With a wide range of charities, voluntary groups and sports clubs in Stevenage and the surrounding villages, the Trust is pleased to offer funding for projects and equipment to ensure these organisations can continue to provide invaluable support to local residents from all walks of life.
With long waiting times and almost 50 women requiring their help, Herts Rape Crisis Centre needed to recruit and train additional volunteer support workers to provide much needed counselling to women who had experienced rape or sexual abuse. With a grant from Stevenage Community Trust, the centre was able to successfully attract new volunteers and reduce waiting times for women in need.
Thank you seems a rather inadequate word for the difference you have made to my life.
Herts Rape Crisis Centre client
After listening to their clients’ needs, Headway Hertfordshire wanted to utilise the skills, knowledge and experience of their clients in Stevenage to build a community peer support group called ‘Heads Together’. The group would meet fortnightly and be run by a brain injury survivor who had completed a year-long vocational rehabilitation programme. By building supportive relationships with their peers, adults with acquired brain injuries can resolve their problems, share solutions and improve their lives, and thanks to the funding from Stevenage Community Trust this became a reality for many brain injured adults and their carers.
Students at Marriotts School were delighted that their hard work and efforts paid off to win a place in the finals of the UK Rock Challenge competition in Portsmouth. Needing £5,000 to finance the trip, the school approached the Trust for assistance. Our grants committee were pleased to approve a £1,000 contribution towards costumes, staging, travel and accommodation.
Great Ashby Youth Club operates a drop-in club for 11-16 year olds each Friday evening. The group successfully applied for a grant of £350 to provide the youngsters, some from low income families, with the opportunity to enjoy activities they would not normally undertake. As well as midnight ice skating, the children also took part in the YAMA festival which aims to engage young people in a wide range of activities.
Without the support of the Stevenage Community Trust we wouldn’t be able to run the trips we arranged last year. The Trust’s grant process is straight forward and any queries are usually answered quickly. The Trust is a real asset to Stevenage!
Neil Williams, Great Ashby Youth Club
Each year we provide emergency aid for individuals and families in crisis, often assisting those in need within hours of receiving a request for help. Applications vary depending on the need but most are for essential items that many of us take for granted. Here’s Joanne’s* story which explains how a relatively small grant can make such a significant impact on a family’s life. * - Name changed to protect identity
Fleeing domestic violence from my husband of 22 years was a very traumatic stage of my life but looking back now, I am proud to have taken that first step to building a safer life for me and my three children. We had to leave the family home, cut all contact with friends and family and start a new life, readjusting to our new environment.
My eldest had to self-study for her GCSE’s whilst in refuge. It took a lot of determination and constant encouragement to getnher to stay focused and see her through the exams. My efforts paid off when it came to results day – she did brilliantly well with 1A*, 7A’s and 2B’s! It was on this day that I actually believed that I had done the right thing by my children.
Having left everything behind in the family home, I’ve had to save for things that I would need for the children when I finally move into my own accommodation, even the bare essentials like bedding, kitchen white goods and other personal belongings. It was indeed a challenge getting all these things sorted living onbenefits and with three school-going children.
At this point I must say that with the thoughtful and kind help of my support worker at the refuge and Stevenage Community Trust my life was made a little easier. Stevenage Community Trust provided me with a recycled washing machine, cooker, fridge freezer and curtains which took away a lot of my stress financially. They were also generous enough to give me a Christmas voucher for £100 which was most helpful at that time, especially for my children.
I am sure I am like many others who have been most fortunate to have organisations like the Stevenage Community Trust do so much for them, especially in times of need. My children and I are ever so grateful to all those who do such a grand job at Stevenage Community Trust, giving people the ‘hope’ that takes them the extra mile!
Following his diagnosis with terminal cancer, Mr A was unable to continue working and his wife had to reduce her hours to care for her husband. As both were self-employed this had a significant impact on their household income. Dealing with the effects of this devastating diagnosis were enough to cope with without having to worry about money to support their family.The Trust was asked to help with a grant to cover utility bills, due to the heating needing to be on for longer than usual, and also provide the family with some additional funding to help ease the financial strain.
