Charities in Somerset West & Taunton benefit from almost £60k grants funding
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 – £2,500 to provide virtual support for LGBTQ+ young people in Somerset.
- Citizen Advice Taunton - £2,000 to set up virtual advice services.
- Community Council for Somerset - £7,700 to provide virtual support for black and minority ethnic communities.
- Coronavirus Community Help Taunton - £3,700 to purchase PPE for volunteers.
- Dulverton Good Neighbours - £4,200 to provide a meals-on-wheel service.
- Fortitude Wellbeing - £1,000 to run online wellbeing sessions for at home workers.
- Holford Parish Council - £500 to support vulnerable older people in the community.
- Kingston Community Partnership - £750 to support vulnerable older people in the community.
- Minehead Hope Centre - £1,400 to provide hot meals and support for homeless people.
- Open Door Taunton - £5,000 to provide hot meals and support for homeless people.
- Quantock Food Bank - £2,000 to replenish food supplies.
- Salvation Army Watchet - £2,000 to provide food parcels for vulnerable people.
- Somerset Art Works - £3,000 to run virtual art workshops to support vulnerable people with mental health issues.
- Somerset Federation of Young Farmers - £2,250 to deliver mental health first aid training for group leaders
- Somerset Sight - £3,800 to expand virtual support for people with sight loss.
- Stogursey Parish Council - £1,000 to provide food parcels for vulnerable people.
- Taunton Area Debt Advice - £1,250 to provide virtual debt advice to vulnerable people.
- The Nelson Trust - £10,000 to provide virtual support for vulnerable women.
- Wellington Carers Support Group - £500 to support local carers.
- Wessex MS Therapy Centre - £1,500 to provide virtual support for people with multiple sclerosis.
- YMCA Taunton - £1,600 to support local families on low incomes.
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.