Giving struggling children a change of scene

4th July 2018

Change of Scene provides a place of tranquillity and positive experiences for children from educationally, economically and socially disadvantaged backgrounds who feel they would benefit from a change of scene. The charity works with a small number of children on a one-to-one basis, with intensive support calculated to make a ‘life-changing difference for a few, rather than a marginal difference for many.’ 


“At Change of Scene, we seek to change the lives of disadvantaged children. Our attendees, aged 6-18 years, many from the more deprived areas of Surrey and Hampshire, display complex social, emotional and/or behavioural difficulties and flounder in mainstream education. Many have been temporarily or permanently excluded from schools, are in short term provision or not on a school role; all are in urgent need of a life changing experience to help them fulfil their potential and enable them to return to sustainable education.”

– Sue Weaver, Voluntary Chief Officer


The children experience nature in many ways. They are given the responsibility to care for a wide range of animals, learn how to grow and cook with fresh produce planted on site, and develop practical skills in repairing animal houses – these are just some of the activities children can do when attending Change of Scene.

We are delighted to have awarded a number of grants to Change of Scene for Horticultural equipment and training, to support an AQA Unit Award scheme focused on outdoor practical learning, as well as core costs in order to maintain the 16 acre small holding, to name but a few.

To date, the charity has provided support to the 155 children that have attended sessions, and assisted 86 disadvantaged children to return to education and more promising futures.

Katie Owen, our Grants Officer was delighted to spend a day volunteering at this Farnham based charity.


“Whilst I need no introduction to Change of Scene; choosing to volunteer for the day gave me an even deeper understanding of the life changing impact this great project can have on the young people that attend.

Rolling up my sleeves, I got stuck in to a range of tasks over the day from jarring honey to mucking out Yoghurt, the goat. I even bumped in to the High Sheriff, Jim Glover on his visit to the site!

In the afternoon ex-attendees of the project visited to see the baby Alpacas and it was through this experience I took note of the lasting bond the project had forged between the young people, the environment and the support workers.

An inspiring day of volunteering was had and hats off to those volunteers who support the charity on a regular basis. What a great change of scene!”

– Katie Owen, Community Foundation for Surrey


Mane Chance Sanctuary

6th June 2018

I recently had the pleasure of visiting one of the inspiring Surrey charities that we support – Mane Chance Sanctuary.

Based in Compton, Mane Chance rescue neglected and abandoned horses and seek to bring them back to health, both physically and emotionally. After helping the horses to heal, they provide therapeutic benefits to visiting children with disabilities and terminal illnesses. The charity offers weekly sessions for groups of children and their carers to visit and interact with the animals, currently home to over 30 horses of varying ages. At the heart of it all is the simple concept of ‘help us help them’.

The Community Foundation for Surrey have awarded funding to a number of Mane Chance projects, such as a nature pond that educates children on aquatic life, a barn that provides a safe and dry space for both uneasy horses and children, toilet and kitchen facilities for staff and visitors and core costs, to name a few. In total to date, we have allocated almost £39,000 to ensure this charity is able to continue to work with the vulnerable children and animals that are so evident in Surrey.

Established almost seven years ago by the charity’s founding Trustee, Jenny Seagrove, the charity has gone on to grow significantly and becoming a place to just let children ‘be‘.

Albeit one of the wettest mornings in Surrey for a while, I was delighted with my tour of this project. Wellies and waterproof jackets on, Fiona Clements, the charity’s Company Secretary, kindly led me around the fields to visit the beautiful horses and friendly staff that graced the green grass. This is where I realised that each animal that thrived here, often had a tragic history of neglect, that could have resulted in a very different future had Mane Chance not taken action.

Fiona Clements:

The Foundation have supported Mane Chance since the charity began and their ongoing support has enabled us to improve both the facilities we have to offer and also the services we are able to provide. We are so grateful to them for having taken an interest in the work of the charity from the outset and for supporting us over the years.

One of Mane Chances’ strategic aims is to develop a global understanding of the unique relationship between horses and young people.


Victoria Kear
Marketing & Communications Officer

Keeping young people fit and healthy with Total Football

24th April 2018

We awarded a grant of £5,300 to Mole Valley charity, Leatherhead Youth Project. This grant funded their ‘Total Football’ programme, a weekly football project taking place for young people aged 11-17 on Friday evenings. This project is a key gathering point for local teenagers to engage them in a healthy activity and prevent them from taking part in antisocial behaviour on Friday nights.

The project provides a fun, energetic and positive activity for young people, to play a team sport and keep healthy and active. The project also offers support from the team of youth workers and volunteers from Leatherhead Youth Project to build positive relationships with the group of young people, offering them advice, support and help with issues they are facing. This is particularly relevant for the beneficiaries that LYP are targeting, which mainly involves young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. The grant has also funded extra coaching that has helped young people develop their football skills and become more confident.

