Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Foundation (HIWCF) has awarded a new round of grant funding of over £28,000, to support the charitable projects of twelve local community and voluntary groups working in the Portsmouth area. The funds will benefit those less fortunate in the local community who are struggling to cope with issues including mental health, disability, isolation and loneliness.

 ‘Spirit In Sport’ is one of the groups benefiting from a grant of £2,763 through the Montagu Neville Durnford & St Leo Cawthan Fund. The grant will enable the Men’s Shed project to increase resources and support a higher number of retired men, providing them with the tools and facilities to develop woodwork projects, either individually or as a group.

Andy Bullock, Projects Coordinator at Spirit In Sport said “We provide a friendly and welcoming space for our users to build, repair and maintain projects; including taking requests from the local community ranging from small private projects to furnishing of larger community spaces. This grant from HIWCF enables us to increase our running capacity to five days per week meaning we will be able to support up to 30 members. The group provides an opportunity for users to get together to socialise and share technical skills and knowledge, helping to reduce feelings of isolation and developing a sense of pride, purpose and camaraderie amongst the group.”

Connor Toy Libraries has received a grant of £3,000 from the Portsmouth City Community Fund. The grant will help to replenish the stock of toys and resources across 12 community toy libraries in Portsmouth, which provide a valuable resource for those families with limited means. The new toys, craft and educational equipment will be aimed at supporting children under the age of five. Toys are selected to help with the child’s development and the library provides specialist toys for those who are physically disabled or who have special needs.

Connor Toy Libraries (Northern Parade Toy Library Session)

Karen Drayton, Manager at Connors Toy Libraries said “For children living in poverty or living in temporary accommodation, being able to borrow the toys and resources that their peers have enables them to interact on an equal footing, playing, learning, gaining confidence, speech and language skills and forming relationships. This helps to support the children as they move through from toy library, to nursery to school and onwards, thus enhancing their life opportunities.”

Grant Cornwell MBE, Chief Executive at HIWCF said “These grant programmes enable us to support a range of truly vital projects run by deserving local charities and community groups, which are able to specifically meet the needs of vulnerable local people. HIWCF is committed to helping disadvantaged people living in Portsmouth communities and we are keen to talk to local businesses and individuals who would like to join with us to support the work of the Community Foundation.”