents project which will provide 10-week counselling programmes to parents/carers of young people accessing the Conquest Centre
- Diversity Voice, Bridgwater: £60,000 to fund two advice workers and English lessons for minority ethnic communities
- Magdalen Farm: £46,680 to support their Forest School Transition and Every Child Wild projects which provide outdoor education to five schools in Bridgwater to build resilience, increase wellbeing and reduce truancy for vulnerable children.
- Somerset Wildlife Trust, Taunton: £90,830 for their Wilder Coast project to support communities to access and engage with nature
- The Nelson Trust, Bridgwater: £147,713 for their project to support vulnerable women in Bridgwater and the surrounding areas.
- Wembdon Parish Council: £13,507 towards a swing for disabled children in the playground adjacent to the Parklands.
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.