Total Football has also benefited young people who want to be involved with volunteering, allowing LYP to set up a young leaders programme allowing those who have become too old to take part as a young person to sign up as a volunteer, receive training and be the future of the project.

This is Ben’s story:

Ben* grew up living in a low-income, single parent household. He had limited opportunities and had to change schools, but despite this he was able to positively engage with LYP projects and begun attending the Total Football project 2 years ago. Ben is a very good player and the other boys looked up to him. LYP asked Ben to take on a position of leadership within the project and help the other boys with their skills and confidence. Bens behaviour and demeanour improved even more and he became a very positive role model.

Ben was struggling with what to do next after school, with his GCSE exams set to take place June 2017. His options didn’t look very bright as a result of poor predicted grades and lack of motivation to study.
However, in recent months one of the project leaders at LYP arranged for Ben to have a trial at the local football academy, which also offers a full time 2 year education course as part of the programme. Ben was accepted and will, with some hard work and consistent attendance, be in full time education for 2 more years. Ben has agreed to stay on at the Total Football project as a regular volunteer.

*Name has been changed

We are delighted to have supported this project, and hope that more young people like Ben, can go on to further opportunities and a healthy lifestyle because of Total Football.

Thank you for this support, it makes a huge difference. This project gives young people a safe, positive and healthy activity on Friday evenings which is hugely important in our community.

– Leatherhead Youth Project

Challengers Summer Youth Scheme provides enjoyment for all

We awarded a total of £3,247 to Challengers for their Summer Youth Scheme, an inclusive project supporting disabled young people aged 13-18, to access a range of fun and exciting activities that they are often excluded from by mainstream providers.

The summer holidays can be a particularly challenging time for disabled young people, many with nothing to look forward to or no friends to spend time with. Challengers is dedicated to supporting disabled young people to take part in the same fun activities as their non-disabled peers. Through this project, they were given the opportunity to have fun, make friends and develop social, emotional and physical skills essential in their transition into adulthood.

Challengers Guildford Youth Scheme delivered a range of fun and exciting activities such as dance and cooking workshops, afternoon tea and archery. They also visited exciting places such as The Living Planet Centre and Chessington World of Adventures.

The scheme ran from 1st August – 26th August and on most days provided an outbound trip and a centre-based activity. For many of the young people that attended, Challengers provided their only opportunity to see friends and try new activities during the long summer holidays. For their parents, carers and siblings, this project provided an essential short break from their caring responsibilities, essential to their own mental health and emotional wellbeing. Many parent carers say that they spend this time to catch up on the things that many take for granted such as cleaning, shopping or simply recuperating from their demanding caring responsibilities.

This is Toms* story, written by his mother;

We have 2 children, our youngest Tom has ASD and attends Challengers regularly. Our life revolves around making sure Tom is safe, cared for and has things to do. Initially we didn’t have a social life at all and pretty much lost all our friends.

Our family live at either end of the country so we had no support there either. Our eldest hated bringing friends home from school. ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis) helped enormously – Toms behaviour changed and he became easier to take out. I went back to work so we could pay for his home programme. Our eldest wasn’t happy but he understood and preferred having a brother who didn’t lash out.

Over time we have started venturing out, we still struggle with babysitters. Our eldest will when he is home from Uni but it’s still the exception.

We first heard about Challengers from Toms school, Jigsaw in Cranleigh. The first time we dropped him off was much easier than expected as we visited first and one of the teachers from school worked there so I was pretty happy that someone knew him.

Tom loves activity so I usually book him in for the outdoor trips as much as I can. When he is there it means we have a day to do things! Tom needs someone with him 24/7 as he doesn’t recognise danger so on days when he is at Challengers my husband and I can do things together. All other times one of us has to be with Tom or we have to take him with us.

*Name has been changed

We are delighted to see the impact our grant has had on improving the quality of life for disabled young people such as Tom, through taking part in Challengers Summer Youth Scheme, as well as providing parents and carers some much needed respite from their caring roles.

Through the eyes of our Donors – Nigel, Alison and family

Sharing the joy of giving across generations

We work closely with a number of generous donors that want to give back to their local communities and support causes that they are passionate about.

This is Nigel and Alison’s story:

Following careers as an actuary and teacher respectively, Nigel and Alison helped to establish a youth project in one of the most socially deprived areas of Surrey.

We have been very fortunate and we wanted to share our luck with some of those who were less privileged. Through establishing a youth charity in Surrey, we learned how a small amount of money could make a difference to the lives of those experiencing disadvantage.

Applying for funding for the charity brought the family into contact with the Foundation for the first time.

