In December, evidence of the increasing difficulties of small charities and other community groups to raise funds for their work, prompted the Rotary Club and the Trustees of The James Beattie Charitable Trust to come together to address the problem. Not only had Covid 19 restrictions severely inhibited fund-raising, but the impact of the pandemic on employment and social contact had created even greater needs to be addressed.
Against this back drop, the Club and the Trustees announced in January the establishment of a £10,000 fund from which grants of up to £750 would be made in order to provide financial help for local groups to help sustain the work which has assumed such a vital place in community life in the city.
Details of the scheme were distributed to voluntary, community and social enterprise groups, working across the city bring help to people of all ages and with diverse needs. Applications were lodged over a period of six weeks ending on 10th March, from a total twenty eight organisations.
Club President Brian Bailey takes up the story “When we launched the Scheme we had no idea what the response might be. In the event the range of applications covered Food Banks and meal services, schemes to engage and occupy young people, projects providing support to combat disability, groups targeted at the special needs of women, and others supporting the community at large.
We certainly did not anticipate so many applications, totalling almost twice the sum which was available. In consequence we found ourselves faced with an evaluation process far greater than we were prepared for. This was not only daunting, but also humbling in its exposure of the extent of the need to be addressed, and heartening to be given an insight in to what is being done, every day, by so many people, to fill those needs.
Inevitably, the response to scheme has meant that some applications have been unsuccessful, while others have had to be scaled back. In all grants totalling £11,261 have been made to 18 organisations”
The following gives an insight into just two of the award-winning schemes.
Goldthorn Hill Pumping Station Allotment Society is a Community Group which has been given two years by the City Council to reclaim land for use as a community allotment.
If the group achieve their goal, then the Council has given a commitment to grant a 25 year lease.
After being closed for more than 20 years, the land had become overgrown and a site for fly tipping. The project is helping rehabilitate some members who have some form of illness or disability, while also benefiting families and the wider community.
The Society has been awarded a grant of £500 to be used to hire equipment to help clear the site.
Friends of Di’s Kitchen is a Community Group which prepares and delivers a nutritious three course meal every Thursday to those in need, within the City. Emergency food parcels are also provided and fresh produce receive d from a major supermarket is shared out.
Currently just over 400 people benefit each week from the service, including 63 families with 155 children.
With careful choice of food and shopping and the donated produce, each meal can be prepared at a cost of 75-90 pence
A grant of £750 will help sustain this important community service.