VOLUNTEER groups and small charities in Swindon have been given a New Year’s boost through vital grants totaling over £130,000 from the Wiltshire Community Foundation.
Many of the Community Grants awarded by the charity, the Wiltshire-based county’s largest funder, are spread over three years, giving their recipients the security of knowing that community projects are guaranteed funding.
Recipients of the latest round of community grants include the Wiltshire Women’s Empowerment Program in Swindon, which has been awarded £5,000 a year for the next three years to provide training and support to minority women. .
The charity, which has offices and a stop at The Parade in Swindon, supports women from the Afro-Caribbean and Asian communities who want to find independence or a route out of poverty through education or who need help with problems. mental health, domestic abuse. or isolation.
President Nokuthula Ndebele said: “This grant will benefit women from disadvantaged communities, particularly from black and ethnic minorities, and their families.
“The services that will be provided to them have been designed to address their problems related to access to legal services, rights and benefits, quality of life, confidence, participation in the general community and health and well-being” .
The group teaches courses including sewing and arts and crafts for members and helps with information and applications for education and training and topics including health and housing. It also works alongside other Swindon groups and bodies including Swindon Borough Council, Swindon Live Well Hub, VAS, The Harbor Project, food banks, MIND and Swindon Sister’s Alliance.
Uplands Enterprise Trust has received £5,000 for a multi-sensory projection system. The trust, based at Upper Shaw Ridge Farm, provides life and work skills to youth and adults with special educational needs.
Caroline Dent, fundraising coordinator, said the projector will help youth with multiple and complex disabilities improve their communication, interaction and decision-making skills.
“We hope to open up a new inclusive sensory world to our user group,” he said.
“Projection can be floor-based for those with limited abilities and can appear to be swimming in the sea, on a beach, city or outside space, allowing them to move freely and experience the world around them. Many cannot physically hold a paintbrush, but with the slightest tactile movement they can ‘paint’ a picture that will allow them to become aware of conscious movements by repeating behavioral patterns and improving hand-eye coordination.”
Wiltshire and Swindon Credit Union was awarded £5,000 to upgrade its IT to enable it to expand its service throughout the county.
Today, it offers low-cost loans to help prevent people in debt from being lured into loan sharks or payday loans.
Currently, it is limited to working with families receiving Child Benefit, but new technology will allow it to work with those receiving Universal Credit. It also plans to launch its own debit card and service to prevent the eviction of tenants behind on rent.
Wiltshire Community Foundation Joint Executive Director Fiona Oliver said: “We are only able to provide these grants due to the generosity of our donors.
“They trust us to use their donations to make the biggest impact with the causes or places that matter most to them.
“We know that the brilliant groups we fund will deliver on that and use the grants to make real improvements in the lives of the local people who depend on them.”
The deadline for applications for the next round of community grants, to be awarded in March, is January 28. More details on eligibility and how to apply at wiltshirecf.org.uk