Building relationships and growing with our young people

6th August 2020

“It’s through these relationships that real, tangible change can happen.”


Dan Beedell joined east to west 10 years ago after discovering them at a local church. Originally a part time Relational Support Worker, Dan is now part of the senior leadership team and an enthusiastic champion of the charity and its fundraising.

“The reason why east to west are so effective at what they do is that we take the time to build relationships with those we support. Because we know them, we know what is happening, and we have a better understanding as to why. It’s through these relationships that real, tangible change can happen.”

east to west is a Surrey based charity supporting over 1,000 local children, young people and their families. The children and young people who work with east to west often struggle with self-harming, bullying, broken family relationships, abuse and homelessness. Through one to one and group sessions east to west listen and care for each young person they support. Their help often goes beyond listening; accompanying children to doctor’s appointments or food banks, or connecting them with a social worker or specialist counsellor.

In the wake of the pandemic, these needs have intensified. More and more we are seeing how the effects of lockdown have taken a greater toll on the mental health and wellbeing of our young people. Dan says, “in essence schools closed overnight, yet those we work with didn’t suddenly disappear. Their needs were still just as important on the day after lockdown as they were the day before.”

Nearly a third of young people in the UK who received mental health services and support prior to the pandemic are now unable to access support.[1] The crisis has compounded existing inequalities and spiked abuse.[2] And during this mental health “epidemic”[3] young people are battling feelings of isolation, anxiety about the world they’re inheriting and frustration about being left out of the discussion about their own recovery.[4]

Dan continues, “the reality is that the pressures on children’s and young people’s mental health are increasing significantly. We are seeing children and young people unable to understand or verbalise how or what they are feeling and what is expressed is anger, upset or frustration.”

Dan stresses that relationships are the key to east to west’s success, and it’s through their earned, trusted rapport with young people that they are able to make a difference, “we recognise that some wellbeing and mental health issues can be resolved relatively quickly… it may be a case of someone needing to offload to someone they trust, however for many of those we support, there is no quick fix and time and a commitment to being there to support is what is needed.”

In March, when lockdown happened, most mental health services were forced to quickly shift to online support. For young people this shift was not always easy; many had concerns about privacy at home and others faced gaps in their access to technology.[5] The Community Foundation for Surrey has been there to help east to west keep crucial relationships intact. By providing an initial emergency response grant, the charity did not have to furlough any staff and could continue to work alongside young people to keep that all important connection. When east to west found people struggled to engage through phone calls, they eventually moved online, learning and growing with the young people themselves about what works best.

Most recently, a grant of £50,000 has been awarded by the Foundation to a group of 8 Surrey charities – including east to west – to help deal with the surge in demand for children and young people’s mental health services following the Coronavirus Pandemic.

It is currently unknown what the long-term effects of lockdown and the pandemic will be on our young people. For Dan effective mental health support is a long-term commitment hinging on investing time and energy into developing trusting relationships with young people. In his words, “if I had one word of advice to those reading this… invest in the young people you’re supporting… it sounds simple, but it is so effective!


east to west winners - Youth Awards 2018/19
The east to west team

Our recent Children and Young People’s Mental Health Webinar brought together Surrey charities working to support our local young people with their mental health needs. Click here to find out what we heard!







Together We Can Video Credits

5th August 2020






Shahid Azeem DL – High Sheriff of Surrey

Dele Ryder – Partnership and Business Development Manager, A2 Dominion

Michelle Blunsom MBE – Chief Executive, East Surrey Domestic Abuse Services

Jonathan Lees – Founder, Epsom and Ewell Foodbank

Nicola Dawes – Founder, Stripey Stork

Nick Brooks – Chair, Surrey Young People’s Fund

Professor Max Lu – Vice-Chancellor, University of Surrey

Craig Duncan – Service user, The Amber Foundation

Joy Wright – Founder, Emerge Advocacy

Seven Hills – Script

James Llewelyn – Cameraman

Goodwork PR Agency – Editing

Community Foundation for Surrey Donors, Trustees and staff

Children and Young People’s Mental Health Webinar

23rd July 2020

Hidden In Plain Sight
Webinar Series

Children and Young People's Mental Health

Our Children and Young People’s Mental Health Webinar

was the second of our Hidden in Plain Sight Webinars that bring together local people and voluntary sector experts to share the insights from organisations that are now facing a surge in demand for their services.

