A stand out year for the ‘Social’ in ESG investing

24th May 2022

The end of the last decade brought with it one of the most difficult years for investors of all hues, but it marked a watershed moment for ESG investing, which moved firmly from the periphery to centre stage.

The E (environmental) has been prominent for several years, but it was the S (social) which had the stand out year, also resulting indirectly in greater focus being given to the G (governance).

The pandemic has clearly highlighted the social inequities and injustice that exist within the current global financial and economic system. For example there has been no shortage of scrutiny on global supply chains, with several industries rocked by high profile cases of labour exploitation, including within the fast fashion, FinTech and industrial materials sectors.

  1. It’s time to put people at the heart of investment decisions

The rise in prominence of social issues has meant that investors are now putting more difficult questions to companies on important issues such as labour and business relations, minimum wage, employee training and development and welfare. Human capital, long absent from balance sheets, is now being recognised on par with other more tangible items such as plant equipment and machinery. This will prove vital as the global economy rapidly moves into its next phase; increased digitalisation, which in no small part has been accelerated by the pandemic. The need to recruit, develop, train and retain human capital will be at the core of resilient business models. This augurs well for ESG investors who give such focus to social issues over the next decade and beyond, where the human capital will not only be a key innovator, but also an important driver of consumer behaviour.

  1. Engagement with companies remains key

As the pandemic has changed the way we eat, drink, socialise, exercise, travel, learn and work in a profound and lasting way, this same impact has been felt by many companies; businesses have had to perform a dramatic shift in how they engage with their employers, suppliers, customers and investors. For the latter group, it has provided an opportunity for responsible and sustainable investors to reinforce the benefits of using an ESG criteria; when making key decisions on investing in companies, but also importantly when engaging with companies on ESG issues and on divesting from unsuitable names. Investors have never had such opportunity to engage with company management on a wide variety of ESG issues, and this new and improved alignment of both stakeholders should help to deliver long-term investment returns to shareholders over the coming decade.

  1. Could this be the next ‘roaring 20s’?

Rapid digitalisation across a wide range of industries, from traditional cyclical parts of the economy to the newly emerging sub-sectors remains a key catalyst for ESG investors to watch. The “roaring” 1920s were spurred on by the rapid uptake of electrification in then newly emerging industries and there is every possibility that rapid digitisation by all parts of the current economy will lead to another “roaring 20s” in this next decade. A more engaged consumer has led to greater changes in consumption patterns, driven in large part by these digital tailwinds. There are now a diverse range of providers in the market place allowing investors a greater choice in terms of investment style and philosophy. It also brings about increased awareness of responsible and sustainable investing, and adds further momentum to ESG investing in the medium to long-term.

  1. You don’t need to give up performance to keep your values

The performance of ESG funds during the pandemic was another highlight for the sector, with 1 in 5 of all 1st quartile funds in the UK All Companies sector being screened. The performance story is also strong over the longer time horizon, which will help to fight off the age old misguided criticism levelled against ESG funds, where investors were forced to give up performance to keep their values. That whole myth has well and truly been debunked.

  1. The future looks bright for ESG investors

Suffice to say, 2022 heralds the start of an exciting new era for the industry, driven by more active and engaged participants entering the market.

About Eden Tree

EdenTree are proud to be part of the Benefact Group – a charity owned, international family of specialist financial services companies that give all available profits to charity and good causes. We are a responsible and sustainable investment manager with a strong heritage of delivering Performance with Principles. Read more about Eden Tree.

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About the Community Foundation for Surrey

The Community Foundation for Surrey is a philanthropic charity, who for over 15 years has been bringing together local donors and those acting to provide positive solutions in our communities for local people.

Discover more about Giving with the Community Foundation for Surrey and the range of options available.

If you would like to find out more about giving with the Community Foundation for Surrey, our Director of Philanthropy, Claire Heath would be delighted to speak with you. You can contact Claire by calling 01483 906383 or email at Claire@CFSurrey.org.uk

 

Top 10 tips to remember when applying for a grant

28th April 2022

With the deadline for applications for our Wellbeing application round coming up at 9.00 am on Monday 25th July 2022, we’ve asked our Director of Grant making, Kate Peters, to share her Top 10 tips that applicants can put into practice when applying for a grant.  

The first thing of course is to get in touch by completing an Expression of Interest – this is a short form on our website where you can tell us about your funding needs. Please submit your Expression of Interest by 9am on Monday 11th July.

From this information our grants team can advise you if there is a match with one or more of our family of donor funds. If there is a good match, we will invite you submit a full application. This helps us to save your time and means that currently 75% of full applications are successful.

If you want to be in the 75%, putting together a good application is vital for your success.

Here are Top 10 tips to remember when applying for a grant.

