We Love Lichfield Presentation
The great and the good gathered on Friday 15th May 2015 for the latest presentations of the Staffordshire Community Foundation’s ‘We Love Lichfield Fund’. The event took place in Lichfield city centre, at The George Hotel’s ‘Garrick Room’. Awards were made to 7 organisations based in different areas of the district, and this time not only did they receive the grant, but also a few added presents as well, including a pair of theatre tickets for The Lichfield Garrick, a £20 voucher towards a meal at Darwin’s Restaurant at The George Hotel and a season family pass for Weston Park.
This event was held in a slightly different format to the usual presentations, in that everyone awarded a grant had the opportunity to tell people gathered a little more about their organisation, what they do, who they help and how this grant will be used to make a difference. We also invited 2 former recipients along, (Burntwood Breast Care and Whittington Computer Group), to give details of how their previous grants had helped their organisation.
John & Wendy from Whittington Community Computer Group were the first to take to the stage to tell of their work. Wendy gave the background of the group, from humble beginnings to the successful organisation that it is today. They have expanded a lot recently and are now full to capacity, also offering a lunch service on a Tuesday. Wendy said “We couldn’t do what we do without funding like this. We’ve had grants from We Love Lichfield and directly from the Staffordshire Community Foundation and it really makes a difference. As a small group we value our independence and we’re not comfortable having to work with much larger groups, so this funding is vital to allow us to continue to help all the people that we need to”.
Next up were Pauline 1 and Pauline 2 from Burntwood Breast Care. Pauline 1 started off telling how there had been uncertainty when the group first started. Only 2 people turned up to the first meeting, but they stuck with it and the group has now grown into a successful support group with members ranging from their 30′s to their 70′s. Pauline said “Without this funding we couldn’t have supported as many people as we have, at one of the most stressful times of their lives. We know that people who give to the Foundation and the We Love Lichfield Fund are called donors and supporters, but you should really be called heroes, because that’s what you are”.
With the feedback received from previous grantees, the awards moved on to the grant presentations, which were split into two sections. First up was Elford Boys Club who received £1000 to kit out a social room for the local community. Originally concentrating on football, the group has now moved on to other pastimes too, and this funding will be used to help make a larger impact on their local community, with social activities and diversionary activities for the areas youth.
Next was St James Primary School PTFA. They concentrate on raising funds to benefit the pupils of the school, but wanted to take a step to do something for the wider community, and not just the children who attend the school. They were awarded £450 to help to pay for the refurbishment of a small kitchen that is used for community activities – not only things for the school like the before and after school club, but for wider activities such as pottery classes and art classes that are open to the wider community.
Next to take to the stage was ‘Friends to Friends’, who are a social group for people with learning disabilities. They had been awarded £1000 to create some educational videos to highlight the needs of their users to local organisations and businesses. Service user Anthony took to the stage to read a statement that he had spent lots of time preparing. he went into great detail about how he had felt disconnected from people, unable to make any real friends and get the social support that he needed. But all that had changed since he started going to Friends to Friends. He now had a large circle of friends, even finding himself a girlfriend, and was receiving training and support to help increase his chances of finding a job. Another user also gave a brief run down of his involvement with the group, detailing how he had been left out of many activities before joining the group. He used to spend all of his time in the pub, or in the bookmakers, and didn’t really integrate with wider society. Someone suggested going along to Friends to Friends as they thought they might be able to help. He was unsure at first, but after attending a couple of sessions his whole attitude changed. He became more social, spending less time in the pub and more time helping other people who were in a similar position.
In a break from the grant presentations, Foundation trustee and We Love Lichfield Fund patron Simon Price gave some details of the fundraising efforts of the last few months. Starting with The George Hotel we can announce that they have already raised £3000 this year, and have provided the room and refreshments for this presentation free of charge. They are committed to raising more funds throughout this year.
The Garrick Theatre had held a bucket collection following performances of the Christmas panto and had also raised £3000, as well as commiting to providing a pair of tickets for each grant recipient. They also announced that they will be supporting the We Love Lichfield Fund throughout this year, and at the panto in 2015.
Norma Bacon, who had been mayor of Lichfield in 2014/15 had raised £1000, and now that she was Chair of the Distrct Council, she would be making the fund one of her Charities of Choice, and continuing to support it throughout her tenure.
Acorn Motor Group representatives were also present, following their sponsorship of the recently held golf day in aid of the We Love Lichfield Fund. The event had raised £3000 for the fund, and Acorn said that they would be continuing to support the fund throughout the coming year.
Back to the grant presentations and the next to receive their award were Hammerwich Cricket Club, who were going to use their funding of £993 to purchase new equipment for a new youth team, and to pay for training too. They said that they “felt particularly humbled to be amongst so many others who are doing some fantastic work, and as a police officer, this sort of involvement in the local community really does make a difference and couldn’t be done without the support of this fund”.
Shenstone Tennis Club received a grant of £551 to purchase new secure notice boards, to help to publicise the events that they were holding and to increase membership of the tennis club to help to make them more sustainable. They also said that they were “very humbled, particularly to be awarded a grant amongst so many dedicated groups”.
The final award of this round went The Cooper Recreation Room, who were awarded £1000 to make damp-proofing repairs to their venue. They provide arts provision to the whole community, with a particular appeal to people on low incomes, helping to ensure that everyone can partake in the arts. This funding will help to ensure that not only can they continue, but they can become more sustainable now that they have a venue that is fit for purpose.
The Staffordshire Community Foundation would like to thank everyone who attended and made the day so special. We have so many vital community groups and charities based in Staffordshire, and this is just a little way of recognising the valued work that they do. We’d also like to thank all of the Donor Advisors of the We Love Lichfield Fund, who make such a huge contribution for the benefit of their local community, and our all of our supporters and donors, including Lichfield District Council, the Lichfield Mercury, Townhouse Communications, TT Autos, The George Hotel, The Garrick Theatre and Acorn Motor Group.
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