Looking after two children, one with a brain injury and epilepsy, as well as suffering a long term medical condition herself, this young woman and her family were suffering severe financial hardship. The child’s condition meant he was regularly incontinent at night and was now sleeping with mum as his mattress was spoilt and infested with bed bugs. Unable to afford a washing machine or suitable bedding, the Trust ensured that a new bed, mattress, washing machine, waterproof protectors and bedding were purchased to help ease this family’s stressful situation.
To update you on the family that you gave a grant to for carpet. The little girl who was immobile and showing no desire to move off the duvet on the floor, started crawling within days of the carpet being laid!!
Thank you again for your kind support.
Donna Marsden, Family Worker, Hertford and Villages Children’s Centres
Providing essential funding to local sports clubs and elite athletes.
Lonsdale is a school for physically and neurologically impaired young people aged from 3 to 18 years and was recently appointed Wheelchair Sports Hub for Hertfordshire. Wanting to run a wheelchair dance programme and tennis course for their students and other local children with disabilities but unable to do so due to lack of funding, Stevenage Community Trust was delighted to agree a grant of £4,000 to purchase specialist wheelchairs, equipment and professional coaching to enable these activities to go ahead.
I would like to thank you on behalf of the students at Lonsdale School for your most generous donation of £4,000 towards the purchase of six sports wheelchairs and a five week course in wheelchair dance. The students had the most fantastic time in their dance lessons and loved performing to fellow students and families at our celebration afternoon. It was a real confidence boost to all those who took part. Students are now able to participate in a greater number of accessible sports to the best of their abilities – no extra bits on wheelchairs getting in the way! Your generosity has already had a big impact on our students and this will only increase as time goes on. Many thanks again.
Michelle Woolley, Wheelchair Sports Hub Coordinator, Lonsdale School
A grant of £2,000 provided Stevenage and North Herts Athletic Club with the balance of funds needed to purchase and install a high quality wireless timing system. As well as producing accurate photo-finish times for local athletes, the equipment is also available to local schools to encourage activity among children, and disabled athletes from the club and across the eastern region who previously had to travel large distances to venues with this specialist equipment.
The support given to Stevenage and North Herts Athletic club has allowed the club to provide photo finish for all our events and matches which has benefitted all our members including the wider community. The continued support offered to SNHAC by Stevenage Community Trust helps the club to be fully inclusive, continue to grow and provide excellent athletics opportunities for all sections of the community.
Stevenage and North Herts Athletic Club
14 year old cyclist, Lauren Higham, received sponsorship of £1,350 towards her new cyclocross bike and to help cover the costs of attending British Cycling competitions across the country; Wales, Scotland, Newcastle, Plymouth, Yorkshire and the Isle of Man to name a few. Competing across many disciplines including road racing, time trials, cyclocross, track events and mountain biking; we wish Lauren every success as she continues her journey on the Olympic pathway.
I would like to thank Stevenage Community Trust for helping me. The funding has enabled me to pay for the cyclocross bike I needed to compete in the national cyclocross series. It has also enabled me to enter all the national competitions in road, cyclocross and mountain bike which I would not have been able to do without your help. I have won my regional age category and my TT competitions. I came 3rd in the National Time trial and beat a club record for under 14 & under 16 held for over 10 years by Emma Trott.
Lauren Higham, cyclist
With a sharp increase in the under 14 squad from 12 to 30 children, many with complex needs, Stevenage Town Rugby Club were in desperate need of financial help to provide additional playing kits, rugby balls, training equipment and first aid provisions. A donation of £2,000 meant that the club was able to purchase these items and the children could continue to play the sport they love.
Without this grant I can truly say we would not be able to carry on with the hard work with the children in Stevenage playing rugby. We cannot thank you enough. I just want to thank you for your help, the application form was easy to fill out and I would be more than happy to advise others to apply to this amazing charity. Thank you so, so much!
Max Marchant, Stevenage Town Rugby Club
Working with over 40 schools across the town and surrounding villages, the Stevenage Sporting Futures (SSF) team provides a fully inclusive variety of sporting experiences for our young people; from festivals and competitions to support and training. Looking at ways to increase participation, the team received a grant from the Trust for £1,174 to purchase a portable fencing kit, pop lacrosse set and a supply of tennis balls. Thousands of children will benefit from this new equipment which will be available at SSF events and as a free resource for schools to utilise.
Many thanks to Stevenage Community Trust; we are extremely grateful to you for funding us for this much needed equipment.
