Freebridge Community Fund opens for twelfth year

2022-06-23

Freebridge Community Housing is excited to announce that for the twelfth year running they are now welcoming grant applications to their Community Fund.

 The annual fund, which opened on Monday 13th June, provides a total of £5000 each year giving local groups the opportunity to apply for grants of up to £1000 to support community and voluntary activities that meet the needs of the community within West Norfolk.

Applications are welcome from groups whose aims include:

  • Promoting health and wellbeing
  • Tackling disadvantage
  • Supporting local solutions to local needs
  • Promoting community cohesion
  •  Developing sustainable and supportive communities, and
  • Improving the environment

Freebridge Chief Executive Anita Jones said: “We know that the increase in the cost of living over the last few months has affected the ability of many charities and community groups to raise funds to support the vital work that they carry out. And this has happened at the very point when these groups - who provide activities, opportunities, and support to others - are needed more than ever.

“At Freebridge we want to make sure that the inspiring people who support our tenants and the wider community in all sorts of different ways can continue making the massive difference they do.

“Over the years we have provided financial support to local communities across West Norfolk helping improve residents’ quality of life through the injection of thousands of pounds into local projects and good causes through the Freebridge Community Fund.

“Our vision at Freebridge is to support current and future generations so that the people and communities of West Norfolk can thrive, with one of the objectives in our current strategy being to 'build on our wider community impact through increased investment in wellbeing, community support and green spaces' and it's clear that the projects we have supported through the Fund are helping to do just that.”

The groups and projects that successfully received funding from the Freebridge Community Fund last year were:

The Big Heart & Soul Choir, who received funding towards re-starting their singing groups that closed because of the pandemic.

The Downham Dementia Support Association, who received funding towards re-opening their Dementia Café later this year, which helps support those diagnosed with the condition and their caregivers.

Family Action, who received funding towards continuing to provide therapeutic gardening and horticultural sessions for people experiencing poverty, disadvantage, and social isolation.

4th All Saints King's Lynn Brownies, who received funding towards new equipment to support some of the activities they have planned.

The Pandora Project, who received funding towards supporting some of the activities within their 'Open the Box' recovery programme, which helps women and children in West Norfolk affected by domestic abuse.

West Norfolk Riding for the Disabled Association, who received funding towards supporting their attempts to diversify the services they offer by adding further activities to those they already provide.

Steel Bones, who received funding towards recruiting and training new volunteers in the area to help build a community to support amputee families live life to the full.

West Norfolk Carers, who received funding towards putting on some extra sports sessions for some of the young carers they work with who have faced additional pressure and extra responsibilities caring for family members during the pandemic.

Castle Acre Coronation Bowls Club, who received funding towards upgrading their toilet facilities, including a new disabled WC, at their community bowls club that's been running since the 1950s.

West Walton Village Hall, who received funding towards supporting the set-up of a computer club for older people.

The allocation of the money available is decided by a panel made up of Freebridge employees and members of their Tenant Panel.

One of the groups that received support from the fund last year was the 4th All Saints King's Lynn Brownies, and we spoke to them about how they’d used the funding they received:

“The sports equipment we obtained with the funding allowed us to run a fantastic Platinum Jubilee Community Games event leading to a special badge, it has also helped with building construction challenges! The craft items created specially designed tea lights for Mother’s Day using vinyl cut using a machine that read and cut the girl’s drawings so that they could be transferred onto glass candle holders. They also made boxes for them to go in to keep the surprise – one Brownie’s father was overseas with the RAF, and she didn’t know how she was going to get a present for her mum, she was so grateful for this activity.”

“The girls have undoubtedly suffered through the pandemic and their parents have really appreciated the work and activities we have provided to keep one thing constant and familiar for them. The parents were amazed at just how many resources we were able to purchase with the funds Freebridge provided, we are all very grateful as this has had such a positive impact on the unit and will continue to do so for many years to come.”

Norfolk Community Foundation manages the fund on Freebridge’s behalf. Any community or voluntary group wishing to apply or wanting to find out more about the Freebridge Community Fund can visit: www.norfolkfoundation.com/funding-support/grants/groups/freebridge-community-housing-fund, telephone 01603 623958, or email jomaddocks@norfolkfoundation.com.

The closing date for applications is Friday 22nd July 2021.

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