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Community

Wolverhampton Rotarians provide financial help to struggling charities and community groups

Wolverhampton Rotarians provide financial help to struggling charities and community groups

With many charities struggling during the pandemic, Wolverhampton Rotary was inundated when it launched an awards scheme earlier this year.

In December, evidence of the increasing difficulties of small charities and other community groups to raise funds for their work, prompted Wolverhampton Rotary 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, Wolverhampton Rotary and the Trustees announced in January the establishment of a £10,000 fund from which grants of up to £750 would be made 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.

Evidence of the increasing difficulties of small charities and other community groups to raise funds for their work, prompted Wolverhampton Rotary and the trustees of The James Beattie Charitable Trust to come together to address the problem.

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.

Wolverhampton Rotary President Brian Bailey revealed that 28 applications were received.

He said: “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.

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 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.”

Some applications were unsuccessful, and others had to be scaled back as £11,261 was given to 18 organisations.

They included the community group, the Goldthorn Hill Pumping Station Allotment Society, which has been given two years by Wolverhampton City Council to reclaim land for use as a community allotment.

If the group achieve their goal, the council has given a commitment to grant a 25-year lease.

We certainly did not anticipate so many applications, totalling almost twice the sum which was available.”

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.

Another recipient was Friends of Di’s Kitchen. This 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 received 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, plus the donated produce, each meal can be prepared at a cost of between 75 pence to 90 pence. A grant of £750 will help sustain this important community service.