Community Grants Fund winners announced
Charities and not-for-profit organisations from across the communities we serve are celebrating after being successful in securing funding of up to £5,000 from our Community Grants Fund.
We launched the Fund and invited groups to apply for the grants to support work that aligns with our Improving Lives 2025 strategy.
Karen Prince, Head of Community Programmes, said: “We’re delighted to be able to provide this funding to support and bolster the fantastic work of a variety of organisations that work tirelessly to improve the lives of people across our operational area.
We know that many of these organisations have identified local need in their areas and many have experienced an increase in demand during the Coronavirus pandemic, so it’s great to know this funding will go some way to supporting them in providing their valued services.”
Read below to find out how the funding will help some of the winning organisations.
Walsall Carers Centre offers support to unpaid carers across Walsall and is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
The group supports unpaid carers and organises events and day trips for them.
The money will be used to train members of staff to give benefits advice and arrange future day trips.
Andy Hawes, Co-ordinator of the organisation, said: “We’re here to support people who don’t choose to be a carer, but have it forced on them due to the illness of a loved one.
“Funding is a constant problem for us. We usually write to charitable trusts and we aim to raise £20,000 per year, so to get a quarter of that in one go is great.
“We can now plan ahead for the next six months, knowing we’ve got the funds to do what we want to do.
“We want to say a big thank you to Longhurst Group for this money.”
As a charity which supports unpaid carers in North East Lincolnshire, Carers Support Service in Grimsby will use their windfall to start up a new project.
They’ll use the money to get the Men’s Shed project off the ground.
Sue White, Service Manager, said: “We’ll be using the money to pay for some additional staff hours to ensure the project gets off the ground and oversee the general running once it starts.
“We were delighted to hear that our bid was successful as without the funding, we wouldn’t have had the money to set up the Men’s Shed project. We rely on donations and grants to support our services and develop new projects.
“I’d like to say a huge thank you to Longhurst Group. The funding will make a difference to unpaid carers in the North East of Lincolnshire, offering a place to meet with a like-minded group while sharing or learning new skills.”
This organisation supports young people and adults with learning disabilities and those who are disadvantaged through a wide variety of practical workshops and supported work placements.
Carl Peet, Grants Manager, said: “We’re really pleased with this success as it means we’re able to proceed with our ‘Roots to Growth’ gardening, healthy eating and life skills project.
“The money will help us meet the cost of building a horticulture workshop on our Heneage Road site, which’ll comprise of a wheelchair accessible polytunnel, raised beds, vegetable plots and a seating area surrounded by secure fencing.
“We’re so pleased to have the support and encouragement of the Longhurst Group team and look forward to working together in the future.”
The Food 4 Thought Alliance is about getting to the root causes of people’s needs and recognises that the solution is about more than just food.
People have no money to buy food due to a number of factors, many of which may get worse due to the impact of Coronavirus.
The Food 4 Thought Alliance aims to help people break out of the cycle of food poverty by providing signposting and advice and, where appropriate, referring people to other agencies who’ll offer free tailored support.
Paul Brookhouse, Project Manager, said: “Being able to support people from all cultural backgrounds suffering with food insecurity is an important value of ours.
“Some of these food items can be more expensive than some more traditional items that go in food parcels so this money is invaluable in enabling us to source these items to help individuals and families struggling at this time.
“We want to say a big thanks of appreciation to Longhurst Group for partnering with us in this way to help residents of Derby and our wider plan of helping to address the root causes of poverty in our city.
“We couldn’t achieve what we do without this type of support.”
Your Place Grimsby has been serving the people of the East Marsh for the past 20 years.
The busy community hub acts as a ‘friend in the neighbourhood’ and offers a wide range of creative, educational, social and recreational activities and volunteering opportunities.
The group say the funding will allow them to hire larger venues to host activities as Coronavirus restrictions ease.
“We’re delighted to have received funding from Longhurst Group,” said Chris Taylor, Funding Co-ordinator at the group.
“With the easing of the Covid-19 restrictions, we can now welcome people back to Your Place. The problem we had was that the hall in Your Place will only hold six people in a Covid-secure way, and people had to keep their masks on which made relaxed and informal groups very difficult.
“With this funding, we’ve been able to hire a larger hall where we can welcome up to 15 people and buy equipment and craft materials so that we can make up individual activity packs which each person can have on their own table.
