Local organisations who improve the lives of older people are being invited to apply to a new fund being launched by the St Monica Trust’s Community Impact Team.
The Continuation Fund will award funding up to a maximum of £20k to organisations who are already working to improve the lives of individuals aged 55+.
The aim of the Continuation Fund is to support organisations within Bristol, South Gloucestershire, BANES and North Somerset to continue doing the good work that they already do, rather than funding brand new projects.
The St Monica Trust’s Director of Community Impact, Adam Rees, said: “From listening to our partners in the region, it’s getting increasingly hard for them to find funding for existing work, even though there is a clear positive impact on the people and communities that are being helped.
“We feel it’s essential that support is available to projects already making a difference and not just to new projects.
“Launching the Continuation Fund is our way of acknowledging all the good things that are happening in the region and we want to support them to continue their work.”
An organisation that has already benefitted from the Trust’s approach of funding existing programmes is the West of England Rural Network’s (WERN) Rural Links project.
Following the death of her husband, Margaret found that being stuck at home without transport, made her feel isolated.
It was at this point that Margaret contacted Rural Links and asked them to help her attend their Wellness Wednesdays sessions.
Rural Links helps reduce isolation for older people who live in rural communities. It does this by providing community transport and putting on a range of activities in North East Somerset for people like Margaret to attend.
Driven by one of WERN’s volunteer drivers, Margaret enjoys playing Scrabble with her new friends and often sits in on one of the afternoon workshops.
Margaret said, “It’s lovely to be out and about meeting new people, watching the seasons change and just seeing the outside world again”.
After having a successful pilot scheme funded by the St Monica Trust, WERN received continuation funding for their Rural Links project for an additional three years.
WERN’s Village Agent Project Manager, Denise Perrin said: “It's refreshing to work with funders like the St Monica Trust who acknowledge that community-based projects need to have space to organically develop and prosper.
“This nurturing approach accepts that people and communities evolve as the positive impacts of your work gains momentum.
“In our pilot year, the local Children's Centre was about to be taken over and we had a week in which to seal a deal to secure a whole day each week for our soul use.
“Two years later we welcome between 30 and 50 older people each week and more than 70 for larger events.
“Wellness Wednesdays provides a safe space to drop in or stay longer, share a simple lunch and meet new friends.
“It's not just companionship. It's being part of something that brings a new lease of life from the inside out.
“One lady told me "Here true friendships are made" and that thought continues to guide us all the way.”
Since the charity was founded in 1920, the St Monica Trust has always supported individuals outside of its retirement villages.
Adam said: “The St Monica Trust has always been committed to improving the lives of all older people across the region and the Community Impact Team works with organisations, community groups and individuals to achieve this.
“In recent years we have provided funds to organisations who deliver vital services for older people.
“Funding has ranged from community development and physical activity projects, to benefits and debt advice services.”
The Community Impact Team are keen to hear from local organisations and there is potential for extending funding for a further 12 or 24 months following the first year of continuation funding.
Organisations can apply by for the continuation fund by downloading an application form and sending the completed application forms to the St Monica Trust by midday on Friday 25th October.
For more information regarding the Continuation Fund, email Angelina Shoemake, Community Giving Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.