  1. Get your governance sorted – do you have a financial policy and safeguarding policy? Is your Trustee board supportive and knowledgeable? No one chooses to work in a charity because they like admin, but ensuring you have your ‘ducks in a row’ is vital for your success and securing support from Trusts and Foundations.
  2. Plan your project – if you have taken time to plan and review your work applying for funding will be easy. You will have all the answers!
  3. Understand and explain the need– one of the challenges facing groups seeking funding in Surrey is the lack of awareness of the needs hidden in our community. Make sure you tell us how you know there is a real need for your work.
  4. Explain the difference you will make – what difference will what you do make to the lives of the people you support? Being able to describe things will be better because of your work is the magic which will make our donors want to support you.
  5. Consider the impact! – how will you know if it is working? Show how you will measure the difference you are making. Start small – don’t collect arbitrary data and keep learning at the heart of the process.
  6. Answer the questions – application forms are not fun but the questions on the form will give you a clue as to how the Funder will make decisions about who to fund.  Make sure you answer the questions, just like in an exam!
  7. Keep it simple – remember your reader does not know your project. What is obvious to you may be a surprise to a donor, so keep it simple and clear, no jargon or acronyms.
  8. Tell your story – no numbers without stories, no stories without numbers – a case study can be the most compelling element of your application, back it up with evidence, and you are on to a winner.
  9. Proof-read you application – get someone else to read your application before you hit submit, preferably someone who doesn’t know your project as well as you. They will spot any errors.
  10. Speak from the heart – you can connect with donors by putting your unique, human voice into your application.

Discover more about our Applying for funding.

Start your application today by sending us an Expression of Interest 

FUND IN FOCUS: What is a Corporate Fund?

29th March 2022

The Community Foundation for Surrey partners with a number of businesses, small and large, to ensure their community donations get to where they are most needed in Surrey. Setting up a Corporate Fund is a tremendous opportunity for companies to be more socially responsible and to help their communities through corporate philanthropy. At the same time companies with successful corporate philanthropy strategies receive impactful benefits not only for their brand and their workforce, but also for their bottom line as their reputation in enhanced in the mind of their customers (1).

The SES Water Community Fund is one of our range of Corporate Funds and in this article we’ll look at the background and the impact that the Fund is making to the lives of people in the region.

The SES Water Community Fund

SES Water supplies 160 million litres of clean water every day to over 735,000 people in parts of Surrey, Kent and south London. Their supply area is 322 square miles extending from Morden and South Croydon in the north to Gatwick Airport in the south and from Cobham, Leatherhead and Dorking in the west to Edenbridge in the east. Importantly, SES Water doesn’t just supply water, its customers expect the Company to make a valuable contribution to its communities too, and one of the ways it does this is through its Community Foundation for Surrey Fund which was first set up in 2019.

Helping people most in need

The Community Fund gives SES employees the chance to get involved in making decisions about which grants are awarded locally

The fund awards grants twice a year in July and January and focuses on projects within the area of SES Water operations to the east of Surrey. Since it was set up it has awarded over £90,000 of funding to local groups working on the following issues:

  • Young People – supporting positive opportunities for young people to gain confidence and raise aspirations through training and the development of new skills.
  • Vulnerable people – supporting families in need and older people through local projects which combat social isolation and disadvantage.
  • Environment – supporting community environmental projects (such as, for example, community gardens), including conservation and restoring wildlife habitats.
How the SES Community Fund is making a difference

Here are three organisations that have benefited from the SES Community Fund.

Volunteer It Yourself

Volunteer It Yourself combines DIY and volunteering by challenging young people aged 14-24 to help repair and refurbish youth and community facilities, while learning vocational trade skills on the job. VIY participants are mentored by local professional tradespeople and can work towards and gain Entry Level City & Guilds trade skills accreditations. The majority of young people who take part are disengaged or excluded from mainstream education and training, and/or unemployed.

CEO of Volunteer It Yourself, Tim Reading, said:

“VIY is very grateful for SES Water’s funding of our work via the Surrey Community Foundation. Through this support SES Water has enabled the refurbishment and improvement of two valued community facilities – Merstham Cricket Club and the Amber Foundation Residential Centre in Ockley. It has enabled 34 young people to gain hands-on work experience and training in construction, half of whom have successfully achieved an Entry Level City & Guilds Accreditation through taking part. The vast majority of these young people were not in education, employment or training upon joining VIY, and so through its support SES Water has helped some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged young people in Surrey to boost their skills and employability. 

“SES Water’s support has also helped unlock further match funding from Sport England, Travis Perkins and Dulux across these two refurbishment projects.”

Citizens Advice Epsom & Ewell

Citizens Advice is a network of independent, local charities that helps people resolve the problems they face in life. It provides information and advice to everyone who needs it, and influences government and organisations to bring about changes in policies and laws that affect people’s lives.