What we heard

‘Surrey Stats’

1 in 8 children and young people have a diagnosable mental health condition such as depression or anxiety. [1]

Nearly half of 17-19 year olds with a diagnosable mental health disorder has self-harmed or attempted suicide at some point. [2]

Of the 185,000 5-16 years olds in Surrey, this equates to over 23,000 children and young people needing help and support locally. [3]

If the Children’s Commissioner is correct – that only 1 in 4 of those are referred for clinical support, that leaves 75% (over 17,000) of Surrey children needing to look elsewhere for support. [4]


Accessible, specialist services embedded in the community are fundamental to ensuring that children and young people can seek the support that they need, and elevate pressures on other services that have had to cut back on youth provision or had to focus resources on the highest clinical need. 

Finding social solutions and early intervention support is more cost effective and less visible as “treatment” and therefore often less stigmatised. Often young people do not want to be associated with a clinical problem. 

In Surrey, voluntary sector organisations are coming together to address this added pressure for services across the county.

The Surrey Wellbeing Partnership has formed to create a framework for voluntary sector collaboration, with the purpose to deliver community and school-based support for young people which focuses on supportive and ongoing relationships to provide consistency and stability for children. 

The Community Foundation for Surrey is a long-term supporter of Surrey-based charities and voluntary sector organisations supporting children and young people’s mental health.

These services, now more than ever, are in need of significant uplift in funding to meet the increased demand that they are now facing as we come out of lockdown.

Jude Crome, CEO of Leatherhead Youth Project shares the story of one 13-year-old living in Surrey and why the support of a local charity is so important.

What can be done in the immediate to help?

Third sector partners really need “more boots on the ground.”

This would enable more time and focus to be spent catering to each individuals’ specific needs. Recruiting specialist well being youth workers for example, would be invaluable as every need is different. It is a struggle to recruit meaningful ongoing roles due to lack of resource.

We are incredibly grateful to all of our generous local donors who have helped us to address the urgent need for support for local young people. However, we are aware that our local voluntary sector is in real need of further support.

Together We Can provide this support and bring hope to the lives of local young people; and make a real difference across our county.”

– Laura Thurlow, Chief Executive, Community Foundation for Surrey

A recording of our webinar is available. 

Thank you to our inspiring speakers

  • Jude Crome, Chief Executive, Leatherhead Youth Project

Jude is a qualified counsellor and has been working with young people in Surrey since 2008. Five of these years were as the Counselling and Emotional Wellbeing Manager at Leatherhead Youth Project and most recently as the Charity’s Chief Executive.

Leatherhead Youth Project (LYP) offers a diverse range of projects and activities to 11-19 year olds across Mole Valley, including Youth Cafes, Counselling, Sports Projects and Residential’s. LYP aims to respond to local needs and help young people to be safe, happy and making positive changes in their lives.

  • Sarah Kenyon, Heads Together Manager, YMCA East Surrey

Sarah is the Counselling Manager for YMCA East Surrey’s youth counselling service, Heads Together which has been supporting young people since the 1990’s. Sarah specialises in working with adolescents and young adults.

YMCA East Surrey is a vibrant community-based charity offering a wide variety of services across East Surrey with a strong emphasis on services for children and young people, particularly those facing challenges such a deprivation, physical or mental health issues, learning disabilities and difficult family circumstances. YMCA East Surrey’s work is driven by the desire to support children and young people to believe in themselves and to reach their full potential.

  • Chloe, a young person who shared her story


[1], [2] Young Minds (as at August 2020)

[3] The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated as at Mid 2017, Surreyi.

[4] – Briefing: The state of children’s mental health services, Anne Longfield (published January 2020)


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Domestic Abuse Webinar

9th July 2020

Our Domestic Abuse Webinar

was the first of our Hidden in Plain Sight Webinars that bring together local people and voluntary sector experts to share the insights from organisations that are now facing a surge in demand for their services.

What we heard

Coronavirus has raised public consciousness of the extreme fear and harm that survivors, both adults and children, are suffering all across the country. This damage is long-lasting and it’s important to understand that abuse doesn’t end when a relationship ends, the harm continues, and support is vital to a person’s safety and recovery.

