Comic Relief ‘Core Strength – Local Communities Programme’ awards £34,712

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Comic Relief Provides Vital Grant Boost of £34,712 For Core Running Costs of Local Voluntary Groups 

Comic Relief has awarded £34,712 through the ‘Core Strength – Local Communities Programme’ to support six local community groups and charitable organisations working in deprived or disadvantaged areas with their day-to-day core running costs.  The grants programme has been administered by the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Foundation (HIWCF).

The Comic Relief Core Strength – Local Communities Programme recognises the importance of investing in local community organisations to ensure they continue to play a pivotal role in supporting local people facing social issues in disadvantaged areas. These small organisations truly understand the needs of the people they serve, making a huge difference to their lives. Unfortunately they have been hit particularly hard by the recent economic climate leaving them urgently in need of core funding to continue their crucial work.

The six groups receiving a grant are:

Name of Organisation Grant Area
Communicare In Southampton        £7,500 Southampton
Good Mental Health Cooperative        £4,867 Portsmouth
Helping Older People New Forest (HOPe)        £5,000 New Forest
Loud and Proud        £4,845 Gosport
Pan Together        £5,000 Isle of Wight
Portsmouth Family Welfare Association        £7,500 Portsmouth
                                                                    Total     £34,712

 Communicare in Southampton

Communicare In Southampton aims to relieve poverty, hardship and distress for local people, offering visiting and befriending to older people and those with mental health issues and the grant will enable Communicare to extend a staff contract to continue their great work. Larry is Donald’s befriender (pictured below) and they recently discovered that Donald can sing, so Larry now takes along his guitar and they ‘jam’ together each week. Larry and Donald have become good friends and the discovery that he can sing has brought a whole new lease of life to Donald. This demonstrates the significance of befriending and what Communicare is all about; helping out those who are lonely and isolated in a friendly neighbourly way. The photograph shows Communicare volunteer Larry Walder and Communicare client Donald Barker.

Good Mental Health Cooperative, Portsmouth,

The Good Mental Health Co-operative is based in Portsmouth and the group helps people work towards good mental health and wellbeing, no matter what their starting point, through a range of innovative and creative projects. One example is the Human Library project – a pop-up library where members of the public can speak informally with trained up ‘people on loan’ about mental ill-health, gender transition, old age, disabilities and other experiences of stigma and discrimination. The group will use the grant to cover core staff and venue costs, enabling them to get more involved in larger funding bids, collaboration with other organisations and increasing their on-line trading capacity.

Portsmouth Family Welfare Association

The Portsmouth Family Welfare Association supports people in crisis in the city, relying upon its group of volunteers to keep up a stream of goods to recycle including bedding, clothing and toys as well as food donations. The grant will support the two long serving part-time secretaries who meet with the clients and are very experienced in dealing with a whole range of situations and people. The Association will be able to continue to support those less fortunate individuals and families who find themselves at a critical low point in their lives, such as a young man who was sleeping rough who came to the group asking for help with finding suitable clothes and shoes for a job interview. Volunteers were able to provide smart suitable clothing and toiletries to help him prepare and he got the job which was a great success both for him and the volunteers involved. Last year saw an increase in the number of people supported to 2,500 adults and children, as job loss, family breakdown, sickness or loss of the family home can all precipitate a crisis.

Helping Older People (HOPe), New Forest

HOPe New Forest provides an information and advice service for older people in the New Forest. The grant will be used to cover core running and fixed costs associated with promoting and operating a befriending service in the local community. Local volunteers are recruited and given training enabling them to offer companionship and interaction to the most isolated members of the community. The aim is to help participants feel socially included and motivated through appropriate and meaningful conversation and to engage in activities that lift their mood to avoid feelings of loneliness and isolation. One lady who was extremely glad to be introduced to a suitable volunteer in order to have somebody to share a chat with over a cup of tea now looks forward to meeting up for weekly games of scrabble and card games and now both the client and befriender look forward to spending time together.

Loud and Proud, Gosport

Loud and Proud was formed in January 2011 by five teenagers who decided they wished to combat stereotyping and change the perception of young people.

Grant funding will cover the salary for a part-time Project Manager to enable a range of duties to be carried out supporting the day-to-day running of the group. This will allow Loud and Proud to continue to attract young people from deprived areas of Gosport and engage in joint activities and initiatives working with young people and families involving homelessness, family breakdown and mental health issues. Loud and Proud’s activities enable members to develop life and team working skills to unlock their potential and widen their employment choices representing an ideal pathway for social inclusion not available elsewhere in the town.

Pan Together, Isle of Wight

Pan Together operates from brand new Community Centre premises offering a variety of services and amenities to improve the lives of local residents, including older people, children and families. The grant will help to keep the community centre operating by covering day-to-day running costs including utility bills, maintenance, cleaning, IT, stationery and book keeping costs. In addition Pan Together will be able to appoint a new Café Manager to help seek funding, develop the centre and keep the café open throughout the day. The café offers healthy food and a place to come for advice and friendship, helping those experiencing social isolation and loneliness to feel they have somewhere to turn to when they are feeling low.

Jonathan Cheshire, Chairman of Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Foundation commented: “We are delighted to be working with Comic Relief to support these fantastic local voluntary organisations through the ‘Core Strength – Local Communities’ grants. These groups carry out inspiring work impacting on the day-to-day lives of people in need to make a huge difference. HIWCF works hard to ensure that grant-making focuses on the areas of greatest need and last year we were able to target 70% of our £1.1m grant spend to the 50% most deprived wards in our area.”

To find out more about HIWCF and our valuable work across Hampshire and Isle of Wight, Southampton and Portsmouth please visit www.hiwcf.com

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About Comic Relief

Comic Relief is a UK charity which aims to create a just world, free from poverty – where everyone is safe, healthy, educated and empowered. Since 1985, Comic Relief has raised over £1 billion. That money has helped, and is helping, people living incredibly tough lives, both at home in the UK and across the world.

For information about Comic Relief and the work it carries out, please visit www.comicrelief.com

Comic Relief, registered charity 326568 (England/Wales); SC039730 (Scotland)