Chief Executive Officer for Citizens Advice Epsom & Ewell, Lisa Davis, told us about the impact of the funding:

“We are thrilled to have been awarded this grant that will greatly impact upon the lives of those with severe and enduring mental health conditions. The funding will ensure that they have access to the advice and information needed to obtain entitled benefits, manage their finances and avoid homelessness – leading to them feeling less stressed and better able to cope.”

Abigail’s Footsteps

Abigail’s Footsteps is a Baby Bereavement Counselling charity in Redhill that provides support and specialist counselling for bereaved parents and families. Grief is intolerable following the death of a baby, and mothers are at risk of experiencing post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression. This project offers parents six free specialist baby loss counselling sessions.
Research shows that counselling can significantly make a difference to grieving couples by supporting and improving mental and emotional wellbeing of parents and the rest of the family. If parents have living children, it is vital to explore the impact of baby loss on the family unit. Even if a sibling is a toddler, young children sense ‘something is wrong’, it is common to see a change in their behaviour because of this. Counselling can help parents strike a balance with acknowledging and mourning the lost baby without overshadowing the living child.

Here is some feedback from Faye Hill, Head of Operations & Events for Abigail’s Footsteps:

“Thanks to the SES Water fund we have extended our baby loss counselling programme into Surrey. With their help we can now support 12 families who have experienced a late miscarriage, stillbirth or neo-natal death by delivering over 80 individual sessions. The outcome we want to see from this programme is for all bereaved families to receive specialist bereavement support designed specifically for them from qualified experts. This in turn will ensure a more cohesive family unit where all family members can support each other.”

Next steps

Discover more about setting up your Corporate Fund with the Community Foundation for Surrey

Please contact our Director of Philanthropy, Claire Heath by calling 01483 906383.

 

Reference (1) San Diego Foundation, 2021 https://bit.ly/3K2haHW

FUND IN FOCUS: What is a Legacy Fund?

21st March 2022

The Community Foundation for Surrey has the honour of administering several funds that have been provided as a legacy in memory of someone to whom Surrey was once home. Legacy funds are an important way of giving that make a contribution to future generations. The Dora Fedoruk Fund is a fitting memorial.

 

Dora Fedoruk’s life

Dora was a remarkable lady whose legacy is still having a profound impact on the county she lived in. An outstanding scholar gaining a master’s degree in just one year at UCL before the war, she was very much in evidence during the war in home defences and after the war helping with the Polish refugee situation by giving a temporary home to many. She worked with Oppenheimer’s team in London as a chemical assistant and met her husband Jan Fedoruk on the London Underground after realising they both worked at the same firm – Peak Frean & Co Biscuits.

With little or no money, she and Jan built up a farm in Grayswood near Haslemere, Surrey, a hard-working life dominated by their animals. Their farm was very much a working farm both livestock and arable (surviving two bouts of the dreaded ‘foot and mouth’) and she was still tending cattle well into her eighties despite having had two hip replacements! At the same time her farm was open house to the community. She was generous to a fault in helping others. Her philosophy would embrace those in hardship as well as work involving animals and their protection and rescue.

Her nephew Adrian is still involved in the fund and in memory of his aunt’s determination to help refugees we have recently awarded funding to YMCA East Surrey towards the translation of a welcome pack for unaccompanied asylum seeking children into various different languages for residents at Hillbrook House which offers secure and affordable accommodation to young people aged 16-30 in housing crisis. Currently around half of the beds are being used to provide emergency or long-term accommodation to Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children, who are aged 16-17, seeking asylum from persecution and have no responsible adult to care for them.

What does the fund support?

The Dora Fedoruk fund awards grants four times a year and likes to support small grassroots groups working with:

People who are facing hardship or who are at a time of need or crisis, for example people suffering from domestic abuse or from drug or alcohol addiction;

• Young people to increase their opportunities, skills and confidence;

• People who are homeless; and

• People in need of help being supported with the assistance of animals

  • Disabilities

“Working with the Community Foundation for Surrey makes it easy to continue the legacy of my aunt, they help me by researching and identifying local organisation who are really reaching those most in need. A lot of need is hidden in Surrey and the Community Foundation help to shine a spotlight on where my Aunt’s legacy can make the most impact”.Adrian , Nepthew of Dora Fedoruk

How this fund is making a difference

Here are just two of the charities that have been awarded grants by the Dora Fedoruk fund:

Your Sanctuary

Funding toward the essential running costs of a charity that provides support services to women who have been affected by domestic violence in Surrey. Your Sanctuary provides refuge, outreach and helpline support services and has seen a 200% increase in demand during the lockdown periods.

Rentstart

Funding towards providing loans to homeless clients. The project enabled us to loan client’s the Rent In Advance (RIA) to our client group, without this they are unable to access the PRS which for many after failed social and supported accommodation tenancies, is there only housing option.