‘Surrey Stats’

In Surrey, we know that there are an estimated 35,400 victims of abuse, with 3,300 children visible to services as living in homes where there is domestic abuse

Each year there are over 1 million calls to police in England and Wales about domestic abuse, and on average someone contacts the police every 30 seconds for help with domestic abuse.

Since lockdown has lifted, the number of people calling Surrey Police for help has increased, with an 8% rise in the number of incidents being reported and on average, Surrey Police will record 28 domestic abuse crimes every day.

Sadly, these figures are only the tip of the iceberg as we know that less than 1 in 4 victims (and worryingly, this is reducing) report to the police.

Accessible, independent, specialist services embedded in the community are fundamental to getting people to safety as quickly as possible.

In Surrey, our vision is for every adult and child experiencing domestic abuse to be seen, safe and heard, and free from the harm caused by perpetrator behaviour.

More data and insights on domestic abuse can be found on our webpage here.


East Surrey Domestic Abuse Services is a lead provider of Surrey-wide specialist Domestic Abuse support services. 


Q. Have you seen an increase in cases since the pandemic began?

A. Yes, the number of referrals has increased dramatically from this time last year – 100% up each month compared to last year.

We are now having to find the necessary resources to manage a 40% plus uplift in demand.

The predictions around increases in domestic abuse incidents and homicide are stark, but it is important to note that the pandemic, lockdown and the socio-economic consequences of these events do not cause domestic abuse, but they have highlighted the prevalence. As restrictions are further lifted, we are likely to see incidents increase and domestic abuse murders as survivors attempt to leave relationships and perpetrators lose control.


Q. What are the top 3 issues that can be addressed now and have most impact if funding was available?

A. More understanding of the long-term impact of domestic abuse – more funding for specialist services to support survivors beyond being safe to enable people to recover and rebuild their lives, which can take many years.

More therapeutic support for children affected by domestic abuse.

Greater public awareness and recognition of domestic abuse.

The Community Foundation for Surrey is a long-term supporter of Surrey-based specialist domestic abuse support provider charities.

Currently these services are in need of significant uplift in funding to meet the increased demand.

“The issues are difficult – and the challenge to address them may appear insurmountable. However, we know that when people come together, it can make a real difference. We know that there are many generous people within our county who want to help. 

Together we can provide the help that is needed across Surrey – bringing hope to the lives of local people; and positive change for all communities.”

– Laura Thurlow, Chief Executive, Community Foundation for Surrey

Thank you to our inspiring speakers

  • Kerry, Domestic Abuse Survivor and Campaigner who works with other survivors nationally to bring about positive change.
  • Michelle Blunsom MBE, Chief Executive, East Surrey Domestic Abuse Services

Michelle has worked for over 17 years supporting thousands of victims of domestic abuse and their families from across Surrey. As the lead provider for Surrey Outreach services, she is responsible for making sure survivors have access to advice and support in order to break the cycle of abuse and help to rebuild their lives. Michelle has worked closely with Surrey Police to train officers and staff in using legislation to tackle domestic abuse, and has been very influential in improving victim care and procedures that are widely used.


  • Lisa Herrington, Head of Policy and Commissioning, Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey

Lisa is Head of Policy and Commissioning for Surrey’s Police and Crime Commissioner, David Munro. She leads the PCC’s commissioning strategy and heads up a team focused on the policy areas of criminal justice, community safety and victims of crime.

Having worked in policing for nearly 16 years, she has a broad range of experience at both a local and national level, including leading the communication of major organisational change. Throughout Lisa’s career with the OPCC, she has used her knowledge and skill as a communicator to secure significant additional funding from central government for specialist victim services in Surrey, including for those affected by domestic abuse.

If you would like access to our Domestic Abuse Webinar, please email 

Due to the sensitive content, we are unable to post the Webinar online.


If you, or someone you know, has been affected by domestic abuse, please be assured help is available.

Contact the Surrey-wide Domestic Abuse helpline (available 7 days a week from 9am to 9pm) on 01483 776822 who can provide support and information to survivors, concerned friends/family members or professionals. An online chat service is also available at:

If you are worried that you may be using unhealthy and/or harmful strategies in your own relationship, contact Respect on 0808 8024040.

