News Westminster C of E Primary Academy is awarded £149,000 after their innovative services impress major UK funder

The Garfield Weston Foundation more than doubles its £5m anniversary fund to over £11m to support over 150 charities across UK after overwhelming demand

Westminster C of E Primary Academy has been awarded £149,000 from one of the UK’s largest charitable funders. The funding will enable the charity to refurbish the community hub building providing services and support to parents and the community. The Garfield Weston Foundation says small community charities are rising to the challenge of facing unprecedented demand for their services by being proactive and innovative.

The Foundation has more than doubled its £5m capital fund to over £11m so it can support over 150 charities and community organisations across the UK.

The Weston Anniversary Fund was launched earlier this year to provide funding to charities to improve their existing facilities or provide new ones as part of the Foundation’s 60th year. The Trustees took the decision to more than double the fund after receiving over 2,300 applications, with over 60% from charities that have never applied to them before.

Miss Nicky White, Principal of Westminster C of E Primary Academy says: “We are absolutely delighted to be awarded funding from the Garfield Weston Foundation. We have improved engagement from our parents and local community but further development of this has been hindered by the quality of the space and lack of suitable facilities. The need for support, courses and engagement in our area is so significant and the funding will make a huge difference in creating a long lasting legacy for future generations. The refurbishment of our community hub will enable us to support our parents and vulnerable families more effectively.”

Mrs Liz Holland, Community Engagement Leader at Westminster C of E Primary Academy, who supports our parents and families says: “Parents have been involved in the re-design of the community hub building to ensure that it is tailored to their needs. Within the newly developed centre we will provide a wider range of courses to support our parents and the community including basic cookery classes, financial advice, benefit advice and English speaking classes along with family activities including toddler groups and family fun sessions. The large space will include a meeting area that parents can use to provide support for each other building community links and leading to social cohesion. We will also have a space to store and display clothing, our weekly food bank provision and a book library for families to access.”

The Garfield Weston Foundation’s Director, Philippa Charles, says: “What really impressed our Trustees is the amount of volunteering and community involvement that’s going on across the UK. We heard about so many amazing projects involving local people who are helping their communities thrive – regardless of cuts, Brexit debates and other challenges.  The response from charities to this new fund clearly demonstrates the voluntary sector is proactive and energetic; far from the complacency it is sometimes accused of.  Yet we can also see the level of need that exists in our local communities and how much the services charities provide are so desperately needed. The impact of these grants will be significant, with benefits for many people lasting years.”

From community centres providing services for isolated older people to organisations tackling youth and gang crime, the funding from the Weston Anniversary Fund will help charities from across the UK provide more and better services in their communities. A recent survey by the Foundation found that two-thirds (66%) of small charities expect their income to stay the same or decline this year, yet over half (55%) expect to be delivering more services. Getting help with refurbishments or a new building has been highlighted by charities as important as it helps them earn new income.

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