After making several grant applications, it was clear that the Foundation provided an indispensable service bringing together those who had money to give with those who needed funding. Most importantly, they were professional in making sure that the money was used appropriately by the charities. Establishing our own fund with the Foundation seemed the right thing to do.

The fund includes Nigel and Alison’s children, Carol and David, and their families and so their endowment will continue making gifts on behalf of the family well into the future. They have particularly loved visiting the projects that they have awarded grants to, and seeing the positive impact that their money has had within the community.

Nigel, having worked in business his entire career, wanted the best return on their money.

The Foundation was the perfect solution. No one else is as effective in linking donors with charitable organisations and ensuring that our support is used to the best effect.

Not only have Nigel and Alison received great pleasure in giving with us, they have been able to meet with other donors that have given up their time for the benefit of others. We asked Nigel how philanthropy has changed their lives;

We have met lovely people including other donors. It is a privilege to know all of these people. Most of all, it has been fun!

You can read more about the Nigel and Alison’s giving with us in our Philanthropy Brochure.

Supporting young carers with new Guildford Philanthropy fund

29th March 2018

A new fund, initiated by deputy Mayor Cllr Mike Parsons as part of his Mayoral year fundraising, will provide crucial support to help prevent young carers in our borough falling behind educationally, emotionally and socially, due to their caring responsibilities.

The new ring-fenced Guildford Young Carers Fund, within Guildford Philanthropy, will award grants to help support young carers in our community by providing resources, services and equipment.

The scheme was agreed by the Executive at its meeting last night (27 March), where it was thoroughly assessed to ensure the proposed fund met the needs of our community, and further supported the work of Guildford Philanthropy. The Executive also made the commitment to provide Council match-funding of up to £20,000 for all private donations made to the new fund in the 2018/19 mayoral year.

Cllr Mike Parsons, Deputy Mayor, said:

Being a young carer can have a life-long effect on health, education, social skills and self-confidence. Many struggle with juggling aspects of being a young person, with the care of their relative. This funding is vital for shaping and personalising the support needed by each individual carer, and allowing them the ability to thrive in their social and educational environments.

Cllr Geoff Davis, Lead Councillor for Special Projects and Social Enterprise, adds:

We believe that every person matters and this new fund for young carers is of incredible importance to those residents affected. As a local funding body, we need to extend our grant support to provide an effective and helpful approach to a particularly vulnerable group within our community.

Chairman of Guildford Philanthropy, and Community Foundation for Surrey trustee, Peter Cluff, continues:

We’re aiming to change people’s lives by creating opportunities and tackling local need, and this includes support for young carers. We need to be able to enable carers to make the most of their youth and education, whilst dealing with their caring responsibilities.

Guildford Philanthropy is a collaborative partnership set up in 2013 between Guildford Borough Council and the Community Foundation for Surrey. The Community Foundation for Surrey helped to develop the scheme and manages the income and grants.

The Community Foundation for Surrey is a charitable trust established to inspire local giving for local needs. It is part of a national network of 46 community foundations, one of the fastest growing philanthropic movements in the UK.

For more information about Guildford Philanthropy please see our Guildford Philanthropy web page.

Launching our Impact Report

14th March 2018

Last night we launched our first Impact Report at the beautiful venue of Royal Holloway University, Egham.

This report shows the Impact we have achieved in developing philanthropy and grant making in our 12 years since establishing, which we are delighted to share with you.

Our report reveals that the Community Foundation’s work to inspire local giving has generated over £22million for the benefit of charitable projects across Surrey, since our establishment in 2005. This total figure of £22million includes funds for immediate grant making, as well as endowments, which will continue growing and providing income for the long term.

We are delighted to share that we have funded 1,446 groups and individuals over 2,748 grants across Surrey. This report highlights the impact this funding has enabled, including inspiring case studies from groups and individuals, and statistics broken down by Impact Assessment Framework theme, including Disadvantage & Exclusion, Health & Wellbeing and Education & Skills, to name a few.

Kate Peters, our Director of Grants & Impact said:

We are incredibly proud to have reached this milestone of £22million generated in resources for Surrey communities, and we feel this Impact Report shows a powerful insight into the difference our donors’ giving makes across Surrey.

Whilst we support hundreds of charities and community groups each year to the tune of £1.2million, there is still much more work to be done. Last year, we received over £1million in grant requests that we were unable to fund. This clearly shows the steep demand in funding needs across the voluntary sector.

Laura Thurlow, our Chief Executive said:

Despite our successes, there is clearly a huge amount of unmet need in the county. We are very keen to work with more Surrey individuals and businesses who are wanting to explore how they can have an impact through local philanthropy.

The evening of the launch was a huge success, and would not have been made possible without the beautiful venue of Royal Holloway’s Picture Gallery, to which the Foundation are hugely grateful to Royal Holloway, University of London.