If you would like to report a crime, but do want to go to the police for whatever reason then please contact registered charity, Crimestoppers.

0800555 111 or via their on-line form


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Coming together to address Domestic Abuse in Surrey

3rd July 2020

“I hate to say it because it’s brought tragedy to so many, but the coronavirus has really lifted this old veil off of domestic abuse and has exposed it for what it is. It’s given people an opportunity to actually think about how awful it would be, because they’ve now experienced isolation.”


Charlotte Kneer is CEO of I Choose Freedom (formerly Reigate and Banstead Women’s Aid), a charity that accommodates and supports survivors in our four refuges across Surrey.

Charlotte felt “driven by force” to act when she heard about the lockdown restrictions in March. “I had just the biggest sense of connection to all the women that would be experiencing lockdown with their abusers.”


Hidden in Plain Sight

The coronavirus has devasted many communities, but Charlotte is glad to at least see much needed attention being paid to the issue of domestic abuse. “I think the very first step that we as a society and a community need is to stop believing that it is not our business to get involved. We need to make the private public because it is everyone’s business.”

In Surrey it is estimated there were 21,400 female victims of domestic abuse prior to the coronavirus crisis.[1] Frustratedly, Charlotte says “You know, the one thing I hear time and time again? Is that domestic abuse doesn’t happen in Surrey. And I can tell you that actually it does happen in Surrey – it happens across all socioeconomic groups, races, religions. There is no area of society that remains untouched by domestic abuse.”

Nationally, some estimate that the number of women killed doubled during lockdown.[2] The difference between a women surviving her abuse and being killed often rests in her ability to leave. Something that Charlotte states plainly, “I know that sounds awful, but that is the reality. This is what these women are fleeing from, the risk of murder.”

This has becoming increasingly difficult as the number of refuge bed spaces in England is 30% below what the Council of Europe recommends.[3]

According to Charlotte though, the county of Surrey is a “leading example” of a local authority that recognises the critical need of these safe refuge spaces for women. “I think that [when there is a needs assessment done] we will all find out that Surrey is providing what it should be providing and is a leading light in provision of refuge spaces.”

The New Refuge

Acting on the urgent calls from community groups, like Reigate and Banstead Women’s Aid and Your Sanctuary, Surrey County Council, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) and the Community Foundation for Surrey partnered to create a new building for survivors of domestic abuse.

Over £58,000 was awarded to the domestic abuse charity by the Community Foundation for Surrey. This funding came from the Foundation’s Coronavirus Response Fund Phase 2 grant-making, as well as from the Dora Fedoruk Memorial Fund and the Netherby Trust Fund, both managed by the Community Foundation. Extraordinarily, in the span of four weeks, a building provided by the Council has been fitted with all the benefits of home.

As Charlotte says, “We put a lot of pressure on ourselves really to get it open [for when lockdown ended] because I wanted to be open for when women may have their first opportunity to escape. Literally every friend and their dog has been helping out, getting this place up and running. I haven’t stopped working nights and weekends for the last six weeks really.”

They’ve been able to welcome eight families, with the scope of eventually growing to 20. The quick response by the Community Foundation for Surrey meant the families had all new soft furnishings and white goods. An absolutely vital detail according to Charlotte, “I stayed in a refuge years ago. My son was seven when we went, and I remember him being terrified of this big old building that we stayed in. He wouldn’t even go to the bedroom on his own. So I know that women need to arrive somewhere that feels homely and that makes them feel safe.”

There’s still much to be done. The capacity for the refuge means they must slowly accept new families, and within a minute of a space opening up it is filled. The weight of having to disappoint so many women is tough on Charlotte.

But she remains hopeful. She enjoys seeing what this new building means to the families living there.

“We’re still putting finishing touches to it, but we’ve had women and children come and they absolutely love it. It was important to make this place nice because I think it says to the women when they come in that you’re valued, that you’re worth it.”





Hidden in Plain Sight

Since July 2020, we have been running regular webinars looking at prevalent, yet hidden, local issues affecting Surrey.

They feature live interviews with charitable organisations the Community Foundation has supported, donors, and community experts on the issue being addressed.

