The Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Foundation (HIWCF) has provided a boost to 23 community groups and voluntary organisations, helping disadvantaged and vulnerable people across the Portsmouth area.

In the latest round of funding from the Portsmouth City Community Fund and the Montagu Neville Durnford & St Leo Cawthan Fund, grants totalling £68,000 are supporting a range of community projects and services to help people in areas including mental health, disability, isolation, loneliness and wellbeing.

A grant to Wetwheels Solent is helping to deliver barrier-free boating trips for Portsmouth residents living with dementia. The experience provides a multi-sensory, stimulating adventure, giving everyone on board the opportunity to take the helm and play an active role.

Geoff Holt MBE, Director of Wetwheels Solent commented: We are very proud to operate Wetwheels Solent in Portsmouth and provide the opportunity for people to see our historic harbour and beautiful coastal waters, who would otherwise be excluded from doing so. We could not do this without support and I would like to express my personal thanks to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation for enabling us to provide these experiences to people living with dementia in Portsmouth.”

Honeypot Children’s Charity provides respite breaks and ongoing outreach support for young carers. The Covid-19 pandemic has led to many young carers taking on even more responsibilities at home, as without their help, many vulnerable parents and siblings simply could not stay at home with their families.

Viv Carter, Community Engagement Manager, Honeypot Children’s Charity added: “Young carers are real superheroes, yet their work is often not acknowledged and many live in extreme isolation, faced with financial pressures and heightened anxiety. This grant will provide young carers age 5-12 in the Portsmouth City area with our Wrap-Round service, including a three day/two night respite break at Honeypot House in the New Forest, and online activity sessions. All our services aim to build young carers’ confidence and self-esteem and give them a chance to have fun being a child, taking a break from their taxing responsibilities at home.”

New charity Spark Community Space was founded last year by Becki Simmonds, who was inspired to set up the group after life-changing brain surgery. It all began with a Zoom coffee morning during lockdown, to provide a safe space for people to help spark themselves back into life. The group is now setting up a community shop to support people vulnerable to loneliness in the Southsea area and they are using their grant for refurbishment, including tills, uniforms and signage. The project will provide people with volunteering skills, access to training and enable a regained sense of self-esteem and belonging.

Becki Simmonds, Founder of Spark Community Space added: “We are now open and serving the community inside Sherlock’s Bar Southsea, and wow, what an impact we are making! Thanks to our grant from HIWCF we can provide a safe haven for those who are struggling, isolated, lonely and feel like they’ve got so much to give but nowhere to give it.”

Kate Shurety, Interim Chief Executive at HIWCF said “Our 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. We are committed to helping disadvantaged people across our communities and we are keen to talk to local businesses, families and individuals who would like to join with us to support the work of the Community Foundation as we help our local charitable sector to recover from the social issues exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Organisations receiving a grant:

Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation
Bivol Trust
Brendoncare Clubs
Connors Toy Libraries
Girls’ Network
Headway Portsmouth and South East Hampshire
Honeypot Children’s Charity
John Pounds Community Trust
MHA Communities Portsmouth & Havant
Nature Therapy CIC
North End Playscheme
Parenting Network C.I.C.
Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association (Footprints)
Portsmouth Hospital Broadcasting Association
Portsmouth Sail Training Trust
Society of St James
Spark Community Space
Spirit In Sport
St Alban’s Church Copnor
Wetwheels CIC
Wimbledon Park Patch
Youth Options