To date we have awarded grants to 32 Kent and Medway charities for projects supporting vulnerable people in the community. The charities we have funded all fall within our main funding priorities, meaning that they work with:

  • People who are elderly and isolated, particularly in rural areas
  • People who are homeless, have previously been homeless or are at increased risk of homelessness
  • People who are suffering the affects of deprivation including food and hygiene poverty
  • People with a long term health condition or disability

Below are some of the charities we have funded and the projects that our grants have supported:

Elderly and isolated.

Food Friends UK: The charity already supports 55 long standing ‘food friendships’ and the grant will help with expanding the initiative to meet the increased need, connecting up to 50 new beneficiaries with a Food Friends volunteer. In the 12 months post-grant, the charity aims to provide weekly meals, along with doorstep befriending to 100 vulnerable Whitstable residents.

Medway African & Caribbean Association: The charity supports senior citizens primarily from the African and Caribbean background by the provision of activities and delivery of nutritious, culturally appropriate meals. The grant will enable the Association to continue providing much needed support to tackle some of the health inequalities that exist within the community. It will mean meals can continue to be provided to those who need them, as well as developing activities and befriending to minimise the impact of isolation.

Medway Volunteer Centre: The Centre was awarded funding towards an Eliminating Loneliness Co-ordinator at their Medway Volunteer Centre. The Loneliness Co-ordinator will reach, promote and identify those in need and establish suitable volunteers to support clients with this important work. Loneliness and isolation amongst the vulnerable and elderly community has a huge impact, causing illness, anxiety, depression and mental and physical health problems. With this post many more people in the community can be reached and supported.

Boughton-Under-Blean Village Hall: The grant awarded will ensure that free events for the elderly residents of the village can be continued. All events are designed to alleviate isolation and loneliness, including a new weekly Mindfulness Movement, Relaxation and Meditation group. Studies have shown that mindfulness training for older adults helps those suffering with chronic pain conditions, and also is beneficial for those who have trouble sleeping. The funds will also help deliver further events, afternoon teas, a fish and chip lunch and an art and craft event.

Homelessness.

Time for the Homeless: The charity aims to use the grant awarded to provide soup kitchens 4 days a week in 5 different areas around Medway and Maidstone. They provide homeless and vulnerable people and families in these areas with hot, home cooked meals. The grant will also mean the charity can provide food hampers to the most vulnerable in these areas, many who are referred from other charities or organisations.

Fairways Accommodation Support Trust: The grant will expand the work of the Trust and enable them to combat the effects of poverty and deprivation by supporting an additional 30 homeless adults. The aim is to respond to the exacerbated challenges created by the pandemic by offering more intensive, one-on-one support in three key areas: employability, emotional health and wellbeing and life skills.

Second Chance Medway: The organisation provides crisis support to people in the community and offers advice on dealing with domestic violence, poor mental health, claiming benefits, improving debt & budgeting skills, applying for grants and also runs a Food Aid Project. The grant will be used to expand their existing successful support services.

Catching Lives: The charity provides services for the homeless, seven days a week to help homeless people stay safe, providing them with support and resources (such as tents, sleeping bags and mobile phones) The grant funding will contribute 25% towards the salary costs of two part-time Mental Health Outreach Specialists, who will provide emotional and practical support to homeless clients.

Combatting the effects of deprivation.

Making a Difference to Maidstone: Prior and during the COVID-19 pandemic, the charity have delivered food, clothing, toiletries and basic essentials every day for 6 days a week to people with poor mental health, struggling single parents, victims of domestic abuse and those on low income. In total across 2020, they gave out over 20,000 items direct to clients, or partner charities and community associations including the elderly and nursing homes. The funding awarded will help to continue to reach more of those acutely affected by deprivation especially post COVID-19.

The Whitstable Umbrella Community Centre: The grant will support the running costs of the Social Pantry – aimed at reducing food waste, food insecurity and social isolation. The project is currently supporting at least 150 people each week with food provision. In their twice weekly community shop, members can choose from fresh, ambient, tinned and snack goods – up to 20 items for £4. The project aims to decrease food insecurity and increase community engagement. Over 5 tonnes of food has been diverted from landfill since its opening in September 2020.

SATEDA: Through a range of services, SATEDA provides direct access to support, advocacy and advice for victims and survivors of domestic abuse. The charity will use the grant funding to develop a long term to solution to homelessness that occurs as a result of domestic abuse.

Friends for Families: This small charity works in the Sevenoaks area to help families facing financial hardship. They provide direct, practical assistance to people who have been identified by Children’s Services as needing help. The grant will go towards providing essential equipment, food and services to families living in poverty.

People with a long-term health condition or disability.

The Kent Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre: The grant awarded will go towards the direct costs of specialist physiotherapy-based activities for up to 150 people living with MS and other long-term conditions. Project activities will include physiotherapy, gym sessions, Pilates, hydrotherapy, aqua yoga and swimming sessions.

Hi Kent: The grant awarded will be used to set up a new Outreach Programme of Social Groups for older people living with a hearing loss, with the first aim of setting up six of these Groups spread throughout the county within the next three months. The social interaction of the group will benefit many people with hearing loss, with the added benefit of peer support from others who are in the same position and being able to swap stores and coping strategies, and form new friendships.

Headway Kent: The charity’s main aims are to promote understanding of all aspects of brain injury and provide information, support and services to survivors, their families and carers. The grant awarded will allow the charity to increase the hours of the Community Link Worker who supports people with acquired brain injury.

21 Together: The service exists to provide support for family members, carers, friends, and professionals supporting children and young people with Down’s syndrome. The grant awarded will go towards core funding to support the organisations future development, sustainability and general running costs.

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