What type of projects do we support?
Our key focus is to raise funds to support faith-linked projects and groups within the area of the Diocese of Guildford; projects that address needs at a local level and are committed to their local communities. Here are a few examples of projects we have recently been able to help, but for the latest news please visit the BGF Facebook page.
Supporting vulnerable families in Mole Valley
A £3,500 grant has been made to support the Children’s Centre run by Bookham Baptist Church, which supports local families, particularly those from vulnerable backgrounds, and aims to combat social isolation, and provide access and signposting to other services. The Centre provides a parent, carer and toddler group and a Rhyme Time session, as well as parenting and first aid courses. Rachel Wedd, the Centre Coordinator comments: “We are very grateful for this grant which will be used to help pay for a family support worker to come alongside families facing challenges. Research shows that Bookham is an area of priority need for children’s services and parents often have difficulty finding employment, so it is vital that we maintain and develop this service.”
Funding a community clear-up
A £2,000 grant has helped fund this year’s Ready 4 Action project, providing practical help to individuals and families in need in the Stoke, Bushy Hill, Park Barn and Westborough areas of Guildford, who for a variety of reasons are unable to help themselves. Run by the Matrix Trust, a Guildford-based youth work charity with a Christian ethos, Ready 4 Action took place over the May bank holiday weekend. 140 volunteers, nearly half of whom were under 18, gave up their weekend to help clear overgrown gardens, remove fly-tipped rubbish and clear community areas. The team completed 35 different projects and removed 15 tons of waste. A single mum of four commented: “The work they have done is amazing, we have so much more light in the garden now, the kids will enjoy playing in it.”
Helping vulnerable families in Farnham
A £6,000 grant has been made towards the cost of a community outreach worker to help vulnerable families on the Chantrys Estate, an area of deprivation in Farnham. Historically, a lack of community provision on the estate, particularly for children and young people, has encouraged anti-social behaviour. The funding will enable vital activities to continue and be extended including the Saturday Kidz Klub for children 5-10 years old, which has an average attendance of 65 children, Chattabox for parents and toddlers which attracts about 45 per week and a weekly youth group which attracts an average 45 teenagers. Sean Gubb, senior pastor of Jubilee Church comments: “It is exciting to see churches across Farnham engaging with the needs of the community in so many positive ways.”
Helping children struggling at school in Elmbridge
An after-school club providing support for young people in Elmbridge who are failing at school because of anxiety or mental health issues is being launched next month thanks to a £5,000 grant from the BGF. Elevate Life is a new initiative of the Refresh Church Trust in East Molesey. The club will provide activities which build children’s resilience and social skills such as board-game design, gamification (the application of typical elements of game playing), mindfulness, talking therapy and sport. It will also help them with coping strategies and study skills. The scheme is supported by a member of the Refresh Church who is a GP and mental health adviser and an 11+ tutoring and educational business. Anita Hill, the initiator of the Elevate Life project says: “I’m very grateful to BGF for help to get this scheme off the ground. There is a huge need out there which schools are just not equipped to deal with.”
St Saviour's Families Support Group
The work of the Special Families Support Group attached to St Saviour’s Church in Guildford is being supported by a £600 grant from the Bishop of Guildford’s Foundation. The Group works with about 40 families in the Guildford area who have a child or children with a disability or special needs. It provides a network for parents to build friendships and access mutual support and advice, including information about local agencies and services, runs a monthly coffee morning and organises outings for families during school holidays. Ongoing practical support, listening and care are also offered. Jeanne Kalorkoti, who runs the Group comments: “The families we support have children with a wide range of disabilities. Our coffee mornings feature speakers who can offer advice and information, but just as important, parents meet others coping with similar family circumstances.”
Community Bridge in Ewell & Epsom
A £9,800 grant has been made to support a new project for foodbank customers in Epsom andEwell who have complex ongoing issues. Jonathan Lees, who manages the foodbank for Churches Together says “We find that food poverty is often just the tip of the iceberg, and unless we can help clients address other problems, it is very difficult for many to improve their situation and move on. This grant from The Bishop of Guildford’s Foundation, will enable us to employ a part-time paid co-ordinator and worker, which is key to getting this ambitious project off the ground.