The homeless and vulnerability housed are especially susceptible to catching coronavirus, and those with ‘multiple and complex’ needs e.g. addiction, poor mental and physical health even more so. As even when this client group do not fall into the ‘shielding’ or ‘extremely vulnerable’ categories, they are very ‘high risk’, as they suffer from increased poor mental health and/or from underlying health conditions than the general public. Our scheme adopts a Housing Frist ethos, in that safe and stable housing is the starting point to allow our client group to then address their issues and move away from their chaotic lives. They are supported by in in this endeavour via our ecosystem of partner agencies. In providing access to the PRS, we’re not only assisting the client but the wider community e.g. clients suffering physical or mental health issues are likely to experience improved health, an alcoholic can avoid the pressures of the street culture of drinking or an ex-offender will benefit by obtaining self-respect. With a fixed address, our clients will be able to enter the job market, build normal relationships, rebuild family ties and participate in community life.

In addition, the Dora Fedoruk fund has helped fund the Cellar Cafe and Mane Chance charities several times.

Case study of beneficiary

When Bill* first approached us he was rough sleeping, He had recently experienced a relationship breakdown and was struggling emotionally and physically. A cable engineer by trade, he lost his job due to the pandemic and was forced to return to the family home in Spelthorne.

He had fortnightly weekend access to meet with his two-year old daughter. On one occasion, whilst his daughter was visiting, there was a family argument involving the dog. Bill believed that the dog had bitten his daughter – his pride and joy. There was some disagreement, which rapidly escalated and resulted in him being asked to leave. Bill believes it was time for him to leave anyway, and that the incident had pushed him to do it. Whilst in the process of moving, Bill crashed his friend’s car, he reversed into something and wasn’t insured.

To add to his woes, he now owed his friend £300, which would have to come out of his monthly Universal Credit benefit. Bill had zero savings and no support network to turn to for assistance during this awful period in his life. Identified as a rough sleeper, we were able to swiftly source a self-contained property in Staines, which would give Bill a fresh start and the ability to maintain the special relationship he has with daughter. Since being housed Bill has been thriving. He has reconnected and built bridges with his family and is back in employment but most important of all to him, he is enjoying being a daddy again.

*Name changed for confidentiality reasons

 

“You changed my life. You were there when there was nobody else, I can’t thank you enough”

Bill Thomas*, beneficiary of the Dora Fedoruk fund

 

To find out more, click here to read our Legacy information sheet

To discuss leaving a Legacy gift with the Community Foundation for Surrey, please contact our Director of Philanthropy, Claire Heath by calling 01483 906383.

Support for Local Young People

2nd March 2022

The Community Foundation for Surrey supports a number of funds that have been set up to specifically help individuals in need across Surrey – the Surrey Young People’s Fund provides a lifeline to our disadvantaged young people. Nick Brooks, Chairman of the Surrey Young People’s Fund, tells us more…

We established the Surrey Young People’s Fund (SYPF) in October 2014 to support disadvantaged young people in Surrey gain access to training and employment. We bring together a strong alliance of donors, referrers of young people towards our fund, and a network of experienced volunteers covering the county, to undertake assessments of applicants. Grants are awarded by an experienced panel of volunteers who have a passion for assisting local young people to improve their employment prospects. Our volunteer assessors are an essential part of our offering, and aim to meet each applicant to discuss their background and explore their aspirations in order to better understand whether their application can proceed, and whether additional or alternative support could be beneficial to enable them to achieve their objectives.

“I was invited to join SYPF as a volunteer assessor to fill a gap because the east of the county was under-represented on the SYPF panel. I had an immediate appreciation of the need in parts of Surrey where some of the most privileged live in very close proximity to some of the most disadvantaged in our society. There are very compelling reasons for me to be involved: styled as the fund being a provider of grants to young people who have identified a pathway towards employment but who are struggling to find often limited financial assistance to pursue that goal, I relish the chance to be the representative who can say “yes, we can help”, to see the young people light up with the realisation that their dream can be realisable, and to feel that we’ve helped a young person potentially on their way to financial independence and a sense of self-worth.”

Anna Briggs, Vice Chair of SYPF

 

“I joined SYPF having seen an advert for volunteer assessors while I was looking for a way to contribute to my local community. With its mission to help disadvantaged young people (who are often hidden by the impression that Surrey is home only to the affluent) get on in life, SYPF ticked all the boxes for me. I’ve been part of the team since 2016 and love the collaborative way assessors work, learning from each other’s experiences to ensure we give the best support, financial as well as signposting better opportunities to the young people we help, who now number in the hundreds across Surrey. It can be challenging at times, but it is a very rewarding experience, and I am proud to play my small part in achieving our aims.”

Andrew Whitby-Collins, SYPF volunteer

 

SYPF provides vital funding for individuals (aged 16-25 inclusive) who are resident in Surrey with the purpose to assist young people to move towards an identified goal in education, training, apprenticeship, or employment.

