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 BGCF Facebook page.
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 Communities Fund. 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 Epsom & Ewell
A £9,800 grant has been made to support a new project for foodbank customers in Epsom and Ewell 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 Communities Fund, 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 Communities Fund 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 BGCF 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 BGCF grant will help pay the salary of the part-time manager until this has been achieved.”
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 Communities Fund 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 Communities Fund is supporting this scheme again.”
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 Communities Fund, 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.