Several Winchester charities and community groups have been given a huge funding boost this month, with grants totalling £93,965 awarded to 6 local groups, distributed from Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Foundation (HIWCF).

Grants were awarded from the Including Communities Fund to support organisations working to improve the lives of people who are facing multiple levels of disadvantage, for example through poor mental health, illness or disability and to support organisations led by or working with people from disadvantaged groups. The grant funding awarded to charities and groups in Winchester was part of a larger round of funding which sees nearly £400,000 distributed to organisations across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Winchester Churches Nightshelter (pictued above), which provide accommodation and support services for homeless people in the city, was awarded a total of £45,000, over three years. Michèle Price, Chief Executive for the service said: “This grant will help us to recruit a much-needed fundraiser at a time when there is an increasing demand for our services as well as rising running costs. We hope to be able to better connect with existing and new supporters in the local community and grow support for our vital work with people experiencing homelessness.”

Blue Apple Theatre (pictured above) is a creative company that supports performers with learning disabilities to develop theatre, dance, singing and film productions from its base in Winchester. The not-for-profit was awarded £29,850 to develop a 3-year pilot of outreach activities. Daisy Robinson, Development Lead said: “Blue Apple uses the performing arts to empower people with learning disabilities. This funding enables us to expand the opportunities to access and participate in the arts by delivering sessions in more areas across Hampshire with a focus on areas of deprivation and cultural diversity.”

Olive Branch Counselling, a non-profit counselling organisation that provides services to those struggling with mental health and low incomes in Winchester and the surrounding area, was awarded £5,000 to help support 20 new clients. Sanga Burrough, Director and Trustee “We are absolutely thrilled that HIWCF has awarded Olive Branch Counselling Service this grant. It will make a huge difference in enabling us to provide the 1:1 counselling support to people living in Winchester. Over 60% of our beneficiaries have low to zero income. Many are struggling with poor physical and mental health, bereavement, loneliness, anxiety, poverty and other issues. Counselling will enable them to be listened to and develop strategies to help them cope and move forward with their lives.”

Jacqui Scott, CEO of HIWCF said: “HIWCF and our donors were particularly interested in funding activities that work to directly address inequality in our communities. We are delighted that this latest round of grants is distributed amongst groups which are working to improve multiple and complex challenges people face in their daily lives – and where people can experience real disadvantage – for example in physical and mental wellbeing, race and ethnicity, sexuality and gender issues, and physical and learning disabilities. Our partners and donors understand the importance of bringing communities together and the Including Communities Fund will go a long way to significantly impact the people whom these services work with directly.”

Other charities and community groups that were awarded grants include:

Helping Hooves UK, £4,190.00
Key Changes Music Therapy, £4,925.00
Munch CIC, £5,000.00