Grants from the Fund will typically be up to £300 and will fund items that will directly enhance the young person’s employability skills, such as;

  • assisting them to obtain qualifications, certificates or licenses,
  • developing vocational or technical skills, or
  • providing self-development opportunities that improve social skills, motivation and confidence

We are pleased to typically provide between 65 and 90 grants per year, directly supporting disadvantaged young people to support them to improve their lives

 

Showing what a difference SYPF can make to a young person’s prospects

A young person in the care system

“Since I received my laptop it’s been a tremendous help, especially since having to do college work online in 2020. In my progress meeting with my teachers, they all tell me I’m a top student and all my coursework is done on time and up to the standard. I couldn’t have done this well if I hadn’t received a laptop because it would have been impossible to do my coursework on my phone.”

This young person successfully completed her Level 3 course, has continued her studies at college, and is working part-time with an offer to move full-time with the same employer when her course finishes.

 

Struggling with poor mental health

A young person who had a number of mental health challenges and who struggled in conventional education was supported to attend the Therapy Garden, where he thrived and discovered a passion for gardening and horticulture. He received guidance and support whilst at Therapy Garden and displayed significant personal development whilst there.

SYPF contributed towards the course costs to ensure he was able to stay at the Therapy Garden. He has now successfully applied to attend Merrist Wood College to move towards obtaining a qualification in either landscape gardening or horticulture.

 

Please note: The Fund is a funder of last resort and applicants will be expected to have been unable to obtain funding from other sources. Our funds are limited and so we may not be able to award a grant for all of the funding requested. In addition, our experienced assessors discuss with professional referrers from other agencies how best to provide support to the young person.

 

Working together to support the SYPF fund

The Surrey Young People’s Fund is one of our collective giving funds – meaning that anyone can contribute funding to support it. We know there are many more disadvantaged young people across the county who we want to reach out to. Work together with us to support our endeavors to reach these young people – you can donate now to ensure this fund never has to turn anyone away!

Together we can.

 

If you are interested in donating to the Fund, please contact us for more information on 01483 478092 – thank you. 

Follow the Surrey Young People’s Fund on Twitter using @SYPFund to stay up to date!

Celebrating LGBT+ History Month in Surrey

1st February 2022

LGBT+ History Month is an annual celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history, and the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements. This awareness month champions role models, builds community, and represents a civil rights statement about the contributions of the LGBT+ community.

Research tells us that LGBT+ communities face a multitude of challenges, especially for young people who identify as LGBT+ as they deal with not being able to express themselves, fear of not being accepted and mental health challenges to name a few.

The University of Cambridge research for Stonewall in The School Report (2017) found that:

  • Nearly half of LGBT+ young people (45%) – including 64% of transgender young people – are bullied at school or college for being LGBT+.
  • LGBT+ children and young people experience particularly high rates of poor mental health. Three in five of these young people have deliberately harmed themselves at some point. For transgender young people, this figure is 84%.

At the Community Foundation for Surrey, we are pleased to fund local organisations and charities across the county, that are supporting and championing LGBT+ communities.

 

The Eikon Charity provides long-term support to some of Surrey’s most vulnerable young people. They work with young people directly in schools and communities, one-to-one, in groups and clubs – enabling them to deliver services that improve young people’s physical and emotional wellbeing and mental health.

We are proud to have awarded the children’s charity £10,000 for their LGBT+ support services – helping local young people both online and face-to-face, offering advice, peer assistance and signposting. Their “iAmMe” groups provide a confidential place for young people (aged 12-18) to be themselves and have fun in a supportive environment, as well as through online services, such as group pages that offer support, advice and guidance for their service users and their families.

The aim of the session is to promote inclusion and provide a safe space where young people can talk and offer topical discussions and information about the needs of the LGBT+ community. The session enable young people referred to their service through Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHs) to explore their identity, build confidence and resilience and gives them a sense of self-worth and belonging, thereby having a positive impact on their wellbeing and mental health.

In doing so, the group also aims to raise awareness in the community and reduce prejudice and discrimination by empowering the young people to make positive changes in their school and community, as well as encouraging their peers to do the same.

“Having this space helped me to own myself and develop confidence in myself. I feel much more confident about my sexuality. By learning to acknowledge myself, I am confident in sharing that with people and being who I was born to be.”

LGBT+ young person – The Eikon Charity

“Working with EIKON’s “iAmMe” group is hugely rewarding. Seeing young people beam with excitement whilst expressing and exploring their identities in a safe space is a joy. It is such a privilege to be a part of this group, that is making such a huge difference to the lives of young people across Surrey.”

Volunteer – The Eikon Charity

Having supportive safe spaces are vital for young people from any community or background. As we know, when Coronavirus made its way into our health and our homes, restrictions also limited the social interaction we were allowed to undertake.

This was a particularly difficult time for many, especially voluntary and community groups who had to pause vital face to face support services.