Kerry Shelford, Stevenage Sporting Futures
With funding kindly donated from The Chauncy Charity,we are pleased to provide pass-through grants to local organisations supporting the over 60’s.
North Herts CVS were one of the organisations to benefit from this fund during 2015. A £1,200 grant was provided to pilot a 10-month project running a local handyman scheme to respond quickly and efficiently to local elderly residents in need of assistance. Fitting key safes and grab and stair rails, replacing toilet seats with raised seats and installing phone extensions for emergency care lines are examples of the work carried out, helping hundreds of our vulnerable older people, many of them frail with limited mobility and suffering from age-related illnesses such as dementia, arthritis and cardiovascular or respiratory diseases.
The volunteers at Remap, many of them retired engineers, provide an amazing service to the community by designing and manufacturing hundreds of bespoke items of equipment each year for the elderly and disabled, increasing their independence and quality of life. The Trust approved funding of £1,000 to purchase equipment and materials for the year which led to a 20% increase in the amount of items that were produced.
John Airey is a star. My husband has Parkinsons and John has made a fantastic ramp so I was able to get him in his wheelchair through the front door. He was able to come home for the first time from his care home to celebrate our diamond wedding.
The Bragbury Centre identified a need to provide a bereavement group for older people living in the area and approached Stevenage Community Trust for assistance with setting up costs. The grant was approved and was used to advertise the group and purchase equipment, activities and refreshments. With over 25 members regularly attending, the group is thriving and providing support to many lonely and isolated people.
Many thanks to Stevenage Community Trust, a job well done!
Vera Fegan, The Bragbury Centre
Funding for Crossroads Care was used to provide a whole host of activities for dementia sufferers, their carers and staff and volunteers who support the organisation. This includes weekly art and craft activities, trips to the seaside for carers, outings for day centre clients and dementia awareness training for carersand support workers.
The Chauncy Charity also funds our ‘Keeping Warm’ scheme which provides grants to the over 60’s whose illness or disability means that they are vulnerable to the cold during the winter months.
Mrs B recently lost her husband and was finding it difficult to meet the cost of her utility bills from her pension. Due to her poor mobility and additional health concerns exacerbated by the cold, her heating was on constantly meaning costs were high. Providing a grant to help Mrs B was a small gesture to help ease her financial worries following her bereavement.
With her husband housebound, very frail and suffering from dementia, Mrs C received a ‘Keeping Warm’ grant from Stevenage Community Trust, allowing her one less thing to worry about. Due to her husband’s condition, Mrs C had to ensure the heating and lights were on all day to avoid him getting upset which led to an increase in their gas and electricity usage and a significant hike in their bills.
Just to confirm I received the cheque for Ms A in respect of a warm home grant. I have passed this on to her; she was so delighted that she gave me a kiss, so I would like to pass this on to you. I would also like to personally thank you as I know this will make a difference to this lady.
Chris Finlay, Debt Advice & Support Officer
I am so very grateful for the grant to heat my home in the winter months. This will enable me to be warm in the coming cold weather and make my life so much better, without worrying to find money to put into my gas and electricity meters. Thank you so much for your kindness.
This legacy fund provides health related grants to local organisations in need of assistance.
Datchworth Sports Club has over 500 members and hosts a wide range of sporting activities including rugby, cricket, and tennis for all age groups. An area well used by ramblers, riders and members of the public as well as visitors and spectators. Wanting to install a defibrillator at the clubhouse, the committee began fundraising and approached the Trust for a grant which we gladly approved. This important lifesaving equipment has now been installed at the site and training has been provided to key people.
Stevenage Community Trust provided prompt and generous support to our project. Without this help it is fair to say that we might have had to abandon the initiative or delay to some future attempt. Thank you.
Derek Scott, Secretary, Datchworth Sports Club
For a number of years, The Follett Trust has generously provided a significant donation towards our Christmas fund which aims to help children from 200 local families by providing their parents or carers with a £100 gift voucher to make Christmas a little more special. Many children would otherwise receive no presents or traditional meal, even a Christmas tree or a few decorations may not be afforded. The letters of thanks we receive are heart-felt and humbling and show how £100 can make a real difference at Christmas for families who find it hard to make ends meet.
