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Summerfield marks 200th year by partnering with local grassroots charities

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This year Summerfield Developments marked 200 years in business by choosing two new Taunton-based charity partners: The Albemarle Centre, Taunton and North Taunton Partnership. The local charities will both receive three years of flexible funding to support their vital community work through Summerfield’s Force for Good Fund, managed by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF).

James Holyday, Managing Director at Summerfield Developments said: “As a company with its roots firmly in Somerset since 1823, Summerfield is proud to invest back into the communities where our staff and customers both live and work. Our Force for Good Fund, in partnership with SCF, ensures that the incredible work of our chosen charities in Taunton will continue providing invaluable help to so many individuals and families.”

The firm’s partnership with SCF brings all of their charitable giving and employee fundraising together through The Summerfield Force for Good Fund. It will focus on two key strategic priorities: Building Strong and Vibrant Communities, and Helping Young People Build a Brighter Future.

Fiona Foster, Philanthropy Manager at SCF added: “We’re really proud to be working with Summerfield Developments. They have been a long-term supporter of SCF and were one of the first businesses to set up a corporate charitable fund with us.

“We’re delighted that in this, their 200th year, they wanted to commemorate their incredible landmark by working with us to create a new strategy that aligns their charitable giving with their company’s values and the needs of the local community in the present day.”

Alongside continuing to award small grants to Taunton-based groups, two £5,000 grants have been awarded in year one of the three-year partnership:

The Albemarle Centre, Taunton

For over 40 years The Albemarle has supported vulnerable people in the community, including those experiencing learning disabilities, mental and physical health problems, homelessness, older people and isolation. The charity provides supported living through its residential one-bed self-contained properties and within the centre itself.

General Manager David Joslin explains: “With excellent and innovative design, recent improvements to The Albemarle means we provide a first-class community resource – alongside promoting collaboration. This benefits self-help/self-support groups, counselling services, learning and skills and return to work partners, health interventions, and interest groups, to name just a few.

“And with a footfall of over 2,500 a week, we’re also a community garden, a Warm Space, a Meeting Place Community Café and have the only fully functional Changing Places toilet locally.” 

The £5,000 Force for Good Fund grant is helping fund the charity’s core costs, continuing and strengthening this essential work.

North Taunton Partnership

North Taunton Partnership runs Priorswood Community Centre, which has been supporting some of the most vulnerable people in the community since 1998. They hold daily advice surgeries, social, fitness and educational groups, coffee mornings and youth activities.

The £5,000 grant will be used to continue a project that provides support to local people experiencing mental health problems, loneliness and isolation. The funding will also help continue their Menopause Support Group, and a range of wellbeing activities such as walking and healthy eating sessions, designed to help reduce isolation and improve mental health.

Centre manager Lesley Councill said: “At the centre, we’re here for all residents of north Taunton, young and old alike – we’re totally inclusive.

“We have all sorts of social and educational groups, and activities. Many people who visit the centre are elderly and live alone and this can then lead to mental health issues, which can be detrimental to their overall health and wellbeing. People come to our centre to see a friendly face.”  

Summerfield’s Force for Good Fund was launched in 2008. Since then Somerset Community Foundation have made 19 grants from the Fund worth over £30,000 to small local charities in and around Taunton. 

Any community group or charitable organisation wishing to apply for funding should visit the SCF website where they can find guidance on how to make an application:

Somerset Community Foundation is a grant-making 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. Through their grant-making 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 over £25 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.

Picture: Tim Walker, Chair at The Albemarle (2nd left), Fiona Foster, Philanthropy Manager at SCF (3rd left) and James Holyday, Managing Director at Summerfield Developments (right) with some visitors at The Albemarle Centre recently.

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