Somerset Community Foundation hosts Annual Celebration

October 21, 2014

Keynote speaker Tracey Bleakley, the Chief Executive of the Association of Police & Crime Commissioners, and formerly CEO of PFEG (the Personal Finance Education Group), spoke of her involvement in the successful campaign for financial education to be in the National Curriculum in England to supporters, friends and recipients of grants at Somerset Community Foundation’s Annual Celebration last week. The speech also covered the life cycle of a charity, from inception to merger, and Tracey challenged the audience to consider whether charities should change focus or even choose not to exist if they have achieved their objectives.

Justin Sargent, CEO of Somerset Community Foundation, spoke about how it had been a year of ‘firsts’, namely: the first £1m fund; the first donation of shares (which helped create a new £150k endowment fund); the first grants have just been awarded from the first fund established on the back of a solar panel farm in the Blackdown Hills; shortly the first fund will be established through a legacy where the Foundation will be the named beneficiary; and, all being well, the Foundation should soon manage the first fund providing loans alongside our grants, particularly for local social enterprises.

Seven groups that had received funding from the Foundation in 2013/14 showcased their services to the community on the night; Advocacy in Somerset, Blackdown Healthy Living Centre, Children’s World, Sydenham Amateur Boxing Club, Puriton Allotment Association, Wincanton Community Venture and The Somerset Emergency Volunteers, who supported their good work with colourful displays, slideshows and banners. Mayor of Taunton Deane, Dave Durdan, also brought along his roving Deane Dragon, ‘Proud Heritage’, for the night.

Sue Albone, Communication Committee Member from Cheddar Valley Foodbank said: “My husband and I were delighted to be invited to celebrate the wonderful work that the Somerset Community Foundation has achieved in the past year. It gave us an insight into the wider roles that are played by so many groups and individuals both in giving to the Foundation and in receipt of these grants and support. We really appreciated the opportunity to meet with some of the recipients of grants who were there to share their stories with everyone who attended.”

The event was kindly sponsored by long-standing supporters of Somerset Community Foundation, Old Mill Accountancy and The Philanthropy Fellowship.

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