 

Outline, based in Woking, provides confidential support to people with their sexuality and gender identity, including but not limited to the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and trans community of surrey, primarily through a helpline, website and support groups. However, like many charities where their model is physically focused, amidst the pandemic, they were forced to reassess how they could continue to offer their services to reach local young people requiring assistance, many of whom were now isolating.

The Community Foundation was pleased to award Outline a grant for IT equipment and essential running costs.

“Through the Community Foundation for Surrey COVID-19 grant, Outline was able to mobilise a remote working option for our Helpline Services, which ensured we could keep going with our support as normal. The funding enabled the purchase of IT hardware and costs associated with keeping the charity running whilst also developing the technology platforms we had available.”

Darren Garland-Bonner – Outline

This funding not only enabled the charity to recover from the immediate shut down effects of face-to-face services, but also helped them to build a more sustainable model better able to handle physical location challenges they, like many other charities, were then experiencing.

Outline offer a confidential LGBT+ telephone helpline, that is open Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings, run by volunteers, and offers advice and guidance on all areas surrounding sexual orientation including sexual health, inter-personal relationships, equal opportunities and discrimination.

People contact Outline for a number of reasons ranging from worries about coming out to friends and family, to advice on how to meet like-minded people in the LGBT+ community. The charity provides a non-judgemental and supportive service to all callers, whether they are from the LGBT+ community themselves or are calling from the perspective of a concerned friend or relative.

Outline wants their clients to feel comfortable talking about sexuality and gender identity in any way that is most comfortable to them.

Contact Outline’s Help Service on 01483 727667

We know that accessible, specialist services embedded in the community are fundamental to ensuring that children and young people can seek the care 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.

“Together, youth workers and LGBT+ young people play a major role in tackling discrimination and changing the hearts and minds of others within our society. Whether running community campaigns, training professionals and volunteers, or improving our public services, LGBT+ groups are an astonishing force for change.” – The Eikon Charity

If you are in need for funding for support addressing this theme, please visit https://www.cfsurrey.org.uk/applyforfunding/ to learn how CFS may be able to help.

Optimism for the Year Ahead

26th January 2022

It is hard to believe that it is two years since we all received such a seismic shock to our lives; for me, the 6 months since joining the Community Foundation in July 2021 have simply flown by. Many of us have adapted well to the strange new world, even enjoying having perhaps a little more time in our days if we are no longer commuting to work. We are gradually, albeit in a limited way during the current Omicron situation, beginning to enjoy the things we used to, like trips to the theatre, going out to dinner and visiting relatives. But of course, for those of us living with hardship and challenges, the effects of the pandemic are still reverberating, and life has become exponentially more difficult.

Coronavirus has changed the way we all understand the places that mean the most to us – working at home has meant that we have, perhaps for the first time, spent time in our neighbourhoods. We’ve used local shops, walked local streets (or in my case local hills), met neighbours and been confronted with some of the issues that face our communities, but which were previously invisible to us.

I wanted to get involved in CFS because, in 2008 after viewing Surrey primarily through the window of a London commuter train, I took on the role of leading a youth charity in the county and had my eyes opened to just how difficult life was for many children and young people in our county. I was outraged at the huge differences in life opportunities in our county. But I also got to meet many other charities and community organisations working tirelessly to reach those most disadvantaged in Surrey, so I also felt incredibly optimistic that we have the tools to make a real difference and ensure no one, whether young or old, is left behind in our area.

Using their deep knowledge of their local communities, working with empathy and kindness, community organisations have really stepped up during the pandemic. They have provided help to parts of the county that others simply couldn’t reach. And in our turn, CFS staff and volunteers have also stepped up to rapidly and sympathetically, provide funding where it is most needed and can have most impact; trusting our community partners to advise us of the need. The single phrase that really struck me in my first month here was ‘We Care’ – our donors, our volunteers and our staff are all working so hard to help this wonderful, vibrant group of charities and community organisations that keep our county from falling to its knees.

The challenges we have faced these last two years have also necessitated working differently in many ways – and it is so important that we do not lose the best of that, nor our commitment to continue, grow, develop and adapt based on what we have learnt.

 

  • We have worked in partnership with the community and voluntary sector, listening to how we can best help them and where the most need is – we will continue to listen, learn and adapt our processes to be more open and accessible to all.
    • We have reviewed and refined our grants processes – we will continue to strive to make our funding more accessible.
    • We have piloted a programme of Funder Plus volunteers, – we have plans to grow the scheme to provide skilled volunteers to support grassroots charities.

