VOLUNTEER groups and small charities in Swindon have received a New Year’s boost with vital grants totaling over Â£130,000 from the Wiltshire Community Foundation.
Many community grants awarded by the charity, the Wiltshire-based county’s largest funder, are staggered over three years, giving their recipients the security of knowing that community projects have guaranteed funding.
Among the recipients of the latest round of community grants is the Wiltshire Women’s Empowerment Scheme in Swindon, which has received Â£5,000 a year for the next three years to run training courses and support for minority women ethnic.
The charity, which has offices and a drop-in center at The Parade in Swindon, supports women from the Afro-Caribbean and Asian communities who wish to find independence or escape poverty through education or who need help with mental health issues, domestic violence or isolation.
President Nokuthula Ndebele said, âThis grant will benefit women from disadvantaged communities, especially black and ethnic minorities, and their families.
“The services that will be provided to them have been designed to address their issues related to access to statutory services, rights and privileges, quality of life, trust, participation in the wider community, health and well-being.”
The group organizes sewing and craft classes for members and helps with information and requests for education and training and issues such as health and housing. It also works alongside other groups and organizations in Swindon including Swindon Borough Council, Swindon Live Well Hub, VAS, The Harbor Project, Food Banks, MIND and Swindon Sister’s Alliance.
Uplands Enterprise Trust has been awarded Â£5,000 for a multi-sensory projection system. The trust, based at Upper Shaw Ridge Farm, provides life and work skills to young people and adults with special educational needs.
Fundraising coordinator Caroline Dent said the projector will help young people with multiple and complex disabilities improve their communication, interaction and decision-making skills.
âWe hope to open up a new inclusive sensory world to our user group,â she said.
âThe projection can be ground-based for people with limited abilities and they can appear to be swimming in the sea, on a beach, in a city or in outer space, allowing them to move freely and discover the world around them. Many cannot physically hold a paintbrush, but the slightest tactile movement allows them to “paint” an image which will allow them to become aware of conscious movements when rehearsing behaviors and improve hand-eye coordination. Â»
Wiltshire and Swindon Credit Union has received Â£5,000 to upgrade its IT to enable it to extend its service across the county.
Currently, it offers low-cost loans to help prevent people in debt from being lured into payday loans or loan sharks.
At present, it is limited to working with families receiving Child Benefit, but new technology will allow it to work with those receiving Universal Credit. She also plans to launch her own debit card and a service to avoid eviction for tenants who are behind on rent.
Fiona Oliver, Co-Chief Executive of the Wiltshire Community Foundation, said: âWe are only able to provide these grants because of the generosity of our donors.
âThey trust us to use their donations to have the greatest impact on the causes or places that matter most to them.
“We know the brilliant groups we fund will get there 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, which will be awarded in March, is January 28. More details on eligibility and how to apply at wiltshirecf.org.uk