Our sincerest thanks to Barclays, for sponsoring the publication.

We would like to all of those who joined us last night for this truly special occasion.

Thanks a billion!

18th December 2017

Community Foundations hit the one-billion-pound mark

Local charities make up the lifeblood of our communities. They make a daily difference to millions of people. That’s why Community Foundations are proud to have announced, on Local Charities Day, Friday 15th December 2017, that collectively we have distributed ONE BILLION POUNDS to local charities.

This milestone shows the impact that Community Foundations have had on local communities. In the last year alone we distributed £77million in grants and 4.7million people were impacted by our work.

From floods to fuel, poverty to food banks, we support communities where they need it the most. We reach every postcode in the UK and this reach means that we support the very smallest charities and community groups, who often go unnoticed by many. But it’s these charities that are a lifeline for so many people and desperately need our support

Community Foundations support anyone that needs help. Be it providing funding for a school breakfast club so that local children can have at least one hot meal a day or giving a grant to an organisation that supports young people into training or employment, Community Foundations are there to help.

Peter Aldous, MP of Waveney, Suffolk, asked Theresa May at PMQs last Wednesday to recognise the important work which community foundations carry out across the UK. The Prime Minister committed to investigating better use of dormant assets:

Fabian French, Chief Executive of UK Community Foundations, said:

At UK Community Foundations we’re proud to work with incredible local charities day in day out. We understand the needs of the communities we work in and direct grants to causes that will meet that need and will make the biggest difference. That’s why we passionately support Local Charities Day and why Community Foundations are what the Chair of the Charity Commission says ‘exactly what charities should be’.

Support your local Community Foundation and help us reach two billion pounds so we can continue to support local communities.

Our SSE/SYP Reception

7th December 2017

On Wednesday 22nd November we held an inspirational reception that took place at the birthplace of British Motorsport and Aviation, Brooklands Museum. We were joined by over 90 attendees from a wide range of organisations across Surrey for the showcase of two of our funds that help individuals in and around the county. For a second time, the Surrey Young People’s Fund and Surrey Supported Employment Fund came together to reach out to those in need locally, giving engaging presentations and celebrating their work to date.

The Surrey Young People’s Fund helps disadvantaged young people achieve access to training and employment. A recipient of the fund bravely shared his story and explained how he has benefited from his grant since living in the UK, having fled his home country in the midst of war.

I am very grateful to the fund. This money has helped me acquire the equipment needed to pursue my studies and given me a more positive outlook on my future.

Mohammed*, SYP Applicant.

Having now supported over 150 determined young people improve their prospects and awarded almost £40,000 in grants since the funds inception in 2014, we are only wanting to continue to raise this number.

Nick Brooks, chair of SYP shared,

I was delighted to see so many of our county-wide network of referring agencies, funders and representatives of our public authorities in attendance. It was excellent to be able to welcome Peter Martin, Chairman of Surrey County Council, as a demonstration of support for the work being undertaken by Surrey Young People’s Fund helping so many disadvantaged young people across the county move towards work.

The Surrey Supported Employment Fund was established to help those with disabilities and/or mental ill health overcome barriers to work, contributing towards the social and economic wellbeing of Surrey. Grants are usually just a few hundred pounds, but these small amounts can be life changing.

Judy Corney, Employment Manager from referring agency Employment Support Retraining Agency, shared one recipient’s inspiring story of how the fund has helped her to achieve a level 2 British Gymnastics General Coaching Certification after a recent family hardship.

The impact on my life is so great it astounds me. My confidence in coaching has improved and has also led me on to an opportunity with the NHS Recovery College. I absolutely love it and believe that, after 47 years, I have finally found my calling.

Joanne*, SSE Applicant.

Joanne* is now hoping to take a course in Education and Training (Level 3 and 4) to enable her to progress in the workplace and undergo training to ensure coaching as a permanent career.

Roshan Bailey, Chair of SSE said,

We really do want to increase the grants we award, so this was an excellent occasion to illustrate the opportunities we can help open up for disabled people facing barriers to work, as well as the amazing long-term impact our grants have on their lives.  I am delighted that our guests were so keen to help spread the message to people who need our support.

The Surrey Supported Employment Fund has awarded over £36,000 since its establishment in 2012.

Day to day I experience the impact both these funds have on individuals who have been supported with what often seems a little amount and day to day I’m inspired by this. The Brooklands event was a time to share this impact with our guests and encourage even more referrals. Should you know of any individual in need of support please encourage them to apply to the funds, we’re here to help!

Katie Owen, Grants Officer.

We would like to thank Allan Winn, Director of Brooklands for kindly hosting the event as well as our sponsor, Alliotts, for generously funding the evening.

If you would like to learn more about either fund, or how you can help support your local community, please contact us on 01483 478092.

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