Wednesday, 29 May 2024
Wednesday, 29 May 2024

Wessex Water Community Fund delivers more than £40k funding to grass roots groups

A partnership with Wessex Water has allowed Wiltshire Community Foundation to provide grass roots groups and charities with more than £40,000 in funding.

The Wessex Water Community Fund, now in its third year, provides grants of up to £3,000 to groups who want to improve the lives of people living in their communities. It is supported by the Wessex Water Foundation, which has provided grants of at least £500,000 a year to projects across the Wessex Water region since 2020.

Among the recipients is Chippenham Community Eco Hub in Borough Parade, which was awarded £3,000 to open a ‘living room’ for people to come and stay warm over the winter months.

Chair of trustees Sandie Webb said:

“We’ll have hot drinks and warm snacks, as well as newspapers, board games and television for people to keep occupied while they are here.

“The grant is fantastic because it means we can operate for six months without having to charge anyone and it will be a lovely welcoming place where people can come.”

Westbury and Warminster Youth Clubs will use a £3,000 grant to cover core costs for its two regular clubs that provide a safe, encouraging space for 40 young people in Westbury and 20 at Lakeside Community Hall in Warminster.

Youth worker Beth Mullins said the club is a lifeline for young people from low-income families who can afford little in the way of entertainment.

She said:

“We charge £1 each week, it is quite important we keep it low because there is a lot of poverty close to where we run.

“The grant is really helpful because it means we have the staff to keep the clubs running.”

Aside from staff costs the grant will help towards hall hire, materials for arts and crafts and ingredients for cooking sessions such as pizza making.

The West Wilts Child Contact Centre in Trowbridge, which provides a place for separated parents to spend time with their children in a safe environment, will use a £1,000 grant towards running costs. 

The centre works with up to seven families at a time who are referred by the courts but receives no statutory funding. It relies on a team of 15 volunteers and one part-time co-ordinator.

Chair of trustees Rodney Weaver said the grant will help towards rent and insurance, as well as replenishing the centre’s toy stocks. He said:

“Without this funding to pay these sorts of costs, we wouldn’t be able to operate at all. The money is very welcome.”

The Bybrook Benefice of churches, which comprises ten parishes including Yatton Keynell, Biddestone, Castle Combe and Kington St Michael, has been awarded £2,700 to run non-religious support for the community.

Almost all of the parishes don’t have community halls and with shops and pubs closing the villages served by the churches have few places to bring people together. Based at Yatton Keynell Village Hall, the benefice will run financial management and parenting courses, a bereavement cafe and a warm space through the winter.

Treasurer Eric Woodcock said the grant will pay for tables and chairs and catering equipment including a coffee machine. He said:

“The furniture will enable us to have a much more flexible space and open it up to allow us to offer a wider variety of activities, which we are currently unable to do, and the catering equipment will enable us to offer refreshments and make the space more welcoming.”

Kirsty Scarlett, Wessex Water’s Head of Community Engagement, said:

“This year more than ever Wessex Water is pleased to be able to work in partnership with Wiltshire Community Foundation to support key local organisations that help people facing difficulties in life, providing safe places and a warm welcome for communities to find the support they need.”

Wiltshire Community Foundation joint chief executive Fiona Oliver said the partnership with Wessex Water is an important source of funding for groups. She said:

“Thanks to Wessex Water’s generous support and our knowledge of Wiltshire’s voluntary sector we can ensure this funding goes to support work that is making a huge difference in communities where people are really struggling.” 

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