Our webinar series continues into 2021. If you’d like to receive details of each webinar by email, please sign up to receive our communications here.

By any account, our home is one of the best places to live in England. With its vibrant towns, mature woodlands, affluence and ambition, Surrey is known across the UK for its quality of life.

We also know that this is only part of our story.

Behind closed doors, issues such as human trafficking and domestic abuse are rife. We’ve already learned that Surrey Police have recently opened 200 new investigations into human trafficking, and on average 28 domestic abuse crimes are reported to them everyday.

We know that there is a predicted 30% surge in demand for mental health services and the number of lonely and isolated people that make up our neighbourhoods continues to grow.

We know that Homelessness is a shocking rising issue, but one that does not surprise with the cost of living becoming forever unmanageable and the Covid-19 pandemic exacerbating circumstances.

Our Hidden in Plain Sight webinars bring together local people and voluntary sector experts to find meaningful solutions to Surrey’s prevalent, but hidden issues.

They are an opportunity to drive change and act now, to ensure that every individual in Surrey has hope.

Leadership is required to bring about meaningful sustainable change. For more than 15 years the Community Foundation for Surrey has brought together those wishing to give with those providing positive solutions. We urge you to join us, to address the pressing local issues, that have for too long, been hidden.

The series so far

You can find out more about what we heard, or access a recording to each of our webinars below – by clicking on the title!

1. Domestic Abuse

In Surrey, there are an estimated 35,400 victims of abuse, with 3,300 children visible to services as living in homes where there is domestic abuse.

We hear from one brave survivor, and how domestic abuse support services are quite literally a lifeline.

2. Children and Young People’s Mental Health

Of the 185,000 5-16 years olds in Surrey, statistics show over 23,000 children and young people are in need of help and support locally.

In Surrey, voluntary sector organisations are coming together to address the pressure for these services across the county.

3. Loneliness and Isolation

There are an estimated 232,000 people aged 65+ living in Surrey. Almost 60,000 of these live alone.

We hear from frontline charities Woking Age Concern and Farncombe Day Centre supporting our county’s lonely and isolated residents.

4. Human Trafficking

Surrey is in the top third of all police force areas in terms of the number of modern slavery victims coming forward.

Find out more about the ground-breaking partnership established with Justice and Care, Surrey Police and the Community Foundation to tackle this horrific crime.

5. The Truth About Poverty

Poverty can affect anyone. We know that in Surrey, 16% of households are classified as living in Poverty compared to 21% nationally.

Find out about the innovative methods adopted by East Surrey Poverty Truth Commission to bring people with lived experience together with those in positions of influence to change cultures and drive sustained change.

6. Homelessness

We can at any time fall into homelessness due to a series of unfortunate events. It is a complex and rising issue here in Surrey.

We know that from July–September 2020, there were 324 households assessed to be homeless in Surrey. 779 households were considered to be either homeless or threatened with homelessness in the next 56 days.

Learn more from the inspirational charities working on the frontlines to ensure the pandemic does not result in more individuals and families facing life on the streets – and the small, practical steps, we can each take to empower and support local people to access safe and affordable housing.

Together we can learn how we can support Surrey’s most vulnerable.


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Vacancy: Director of Philanthropy

18th June 2020

We have an exciting opportunity for a Director of Philanthropy to join our team and help us make a difference in Surrey!

Job Title: Director of Philanthropy

Salary: Up to £40,000 dependent upon experience

Contract: Permanent

Hours: Full-time

Location: Surrey

The Community Foundation for Surrey brings together local donors and those acting to provide positive community solutions to local challenges across Surrey. The Foundation was established in 2005 and has generated over £28 million in this time. The Foundation has ambitious plans for growth over the coming five years to substantially increase the levels of support it can give.

Charisma Recruitment Agency is working in partnership with the Foundation to appoint the new Director of Philanthropy. The successful candidate will be a dynamic individual, with vision to see new opportunities, grow income and work alongside the CEO, the senior management team and the trustees to deliver the new strategic plan.

