Westquay Shopping Centre has revealed the ten charities that have been awarded a grant through its Giving Back Project. Launched in August 2020, the project is a new scheme seeing Westquay donate a total of £20,000 to support local groups across Southampton that have been hit hard by COVID-19.
Westquay are working on the grants programme in partnership with the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation, to award ten grants of £2,000 to the following organisations:
- City Life Church – City Life Church is very active; working to serve those who are vulnerable and on the margins of society through a variety of projects including CLEAR
- E.M.S. – Gems (Guidance Empowerment Motivation & Safeguarding) Gems operate a support group for people in recovery from narcotics misuse
- Northam Community Link – Northam community link has been a charity since 2002 and provides a Community Centre and community based projects
- Parklife Community Café – As a community café they aim to bring together people of all abilities, ages and backgrounds by providing a friendly environment (with affordable food and drink) for people to come together
- Saint Mary’s Church PCC Southampton City Centre Parish – Saint Mary’s Church is a community seeking to develop ways to transform people’s lives, and enable everyone to live a fulfilled life
- Saints Foundation – Saints Foundation is the charity of Southampton Football Club – they’re the club’s way of giving back. Using the power and passion of the club to transform lives in and around Southampton, helping people fulfil their potential to be more involved, healthier and empowered members of the community
- Society of St James – The Society of St James (SSJ) exists to help vulnerable people across Hampshire by providing person-centred interventions and helping individuals to realise their potential
- Somali Women and Children Community Development Group – SWDC is engaged in Human Rights protection with focus on vulnerable groups, this is achieved through enhancing the capacity of women, lobbying and advocacy with concerned parts, promotion of reconciliation and peace building process
- Southampton Magna Rotary Club – Whilst Covid is restrictive and has reduced fundraising and community support, they have looked at ways to work within safety guidelines and help those in need within the Southampton Community
- WSX Enterprise Limited – WSX Enterprise is a business support organisation in southern England, helping people start their business and support the growth and development of established businesses
Laura Read, General Manager at Westquay said: “This has been a really challenging year for everyone, and we know that charities and other organisations across Southampton have really gone the extra mile. This project is all about giving something back to those groups that have pulled out all the stops over the past few months, and need a helping hand to ensure they can continue to carry out their valuable work. We are so grateful for everything they have done.”
Each of the ten charities were selected based on meeting at least one of the following criteria:
- Food bank support and tackling food poverty
- Providing support services to people affected by domestic violence and abuse
- Supporting those who are homeless or rough sleeping
- Providing employment opportunities, enterprise or skills development
Grant Cornwell MBE, HIWCF Chief Executive, said: “We would like to thank the team at Westquay for their goodwill and generosity, which will help many local people in the Southampton area experiencing difficult and challenging times. This funding is going directly to support those organisations that are providing food, shelter, training, employment and helping those who are isolating to stay safe during the pandemic, making a big difference to the lives of vulnerable people in our communities. HIWCF has a strong record of providing corporate clients with a professionally managed charitable funding service, achieving high impact corporate social responsibility goals and we are delighted that Westquay have once again chosen to partner with the Foundation to implement their charitable giving at this time.”
Quotations and feedback from the organisations receiving a grant from Westquay can be seen below:
Daniel Pooley, Resource Leader, City Life Church said: “Good quality homes that can provide a sense of safety and security as part of a support package, are key to our approach in helping people leave homelessness behind for good. This grant will help us as we refurbish and furnish our next home to do just that and will make a real difference to people’s lives”.
Danielle Eccleston, Administrator, Northam Community Link said: “Myself and the community of Northam are thrilled and overwhelmed to have been successful in gaining a £2000 grant from the Westquay Giving Back project. This grant will make a huge difference to many local residents as this money will help fund our very much needed Food Bank. The food bank helps 60 families a week and is vital to our community, so thank you very much Westquay.”
Paula Shapland, Cafe Manager, Parklife Community Cafe said: “We are extremely grateful and touched to receive this grant money from the Westquay Fund , we appreciate that the retail industry is having a tough time at the moment and for the biggest shopping outfit in Southampton to share any profits with a tiny operation like our Community Café is very heartening, rest assured that the money will be wisely spent for the benefit of many in the community we serve, our sincere thanks.”
Greg Baker, Head of Saints Foundation said: “It has been a challenging six months for us and our city, so this funding given by Westquay and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation is essential to running projects like Saints Works. “We know that 16-25-year-olds across the city have been hit hard by the pandemic, so to give them the support to get back into education, training or employment can only be a positive for all involved. A huge thank you to the two initiatives for their support, it will help us continue our mission to transform lives in and around Southampton.”
Ashley Christopher, Team Leader, Society of St James said: “We are really happy to be working with Westquay and are delighted that they have chosen to support us. The grant will help us invest in new mountain bikes which will improve the fitness and mental health of our service users. The new bikes mean our service users get to see some of the local countryside, learn new skills, make friends, and improve their mental health and fitness – which has long term benefits for their recovery.”
Henriette Reinders, Programme Manager, WSX Enterprise Limited said: “We are thrilled to have been selected for a Giving Back Project grant from Westquay. The money is going to help young people who are currently unemployed become self-employed and start their own business. We will support them to develop their business ideas, look at planning, skills and money matters and share valuable knowledge that can help them in any walk of life.”
Nathan Leigh, Curate, Saint Mary’s Church said: “The money from the Westquay Giving Back grant will enable us to help provide emergency food parcels to those who are most in need at this time. It will also enable us to provide and expand this service to meet an immediate developing local needs. It is a wonderful gift and will help many people in this time.”
Sean Monaghan, Founder and CEO, G.E.M.S said: “We are so thankful to the Westquay Giving Back Project for their generous support of our Food Distribution Project at Kingsland Community Centre in Southampton (SO14 1LF). With this grant, we were able to buy a huge double door fridge, a big chest freezer, two gazebos and some sanitising liquid. All of these things help our work by providing a longer shelf life for our chilled and frozen donated items, a shelter in times of adverse weather and much-needed protection against the virus.”
Ahmed Sharif, Chairperson, Somali Women and Children Community Development Group said: “We are extremely grateful for receiving this grant from Westquay which will aid our female community members in getting jobs and ensure independent financial support.”
The team at Westquay has worked hard to support its local community throughout the pandemic by providing free parking to NHS workers throughout the summer.
Hammerson, which owns Westquay, has launched the scheme across its nine flagship destinations in the UK, meaning charities across the country will receive £180,000 to help them overcome the impact of the pandemic.
Notes to Editors
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Westquay Shopping Centre was opened on the 28th September 2000. Situated just a short walk away from Southampton Central station, Westquay is home to over 100 brands, including major department stores, John Lewis & Partners and Marks & Spencer as well as iconic stores Victoria’s Secret, Zara, Schuh, Apple, Hollister, Lego and Tommy Hilfiger. Westquay also offers a fantastic dining experience with a wide choice of restaurants to cater to all tastes, whether you fancy authentic Japanese at Wagamama, classical pizzas at Franco Manca or fresh, juicy burgers at Byron Burger. Westquay’s dining and leisure development has brought an array of fantastic restaurants to the city, alongside a 10-screen luxury Showcase cinema de Lux and 12-lane Hollywood Bowling alley.