Aylesbury Vale District Council and Vale of Aylesbury Housing (The Trust) recently celebrated eight successful years of their Community Chest programme, which saw a total of 75 grants awarded to local voluntary and community organisations in 2014/15.
The ‘Working Together’ event, traditionally held at a grant-recipient venue, was hosted by Thomley, an activity centre in Worminghall for children and young adults with disabilities, during this year’s Volunteers' Week.
Thomley was founded in 2002 by the parents of children with autism, to provide somewhere safe and non-judgemental, where staff and visitors would understand and support the behaviour of children and young people with complex needs.
Since the Community Chest was launched in 2007, Thomley has received project grants totalling £40,200 towards access to their services for children and young people who live in Aylesbury Vale. The charity also successfully applied for a three-year funding grant towards core staff costs.
The Working Together event featured a selection of the other grants awarded in 2014/15, including Lindengate, based in Wendover, which is using a project grant to transform four acres of wasteland into a social and therapeutic horticultural resource, to help people with a wide range of mental health issues.
Earlier this year the Community Chest scheme hit the milestones of £2 million awarded in project grants and £3.5 million awarded in total grants since the venture first began.
Councillor Angela Macpherson, AVDC Cabinet Member for Leisure, Communities and Civic Amenities, said: “Community groups are often enthusiastic to do more to meet the needs of their communities but lack of money is often a major obstacle for them. The Community Chest is a popular grant fund and has helped a wide variety of hard-working groups right across the district to finance worthwhile community causes.”
Outgoing Grants Panel Chairman, Masaud Subedar, added: “I am always amazed at the variety of organisations and activities we have been able to help through the Community Chest. Everything from ensuring village facilities are available for years to come or helping people in times of crisis, to supporting new and developing therapies. This event during Volunteers’ Week really brings home how community investment enables and inspires our volunteers to deliver so much to residents of the Vale and beyond.”
Aylesbury Vale Community Chest is a joint venture between Aylesbury Vale District Council and Vale of Aylesbury Housing (Trust). Funded through a tax shelter on improvements the Trust makes to their residents’ homes, the two organisations committed to provide £5 million of funding over ten years, for not-for-profit groups, charities and community interest companies to support their work within Aylesbury Vale.
The annual ‘Working Together’ event is a celebration and networking opportunity, with many of the guests inspired to build links and partnerships with other groups as a result.