Major UK funder says charities in Wales are innovating in their local communities to meet high levels of social need
The Garfield Weston Foundation more than doubles its £5m anniversary fund to over £11m to support over 150 charities after overwhelming demand
One of the UK’s largest charitable funders says small community charities are rising to the challenges of unprecedented demand for their services by being proactive and innovative. The Garfield Weston Foundation says it has more then doubled its £5m capital fund to over £11m so it can support over 150 charities and community organisations across the UK. Charities across Wales will receive £1.1m from the fund.
The Weston Anniversary Fund was launched earlier this year to provide funding to charities to improve their existing facilities or provide new ones as part of the Foundation’s 60th year. The Trustees took the decision to more than double the fund after receiving over 2,300 applications, with over 60% from charities that have never applied to them before.
The Garfield Weston Foundation’s Director, Philippa Charles, says:
“What really impressed our Trustees is the amount of volunteering and community involvement that’s going on across the UK. We heard about so many amazing projects involving local people who are helping their communities thrive – regardless of cuts, Brexit debates and other challenges.
The response from charities to this new fund clearly demonstrates the voluntary sector is proactive and energetic; far from the complacency it is sometimes accused of.
Yet we can also see the level of need that exists in our local communities and how much the services charities provide are so desperately needed. The impact of these grants will be significant, with benefits for many people lasting years.”
From community centres providing services for isolated older people to organisations tackling youth and gang crime, the funding from the Weston Anniversary Fund will help charities from across the UK provide more and better services in their communities. A recent survey by the Foundation found that two-thirds (66%) of small charities expect their income to stay the same or decline this year, yet over half (55%) expect to be delivering more services. Getting help with refurbishments or a new building has been highlighted by charities as important as it helps them earn new income.
Canolfan Pentre is a thriving community centre in the Rhondda valley offering a range of programmes to help address isolation and loneliness, including after school clubs, a community cafe, job club, mental health support and a parent & toddler group. They have been awarded £65,000 from the Weston Anniversary Fund so that they can build a new meeting room to help meet demand for their services and host many other community groups.
Elizabeth (Buffy) Williams, Manager of the centre, says: “Pentre has lost a great deal over the last few years including our school, shops and day centre. Losing such important assets can be detrimental to a community. Yet Canolfan Pentre has helped bridge the gap that losing so many local facilities can leave. This funding is incredible, as it will give us greater scope to reach even more people in our quest to combat isolation.
Canolfan pentre is a vibrant, fun filled centre where the community and wider community can meet and get involved. This funding will enable us to reach our full potential.”
The new meeting room will provide an important space for the wellbeing group, which offers support to those suffering from anxiety and depression. Lisa Walker started the group after seeing a gap in local mental health services.
‘The impact of isolation and how this makes people’s anxiety and depression worse is why this group is so important. For some, this is the only time they leave the house and interact with others, some are carers and don’t have the time and space to think of themselves – this group provides that for them.”