Struggling to stay in work due to his mental health issues following a tour of duty with the Army in Afghanistan, this gentleman and his family were finding it difficult to make ends meet on a low income. The Trust was pleased to provide a gift voucher to help ease the strain for this family at Christmas time.
A young mum had relocated to this area to ensure her and her children’s safety from her violent partner. Having left all her belongings behind and living on a very limited income, every penny was spent on ensuring her children were well looked after. This lady never complained or asked for help and was trying to find employment to support her young family. Providing a gift card for her meant that she was able to give her children a Christmas they deserved.
With mum suffering from an aggressive form of cancer and dad having to reduce his hours to care for the children, the financial strain was having a negative impact on this family. Helping to ease their worries with a Christmas gift card was a much appreciated gesture.
Offering a gift card to a family with two young children with terminal illness was our way of helping to ensure their Christmas was as special as possible without the parents having to worry about the expense.
Following the death of their father, and at risk of eviction, these three young children deserved our help to provide a few presents and some nice treats on Christmas day.
Wanting to provide a better future for her children, this selfemployed mum of four lost her entitlement to state benefits when she started her own businesses and found herself with a reduced income to support her family. Having sold her dining chairs and other household items to make ends meet, a gift voucher was much deserved for this family.
I cannot express in words how grateful my daughters and I are for your kind donation of a £100 Sainsbury’s gift card. As a single mum and full time student, Christmas can be a difficult time financially. The gift card will mean we can afford to buy extras that we would not have been able to buy without this donation. Once again thank you very much Stevenage Community Trust.
I can’t thank you enough for all the help you have given to me and my boys. Things have been very difficult for us. We are so grateful for all the support we have had.
Thank you so much for the Sainsbury’s voucher I received today, I am very grateful for the support and would like to let you know that the money will help towards making my children’s Christmas a little more special. I plan to use the money to buy food for Christmas and to help towards some presents for the children. Without this voucher I would have struggled to make Christmas so special for the children. The part you play in making a difference to families in Stevenage doesn’t get recognised enough and I would like you to know that your gift has made a massive difference to my family.
Thank you for the generous gift voucher, this made the difference to my family as it meant we could celebrate Christmas. I did not know before I received the voucher how I was going to provide a Christmas for my two boys. I have never cooked Christmas dinner before and because of the generosity of Stevenage Community Trust my children got the Christmas to remember and I got to do it. Thank you.
It will help to get some well needed books for the children and things that cannot be afforded, it will help us enormously. Many thanks from all of us.
We will now be able to enjoy a Christmas dinner that we didn’t think we could have as well as presents for the children.
My granddaughters have been through a really tough time and this will help to put a big smile on their faces on Christmas day.
Thank you so much for the gift card it is very kind of you and will be such a great help for my family this Christmas. I will be able to buy treats for all the little ones in my house so they can have a wonderful Christmas as it will be their first Christmas without their parents with them.
Thank you very much for everything you have done over the last few weeks to help us make Christmas better for the Stevenage families we support. It has been a real pleasure to be part of it.
Anne Newby, School Family Worker
I would like to add my appreciation to Caroline. It has been so lovely to have been able to help facilitate the distribution of all the generous donations. We do see first-hand often such sad stories and this has been a really powerful reminder of all the good things that can happen also, so thank you so much. It has made a real difference to some of the most vulnerable people in our community.
Shelagh Mackey, Stevenage Educational Trust
Just to say that the client who had the voucher this week was extremely grateful, he said he feels touched by the kindness he has been shown.
Debbie Reynolds, Citizens Advice Bureau
I have received two Christmas vouchers for two families that I have been working with. This £100 is a lot of money, but it will enable the families to have a joyful Christmas with their children. It is lovely to see the overwhelming reactions from the families that receive your help I know that the Community Trust works very hard to be able to help the local community and I would like to personally thank all of you for your hard work in fundraising and the support you give. So a big thank you to you all.
Chris Finlay, Debt Advice & Support Officer
Thank you so much for the gift card. I passed it onto Mr G and he was really overwhelmed; he couldn’t quite believe it. He said it will help him and his daughter very much.
Sue, Citizens Advice Bureau
In 25 years we have given out £1 million in grants – a terrific achievement that we could not have realised without the generosity of our supporters.
We are looking forward to another 25 years of the Trust helping Stevenage people and organisations.Robert Stewart - Chairman