“Also, because the hall is much bigger, people can be two meters apart and take off their masks when they’re seated.
“We could not do what we do without our amazing volunteers and the support and kindness of organisations like Longhurst Group who stand with us as we serve the people of East Marsh and beyond.”
South Lincolnshire Domestic Abuse Service (SOLDAS) Boston Women’s Aid offers free, confidential support to men, women and children who are or have been affected by domestic abuse in the area.
Their grant will enable them to deliver a rural community hub in the Spalding area of the county to provide a safe space for people to access their support services.
Lucy Watts, Funding and Communication Officer, said: “We were delighted to learn that we’d been successful.
“We don’t receive core funding and rely solely on grants and donations to operate.
“We’re extremely grateful to be supported by local communities, groups and the generosity of the public who help by providing donations and gifts-in-kind.
“We’d like to say a huge thank you to Longhurst Group for helping us to make a difference to people’s lives.”
The Northampton Hope Centre is a charity that supports those living in poverty. This financial difficulty could have resulted in them struggling to feed the family or ended up with a life on the streets.
The charity offers immediate crisis support through its HandUp service for the homeless, offering a drop-in service of support, with a move-on programme to support housing and personal development to enable individuals to live independently and look towards an independent life with fulfilment and employment.
This Learning4Living programme is also available to the wider community and is supplemented by the FoodClub, which provides low cost food through the charity’s social supermarket.
Louise Danielczuk, Fundraising and Marketing Manager, said: “In a year where charity has struggled financially and a year where the demand for services has sky-rocketed, we’re grateful beyond belief for the support.
“We’re overjoyed to be working with such a community minded organisation.
“The funding enables us to link the HandUp and Learning4Living programmes, resulting in the opportunity to make a real difference for those whose life has taken them to the street.
“The difference the support from Longhurst Group is making is real, it’s tangible and it’ll help create a better future for those most in need in our community.”
A local charity which runs services to support those facing homelessness, poverty and addiction, ENCS provides two homeless accommodations schemes and various outreach projects and foodbanks.
The money will help them continue to provide the best service possible and the organisation has described the Community Grants Fund as “a brilliant initiative.”
Jo Burns, ENCS Operations Manager, said: “This grant from Longhurst Group gives us the resilience as a charity to ensure we provide the best continuous service for our clients. This is a brilliant initiative from an organisation like Longhurst Group to be giving back to the communities within which they work, and another way to help clients that very often access Longhurst Group properties as well.
“We’re reliant on funding from organisations to keep our services working and grants like this enable us to ensure we’re able to help more people. We’re incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be supported by them and to be successful with this new funding.
“This grant is special to us as it is unrestricted and allows us to contribute towards general running costs of our Corby Homeless Project. These costs allow our staff to do key work with clients, to address their barriers to housing whether that is financial; poor physical and mental health; addictions; difficulty budgeting or with life admin or simply unable to maintain a tenancy for whatever reason.
“We also could not do the work we do without creating a warm, welcoming, safe home whilst people reside with us as this makes a huge difference to individuals; this grant will allow us to do this.”
Little Miracles is a charity that supports families with children who have additional needs, disabilities and life-limiting conditions.
At present, the organisations supports over 13,000 children and their families to have happier and healthier lives through a combination of support by way of counselling, benefits advice and emotional support, training and developing for parents and young people and days out and holiday clubs.
Michelle King, CEO of Little Miracles, said: “We’re so grateful for the support that Longhurst Group is giving us - our family support team conducted 2,476 appointments and this would not have been possible without this support.
“Our family support team doesn’t just signpost, they roll up their sleeves and help these families and this month we’ve been helping in all kinds of areas, including making sure families have enough to eat, helping with their tenancy agreements, ensuring that they’re getting all the benefits they’re entitled to and more.
“I cannot say just how thankful we are for this help and support. The last year has been very difficult for us with unprecedented levels of need when we haven't been able to fundraise as we normally would.
“This help is keeping this team running.”
The winners in full
- Little Miracles (Peterborough)
- SOLDAS Boston Women’s Aid
- Your Place Grimsby
- ENCS (East Northants Community Services)
- Northampton Hope Centre
- Carers Support NE Lincs
- Rock Foundation Grimsby
- Community Action Derby
- Walsall Carers