 

  • We have taken the lead to bring funders together around common areas of need, working in partnership with others in the county to ensure that we are focussing all our efforts on where they are most needed – we will continue to convene, challenge and work in partnership on the big issues.
    • We are growing ‘funding movements’ around young people’s mental health and around environment and sustainability because such issues are too critical for us to continue to work in isolation

 

  • We quickly came together to raise and distribute vital emergency funding at the most critical time, and now, with a focus to provide grants to organisations battling the ongoing and new challenges arising as a result of the pandemic, positioning ourselves as a place-based funder in Surrey for the long-term. Our donors trust us to help them to give well in our county because we are committed to understanding not just how we can help right now, but also to shining a light on the most difficult and long-term problems faced by our communities and encouraging everyone to get involved in solving them.
    • We have developed new ways for new donors to engage with us – we continue to support our donors on a donor journey that lasts decades, learning together about how best to help our community.
    • We are growing our local area fund network to ensure we reach all the hidden areas of the county with our support
    • We are developing exciting new corporate partnerships such as our recent Shepperton Community Fund which enable us to work in partnership with our business community

 

From the incredible response we had to our Coronavirus Response Fund, to this winter’s campaign to donate to support those in poverty, we know that our supporters care just as much as we do about improving the quality of life for everyone in Surrey, to ensure everyone has hope. I remain optimistic as we look forward this 2022, and as we strive to continue and improve on the great foundations we have already built. Working together there is so much we can achieve – thank you to everyone who is part of our very special Community Foundation for Surrey community.

If you are interested in learning more, or would like to support, please contact us on 01483 478092.

 

A ‘home away from home’ amidst the pandemic

7th September 2021

Oakleaf is a mental health charity based in Guildford that supports adults aged 16-67 who are struggling with their mental health. The charity’s number one priority is to help combat mental ill-health by providing support to their clients through work-related training, wellbeing activities, counselling, and one-to-one emotional support.

The organisation also acts as a social enterprise; therefore, their garden maintenance department not only creates skill-based training for clients, but also sells its services to the public, generating additional income.

Now that COVID-19 restrictions have eased, they have moved to a ‘blended model’ of delivery, providing support both virtually and in-person. With the year behind us, we caught up with the team at Oakleaf to discover how our Coronavirus Response Fund has helped both their clients and their staff during what has certainly been a memorable year.

Kelvin, Oakleaf’s Outreach Engagement Project Lead and coach of the Oakleaf football team ‘The Mighty Oaks’, describes some of the challenges Oakleaf faced over the past 18 months and how they managed to ensure that everyone still had access to the help they needed.

“At Oakleaf, we aim to make our services accessible to all, but of course from the start of COVID-19 much of our support had to be delivered remotely, meaning we had to form a separate, online community for clients. The funding we received from the Community Foundation for Surrey really helped ensure Oakleaf could develop and maintain remote support throughout the pandemic; it also meant we could accommodate more clients, including those now too anxious to attend face-to-face sessions or who resided further away.

“When we went into lockdown, a lot of organisations either decided to or were forced to close due to lack of funding and resources. We were initially really concerned as to whether Oakleaf would financially make it through this.

“Moreover, the stress and the social disruption caused by the pandemic left many of our clients feeling lost, lonely, anxious, depressed and uncertain about the future.

“Very fortunately, the funding we received from the Community Foundation at the beginning of the pandemic and thereafter enabled us to continue running our services and be proactive in our approach. We were able to facilitate Check-In and Chat sessions with our clients on a daily basis during the lockdown period, both online and over the phone, providing them with regular updates on our services and all other avenues of support based on each individual’s needs.

“As a team, we felt that it was incredibly important that we were – and still are – able to send the message that no matter what, support is out there. Help is always available, whether that be through Oakleaf, your GP, friends and family, crisis lines or emergency support services like the Guildford Safe Haven.

“Alongside our check-in sessions, we worked with our activity leaders to come up with interactive courses and workshops that we could run from people’s homes and gardens. For example, one of our upholstery assistants, Netty, came up with the fantastic idea of forming a group for clients to create Spring Bulb Planters – one where they could come together and experience nature in a virtual capacity while adding a little colour (if they were to grow successfully) to their lives, particularly during these uncertain times.

“We were essentially able to provide a ‘home away from home’ for clients alongside our virtual activities and support groups, including art therapy, cooking and nutrition, fitness classes, choir, yoga, anxiety management workshops and many more – all of which would have been impossible to run without the support we received through the Coronavirus Response Fund.

“As we continue through 2021, I’m sure I can speak on behalf of the entire Oakleaf family and say a huge thank you to CFS for your generous ongoing support of Oakleaf; we are so very grateful, particularly at a time when conversations surrounding mental health are needed more than ever. We continue to do all we can to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of mental ill-health in Surrey.”

 

If you or someone you know is struggling, and would benefit from using Oakleaf’s services, please visit their website: oakleaf-enterprise.org

 

Seeing the person behind the statistic

5th March 2021

Local data reveals homelessness as a shocking rising issue here in Surrey.

Emma Walker, Community Foundation for Surrey Trustee, explains why empowering someone to get off the streets is the best warm drink that you can give.  