Cellar Café, Godalming
The Foundation has provided £3,600 towards the core costs of running The Cellar Café in Godalming. This is an arm of the Warehouse Christian Trust and its principle objective is to provide a secure, affordable and friendly place for disadvantaged and vulnerable people in the community to meet and discuss problems amongst themselves and with café staff and volunteers who can also offer practical support. A free meal is available to any who come in need, and an art group, run in partnership with the Watts Gallery, provides the opportunity for people to find fulfilment and friendship, together with a sense of purpose. Jacky Beale, a trustee of The Warehouse Christian Trust said: “It’s not obvious in a town like Godalming, but two wards have the highest level of overall deprivation in the Borough of Waverley and the highest risk and incidence of mental health issues in Surrey. We are very grateful for this continued support which will help us to cope with the increasing needs of our customers.”
Mental health initiative in Cove
A pioneering initiative by two church members in Cove, Farnborough is being supported with a grant of £2,000. ‘Open Door’ started as the vision of Sally Brett, a community worker and Sue Davis, a pastoral assistant at St John’s Church, Cove, to help those isolated by mental health difficulties, loneliness or struggling to cope with life for whatever reason. It provides a drop-in facility on the first three Wednesday evenings of each month and offers a listening ear, a place to make friends, signposting to other services and a home-cooked meal. “It has been a very challenging and rewarding experience,” says Sue. “Our first year has proved that the need is there and we feel that we are making a real difference to people’s lives. We are immensely grateful to BGF for the grant which will help with the costs of running the group – including food, equipment and transport for trips out.”
Coffee and cake at East Molesey
St Mary’s Church, East Molesey has received a grant of £3,000 to help support the growth of their successful community café. This offers hot and cold drinks and home-baked snacks at affordable prices, with a soft play area for the under-fives on Wednesdays and Thursdays. On Fridays there is a quieter environment for those without young children. The café regularly attracts 50-60 parents and 40-50 children a day and its opening hours have now been extended. The Revd Richard Lloyd, vicar of St Mary’s, said: “Our café is both a blessing to the community and an opportunity to reach out to those who do not currently come to church.” The surplus from the sale of food and drinks is paying off the cost of buying the soft-play equipment, and the BGF grant will help pay the salary of the part-time manager until this has been achieved.”
Forest estate community hub
BGF has provided £2,000 to help The Journey, River Church in Englefield Green to continue to run a community hub for people living on the nearby Forest Estate. Starting with a family drop-in centre and mental health support network, activities have now been expanded and include an all-age café garden project where people grow plants and vegetables to take home or use in the hub’s cooking club, a monthly, free, community lunch which attracts around 6o people and a sports and crafts club for children aged 7-12. Denise Brannan, manager of the hub commented: “This is proving such a worthwhile project. The police tell us that crime and anti-social behaviour on the estate is down and I like to think that we have played a part in that. We have also just heard that we’ve been nominated for a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, which is very exciting as we await the results.”
Youth arts project
Following the success of phase one of a youth arts project at All Saints’, Weston last year, the Bishop of Guildford’s Foundation has agreed to provide £500-worth of funding towards a further scheme. The project resulted from the unexpected gift of an Apple Mac and video-editing software which were used to give young people the opportunity to learn photography and video skills, while at the same time fulfilling a worthwhile social purpose. About 40 young people were involved in phase one in which they interviewed other young people about their experience of growing up in Elmbridge, and also interviewed community leaders including the local MP, a headteacher, a vet and Bishop Andrew. 90 people attended a gala showing of the video in All Saints’ and all agreed the project had been a great success. The Revd Phillip Johnson, vicar of All Saints’, comments: “Our parish has areas of significant social need and there is little for those who are not interested in something else. This project is so valuable because it helps fill that gap, so I’m delighted that the Foundation is supporting this scheme again.”
A £1,000 grant is helping with the running costs of Camberley Besom which provides supportfor individuals and families who find themselves in a desperate situation and are in emergency accommodation. Many of these need help with basics such as food and starter packs of bedding, towels and kitchen equipment. “There are many reasons why people need support,” says Mary Rigby, chair of Camberley Besom . “Family breakdown and bereavement are two of the most frequent causes, but others include those who have suffered domestic abuse, are homeless or have just been released from prison. We are very appreciative of this further grant from the Bishop of Guildford’s Foundation.The first grant we received five years ago was crucial – Camberley Besom wouldn’t be here today without it and this latest grant will help support us for a further year.”
Jolly John’s Breakfast Club
Bishop Andrew visited the breakfast club at St John's CofE Primary School in Dorking recently. The Club was started by the school four years ago, with support from the Bishop of Guildford's Foundation, to provide a good healthy breakfast for those children who want it and to help those parents who find themselves under pressure in the morning. The club has had a significant positive impact on those children using the club in terms of attendance, punctuality, concentration and behaviour in class.