Somerset Community Foundation, in partnership with Somerset Council and NHS Somerset, recently awarded over £150,000 in grants to 44 local community groups in the latest round of Cost-of-Living grants this summer. The grants will help groups across the county cope with rising energy bills and offer more support to people in Somerset who are struggling to make ends meet.
Through the Cost-of-Living Fund, Somerset Community Foundation brings together diverse resources from local funders. To date, it has awarded a total of £350,000 of grants in response to the cost-of-living crisis, connecting other trusts, businesses and people.
Andy Ridgewell, Programmes Director at Somerset Community Foundation said: “These grants have been made possible thanks to the generous funding received from Somerset Council and NHS Somerset. And because we know this winter will be another difficult one for many people, we’re offering funding to groups running Warm Spaces once again, too.”
Cllr Federica Smith-Roberts, Executive Lead Member for Communities, Housing and Culture at Somerset Council, said: “The support Somerset Council and other funders provide is translated into making a real difference to people’s lives. The grants awarded are supporting people of all ages and abilities across Somerset.
“The cost-of-living crisis has hit our residents hard, particularly the most vulnerable. The projects receiving support are helping those who are struggling and are worried about how they will cope in the coming winter.”
Paul von der Heyde, Chair of NHS Somerset says: “We are delighted to support the Somerset Cost-of-Living Fund to invest in local community projects at such a difficult time for Somerset residents who are likely to struggling with bills and other costs this winter.”
Of the 44 grants, awards included:
· £5,016 to help pay the running costs at the café at Victoria Park Community Centre, Bridgwater
The community café is an essential local hub where people in need can come for food and company. But energy bills are making the service harder to offer.
“The cost of food has risen resulting in reducing the profit margins from the café which is one of our main income generators,” says Manager Laura Fowler. “As a community centre in a deprived area of Bridgwater we do not wish to pass these costs on to the community, many of whom are already struggling in the cost-of-living crisis.”
· £3,500 to help Reminiscence Learning, based in Wellington, provide a warm and welcoming space for people living with dementia
“Our charity has really felt the financial impact as a direct result of increasing prices from every avenue,” says Business Support Manger Zoe Priestley.
“However, the costs of our utility bills have proven to be a significant dent in our finances. As an essential service, our Day Centre must remain safe and welcoming which includes providing a warm and bright premises. We have to keep the heating and lights on without fail, which is resulting in huge invoices for us and will only increase again in the winter months.”
· £5,000 to help In the Mix Youth Project, based in Wiveliscombe, support young people and families in need
In the Mix provides a warm space where young people can eat a meal at no cost. As well as helping with rising bills, the grant will go towards helping families from low-income households to access different services.
“Many families and young people who are using our service face hardship,” says Director Nick Harvey. “Young people are affected more than most, during this difficult phase of crisis and poverty, and this is having an impact on their mental wellbeing and future life chances.”
You can apply for a grant for up to £1,000 from the Somerset Warm Spaces Fund if you work or volunteer at a community venue, towards the cost of staying open longer this winter to offer a warm place for people experiencing fuel poverty. Find out more: www.somersetcf.org.uk/warm
Or you can call or email Somerset Community Foundation if you have a question on 01749 344949 and ask to speak to Peter or Kirsty in the Grants Team (Option 5) or email the team at [email protected]
Applications for funding from the Somerset Warm Spaces Fund must be made by 5pm, Friday 10 November.
Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.
Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £25 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.