In order to succeed in this role, you will be able to demonstrate:

  • experience of exemplary donor led stewardship to achieve income targets
  • ability to engage, motivate and inspire staff and volunteers
  • experience of strategic oversight and leadership
  • excellent ability to network, build relationships and influence internal and external stakeholders
  • excellent verbal and written communication skills

Reporting to the CEO, you will be a natural leader, have proven development experience with the ability to deliver financial targets against a growth strategy.

You will be professional and approachable with a commitment to quality and attention to detail. If you feel you have the skills and experience to succeed in this role, we very much look forward to hearing from you.

To apply please submit your CV and supporting statement as soon as possible to quoting our reference JO2770.

For any further information, please contact Adam Stacey on 0207 998 8888 or 01962 813300.

Closing date for applications: 13 July
First interview date: Week commencing 27 July
Second interview date: Week commencing 3 August 

Emergency Response to lockdown

12th June 2020

When the early talks of a lockdown were underway, Pam Whittingham was already thinking about how to gather community volunteers. She called her local councillor, Cllr Jeremy Pursehouse, in Warlingham and set up a meeting in order to have a few people over to make a plan.

“He said, ‘I’ll bring a couple of people with me’ and twelve people turned up!” The meeting, which took place in her sitting room, formed the committee that now functions as the Coronavirus Aid in Chelsham, Farleigh, Warlingham (CACFW). Right then they came up with a plan to organise volunteers to deliver shopping and prescriptions to hundreds of residents in the community who would have to shield-in.

At the same time in Brockham a similar conversation was taking place. Members of Brockham Emergency Response Team (BERT), an organisation that came together in 2013 during severe floods, held an urgent meeting at the pub.

Craig Scott, a trustee at BERT says, “We knew that we needed a volunteer force, but we didn’t know what services to deliver yet. So that evening, one of the trustees designed a leaflet. Within 24-30 hours, we were leafleting thousands in the village and that has resulted in a volunteer force of about 188 people.”

It was only a few days on when it became clear to each organisation they were going to need to somehow get urgent supplies to residents.

The volunteers at BERT anticipated that at least a third of Brockham would require delivery services or foodbank support over the coming months. Similarly, CACFW anticipated needing to organise delivery and prescription delivery to 1000 vulnerable residents.

Reaching so many people this quickly meant both groups had to endure their growing pains whilst also providing community support. There was simply no time to waste.

Craig continues, “The first two weeks in lockdown were probably amongst the most intense two weeks of my life because we were getting huge numbers of requests for prescriptions, particularly. But we didn’t have the systems or procedures in place just yet. So we were doing ‘the doing’ as well as trying to set things up!”

The Community Foundation for Surrey awarded grants quickly to these organisations, ensuring they could manage through the intense spike in demand and juggle all the unknowns.

Twelve weeks on, both organisations are now working like “well-oiled machines” and they are observing how their community’s needs are shifting. Initially the issue was the scarcity of produce and medication, but now CACFW and BERT are seeing the effects of months of furloughed workers. Samantha Rider, Volunteer Fundraiser at BERT says, “We’ve got a lot of people losing their jobs.” Grant adds, “For every person dropping off [from food aid support], of which there aren’t many, there are still a number coming on. We’ve gone from 90 to 160 [supported households]. Looking at the next three to six months, I think that trend will continue to go up and up because there isn’t a solution over the next six months for financial hardship. You know, it’s only going to get worse for more people.”

The Community Foundation for Surrey is aware that the effects of this virus will be long lasting and far reaching. It is crucial that we stay vigilant in our support for community groups; organisations like CACFW and BERT have been important eyes and ears on the frontline. But as Samantha outlines, it’s imperative that we continue to support charities and community groups that go beyond the doorstep services of CACFW and BERT:

“I think one of the biggest challenges that we haven’t met is the terrible loneliness of the very elderly in our village. We’ve got people who are 90 and recently bereaved who are dealing with that. So we can get food to them, we can get prescriptions to them, but they’re locked in their houses without knowing when that’s going to end. With so little social contact. It’s tough.”

Even though the last few months have been some of the most challenging for these groups, the volunteers are still smiling; as Pam from CACFW declared, “I’ve really enjoyed meeting all these people, not just volunteers, but talking to the residents. It’s just been absolutely delightful. I just don’t know what I’m going to do at the end of it all. I’m going to be bereft!”