£15 million. Together making dreams a reality

30th November 2020

The Community Foundation for Surrey distributes £15 million in grants to support local charities

The independent local charity, the Community Foundation for Surrey (CFS) has now awarded over £15 million across the county to support local people, in the last 15 years.

Since its establishment in 2005, the Foundation has been bringing together local donors with those providing positive solutions to the many challenges within our communities. This funding is often the motivation needed to transform an inspiring local initiative from a seed of an idea, into a reality.

Grants are awarded to Surrey charities and community groups tackling identified needs, including health and wellbeing, education and skills, disadvantage and exclusion, and building stronger communities. To date, the generosity of local Donors has enabled the Foundation to award over 4,200 grants to help local organisations deliver vital services to local residents. Since April alone, the Foundation has distributed over £3 million, the highest amount in a single year since the charity’s inception. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has of course contributed to these figures, due to the Foundation working pro-actively these past months in response to the growing needs of those within our communities at this critical time.

The Community Foundation is proud to provide seed funding to support local groups transform their dreams into a reality. Emerge Advocacy supports young people who are experiencing an emotional or mental health crisis. Joy Wright, Founder, has built an experienced team of staff and volunteers that are primarily based in the A&E departments at the Royal Surrey and St Peter’s hospitals in Guildford. In 2016 a £10,000 grant from the Community Foundation enabled Joy to get her vision off the ground and out into the community, providing comfort, reassurance and a lifeline to distressed young people coming through hospital doors.

Joy Wright, Founder, Emerge Advocacy said:

“Our support helps calm young people, encourages them to engage with medical professionals and reduces the rate of absconsion from A&E departments. Through giving time and compassion in conversations, we bring a sense of hope to our young people severely distressed and that are often on the verge of suicide.”

When Joy first had the idea for Emerge Advocacy in August 2016, she decided to leave her job so that she could focus on the charity. With only enough money to support her vision for the first 3 months, a Community Foundation for Surrey donor stepped in.

Joy continues:

“I’ll never forget the day I received an email stating our application had been accepted and Emerge would receive £10,000 to kick-start our initiative! I felt like I’d won the lottery! When I look back over the last four years, I am amazed by how far Emerge has come – from a seed of an idea to what we have today. Your support has really enabled us to bring this dream to life.”

The unique role of the Community Foundation is to make meaningful connections for local Donors, enabling them to support the causes which they are most passionate about. Whether donors wish to set up their own personal fund with the Foundation or give collectively to one of the many themed or area funds that address a vast range of local needs, donors can work with the team at the Community Foundation to satisfy their philanthropic motivations.

Stripey Stork, a baby-bank based in Reigate, collect donations of toys, clothes and other essential items for babies and children and, after checking they meet current UK safety standards, rehome them with local families experiencing hardship.

In 2013, the Community Foundation awarded Stripey Stork its first ever grant of £1,400 for start-up costs in setting up the baby-bank. 7 years on and the local charity have received 9 grants from the Foundation, most recently from the Surrey Coronavirus Response Fund for emergency baby supplies to continue offering support for vulnerable local families.

Stripey Stork has been able to respond to an additional 1,829 requests of help since the crisis started thanks to this vital emergency funding.

Nicola Dawes, Founder and General Manager, Stripey Stork said:

“It makes such a difference when we know the funds will be administered by CFS. We trust that you know the area, the challenges and the up to date stats. We are so grateful to the Foundation and their local donors for their continued support, but even more so for their faith in us at the very beginning – without them we would not be where we are today.”

It was only last July the Foundation celebrated reaching its £10 million grant-making achievement, highlighting how much of an exceptional year this has been for local philanthropy.

However, despite the Foundation’s focused and responsive approach to addressing local needs, local support has never been more needed. As the pandemic continues, it is increasingly difficult for groups to secure the funding they need and it is local philanthropy and organisations such as the Community Foundation for Surrey which are relied upon to ensure the voluntary sector can continue to provide vital support to local people.

Laura Thurlow, Chief Executive of the Community Foundation for Surrey said:

“We are incredibly grateful to our growing family of local philanthropic individuals, families, businesses and charitable trusts, choosing to partner with us to support Surrey. Without our valued partners, we simply could not have achieved this milestone level of giving. However, there is still much more to do. We are continuing to receive requests from local groups needing funding at this critical time. We must work together to ensure we can continue to support our vulnerable residents.”

The Foundation encourages those with a desire to help to get in touch. Any individual or business interested in supporting their community can do so by contacting Laura Thurlow at the Community Foundation for Surrey, 01483 478086.

Together we can.