HIWCF Grants Offer a ‘Better Start’ For Hampshire Children Living In Poverty

The first round of grant funding from the new ‘Better Start Fund’ helping to tackle child poverty has now been awarded by Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Foundation (HIWCF).  Twelve local community and voluntary groups have shared in the grant boost of £51,000 for their innovative projects working to reduce the impact of poverty for younger people across Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton.

John Pounds Community Trust has received a grant of £4,980 to provide free nutritious breakfasts and lunches at their ‘Go Active’ camps during the school holidays for 120 children living in Portsea. The grant will also provide fun, inclusive and creative activities for children aged 5-12 years old, which will help to alleviate some of the pressure on low-income families during the school holidays.

Matt Mason, Centre Director at John Pounds Community Trust commented “The Go Active Camps will be delivered from the John Pounds Centre in the heart of the Charles Dickens Ward in Portsea, in partnership with FoodCycle Portsmouth. The camps will support local children that generally are unable to afford out of school activities and children receiving free school dinners. Thanks to this grant from HIWCF, we are able to cover six weeks of hall hire and coaching costs, with 20 young people attending each day.” 

Monty’s Community Hub on the edge of Southampton has received a grant of £5,000 to provide safe spaces for young people up to the age of 16 to attend a homework club in a quiet and supportive environment, together with youth clubs to enable young people to socialise, make new friends, develop life skills and build self-esteem and confidence. Monty’s is aiming to support over 50 young people from the local community through their activities over the next year, which also include trips including bike rides and camping, to help with communication and team building skills.

Jon Oliver, Chair of Trustees at Monty’s Community Hub commented “Some young people in our community struggle with chaotic family lifestyles and low levels of education, running the risk of poor relationships and criminal involvement. Our youth work invites young people to explore new activities and skills, raising their aspirations and enabling them to develop positive relationships, resilience and social and emotional skills to equip them for life’s challenges. We are delighted that this grant from HIWCF will help us to support the needs of young people in our community.”

Southampton Sight has received a grant of £5,000 to develop its children and youth services. Sighted children learn by watching others, but children with visual impairment need support to develop ordinary everyday skills like sharing, coordination and social behaviours, and the opportunity to learn these skills will be provided in a safe and secure environment. A family support group will also provide a forum for peers to share, talk, campaign and lobby, and receive expert advice on the issues affecting their children.

Jackie Powers, Chief Executive at Southampton Sight commented “It is estimated that 4 children per day are diagnosed with sight loss in England and Wales. A lack of support for parents, fewer opportunities to learn vital life skills and limited access to positive social experiences can leave young people at a serious disadvantage. This grant means that we can support 20 local children and young people living with sight loss over the next year, with our activities divided into age appropriate groups to ensure maximum impact, where young people can make new friends and achieve individual goals based on their own interests”.

Grant Cornwell MBE, Chief Executive at HIWCF added “We are committed to tackling child poverty and are always looking for new ways to support households and families in financial hardship as we believe that children and young people should not have their life opportunities limited by poverty. These grants from the Better Start Fund enable us to support a range of truly vital projects run by deserving local charities and community groups, working extremely hard to make a fundamental difference to the lives of local families. We are calling out to local businesses and individuals to join with us and help us meet the ever growing needs in our local communities.”