We’ve been given £1,371 from the Gannett Foundation

We’ve been given £1,371 from the Gannett Foundation

We’ve been presented with a £1,371 grant from the Echo’s Gannett Foundation. This is to help us bring people together and to combat isolation and loneliness in the city.

We received the funds after our kind supporters collected tokens in the Echo in November.

Annie Clewlow, our Manager, says:

“We’re delighted with this wonderful grant. We’ll be using the money from The Gannett Foundation to help fund tea parties. I’d like to extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone who collected tokens for us from copies of the Echo. I would also like to thank the newspaper for awarding the grant to us. It will make a real difference to many people’s lives.”

“Our volunteers, known as Communiteers, complete day-to-day services, including long-term befriending, trips out, shopping, transport, light gardening, DIY/decorating, family support and regular social events. Of course, some of these have been on hold during the past year. More recently, volunteers have supported vaccination centres and provided help through our Hello Southampton, Best at Home which supports the NHS, pen pals and postal projects.”

“At a time when our service users are beginning to emerge from isolation, we will use this money for tea parties. This will provide an opportunity for them, and others, to meet one another and enjoy an afternoon tea. Entertainment will be provided such as a musician or magician. The events promise to be jolly, for all to enjoy after months of having to, understandably, stay in and away from each other.

“We have previously hosted very successful tea parties and would like to make them a more regular occurrence. They contribute to our main aim of reducing isolation in Southampton.

“Our previous parties have shown that the benefit of meeting others in group situations far outweighs those of one-on-one environments. Many of our attendees made new friends and plans to meet each other at our next party. So, we know they will be delighted when we use this money to host more afternoon teas.”

How did the grant work?

Back in the autumn, the Echo asked readers to nominate a charity to be in with the chance of winning a share of £20,000. Its parent company’s charitable arm, The Gannett Foundation, was providing cash to support charities in the area.

The newspaper wanted readers to decide where this money should be spent. After initial nominations were made at the start of October, eight organisations were selected to go forward to the next stage and we were one of these. Our supporters then had four weeks to collect tokens from the newspaper. Each token collected was used to allocate a percentage of the £20,000 to us.