Trust commits £1.2 million to help disadvantaged older people
St Monica Trust is increasing its Community Fund to £1.2 million a year to help improve the lives of disadvantaged older people.
The announcement was made at the Trust’s AGM on Wednesday 29 June as part of an ambitious five year plan for Bristol based charity.
The Trust’s Community Fund currently awards up to £500,000 annually to individuals, families and organisations across the region.
Over the next five years the Trust intends to increase the amount it awards to £1.2 million per year.
Chief Executive of the St Monica Trust, David Williams said: "The money will be awarded to groups working with disadvantaged older people in Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset."
The Community Fund will be used to tackle a number of different issues that affect the lives of older people in the region, such as reducing social isolation and energising the communities in which they live.
“Our aim is to create sustainable solutions to the issues that matter to older people, which means that the gifts and grants will go directly to those who will benefit from it most.”
Guys & Dolls
One of the organisations which is supported through the Community Fund are Guys & Dolls, a weekly group which runs activities for older people in Cadbury Heath and the surrounding area.
Guys & Dolls has between 20 and 30 regular members and meets between 11.00am and 3.00pm every Wednesday at Cadbury Heath Hall.
The group offers a mixture of activities, exercise, refreshments and hot food and provides isolated older people with the opportunity to socialise and make new friends.
When their funding ran out, the group faced the prospect of closing its doors forever.
Guys & Dolls Co-ordinator, Sam Fisher said: “We’d had pockets of funding since we opened which got less and less each year, until we realised that we couldn’t afford to run the group anymore.”
“The whole group would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to everyone at the St Monica Trust for their very generous donation.“Guys & Dolls is a lifeline for many vulnerable people who have nowhere else to goand we just couldn’t imagine Wednesdays without it.”
Key note address
As part of a key note address to the health and social care sector, the St Monica Trust also announced:
- The establishment of a Health and Social Care Learning and Research Academy in conjunction with UWE.
- Creating a ‘smart’ house to develop technologies that will benefit the lives of older people.
- Establishing a South West care conference for health, social care and housing as a platform to share learning and best practice.
David Williams said: “Establishing a learning and research academy, a care conference and developing innovative technology is all about the Trust working together in partnership with other organisations to make improvements in the provision of care for older people across the whole sector.”
“The Trust has gained national recognition for the quality of our training programmes. In sharing our expertise through the learning and research academy, we want to show how innovative and exciting it can be to work with older people and create a workforce that will provide the care for future generations.”
Executive Director of the National Care Forum, Vic Rayner, who was a guest speaker at the Trust’s AGM said: “As we move into a period of political uncertainty, it is absolutely critical that organisations such as the St Monica Trust show strong leadership in the health and social care sector.
“It is for this reason that I am therefore delighted to have joined the St Monica Trust as they celebrate their AGM and consider their exciting plans for the future”
The Chocolate Quarter
The St Monica Trust runs four retirement communities – Cote Lane and Westbury Fields in Westbury-on-Trym, Monica Wills House in Bedminster and Sandford Station in North Somerset.
The Trust’s fifth retirement community, The Chocolate Quarter is currently being developed at the former Somerdale factory in Keynsham and will open in summer 2017.