Several years ago, I was walking along Guildford High Street when I came across a young man in his early 20s. He was a Canadian student, had no money for rent or food and didn’t feel he could ask his family for help. I bought him a hot chocolate and a meal and chatted to him for a few minutes. I felt frustrated – ‘why hasn’t he got himself some help?’, ‘how could his family let it get this bad?’, ‘why hasn’t he got a job?’. I found the Town Rangers, asked them to assist him and went back to my nice warm house, feeling proud that I had done my ‘good deed’ for the day.

After reading Darren McGarvey’s Poverty Safari more recently, I realise that actually my actions fell short. In McGarvey’s words it was a classic case of ‘middle class privilege’. I had felt pity for the student, possibly even looked down on him in a patronizing ‘help is available, you just need to ask’ kind of way. Whilst my intentions were pure, my ignorance and personal bias had stopped me seeking out his personal story. I lacked the empathy to find out what had led to such desperate circumstances and most importantly what was holding him there so that I could offer meaningful help to him.

Fast forward a few years and we have become gripped by the Covid-19 pandemic. It has become far harder to ignore the hidden deprivation in beautiful leafy Surrey. McGarvey talks about how the stress of poverty triggers hormonal and chemical changes in the body that negatively impact both mental and physical health, and therefore an individual’s ability to cope. Living in a state of ‘fight or flight’ means individuals are more likely to suffer from anxiety, substance abuse, obesity, inability to work, and so you can see how this culminates in an inability to pay rent and ultimately homelessness. Once poverty grips, it is like a vice taking hold, unless society can empower that individual to break the cycle.

The sad fact is that at the time, I reassured myself that it would be OK, that the authorities would do something. He had become just another sanitised statistic on the street. Becoming a Trustee, paying more attention to society, and challenging myself with books like Poverty Safari, it becomes increasingly uncomfortable to ignore that Surrey alone has over 2,243* homeless people. Given I am not an expert in homelessness, I found myself unsure of what to do when faced with this situation again. Thankfully, some experts from Rentstart UK and The Hope Hub were kind enough to help. So, I call on each of us, as a collective to pay attention to every homeless individual, listening to their story and empowering them out of poverty. Together We Can.

If safe, stop, say hello and listen

Show warmth and compassion to people experiencing homelessness. There are studies that suggest we can (maybe subconsciously) dehumanise homeless people**. The more someone feels disconnected from society, the less they will engage with potential opportunities of support. How we look (or do not look) at people, and our attitude towards people, can have a profound effect on their perception of their place in the world. While it is inadvisable to give money to people on the streets, it is certainly important to treat people with a genuine empathy and dignity – someone who has a place in society and is deserving of help.

Be clued up on local support and refer them
  • Understand who to refer to in what situation. For example, if you think someone may be sleeping rough on a national level you can report it to Streetlink. Here in Surrey, there are a number of fantastic local organisations such as Transform Support & Housing. It’s worth also finding out what local homelessness charities are doing. Often people get bumped around different organisations, so finding a direct route for someone prior to referring them can make a huge difference to how they then interact with potential help.
Rally your friends and family
  • Keep up to date with what homelessness and housing charities are saying. Spread the word so that reliable, informative, and helpful information reaches as many people as possible.
  • Use your social media to raise awareness of the issues, but also what can be done and ask friends and family to do the same.
Be generous with your time
  • Give some of your time to organisations fighting to combat homelessness. Many rely on the help of volunteers and there are far more ways to get involved than might come to mind. Perhaps helping in the CRISIS delivery side, to working in the kitchen, or if you prefer behind the scenes supporting administrative aspects which is so often overlooked.
  • Equally you are likely to have essential skills that could help transform lives – mentoring clients in key skills e.g. IT, art or essential life skills.
If you are in a position to give
  • Donate items such as toiletries, socks or underwear (new only) as well as homeware items, food, bottled water, sleeping bags or flasks.
  • Support the charities on the frontline who are working with each person and their own individual situation.
  • The Community Foundation for Surrey can advise you on how you can work together with us to make a real difference, and support the amazing organisations tackling this critical issue, and many more!

 

Join us, for our upcoming Homelessness Webinar to learn more about how we can work together to address this issue locally. 

Those with a desire to support Surrey should get in touch with the Community Foundation by contacting Director of Philanthropy, Claire Heath on 01483 906383.

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With special thanks to:

Ben Phillips-Farmer, Head of Community Engagement at Rentstart (UK) Ltd

Mags Mercer, Chief Executive at The Hope Hub

*2019  <https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/more-2300-homeless-people-surrey-15447485>

**Harris, L. T., & Fiske, S. T. (2006). Dehumanizing the lowest of the low: Neuroimaging responses to extreme out-groups. Psychological Science, 17(10), 847–853. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01793.x

Belcher, J. R., & DeForge, B. R. (2012). Social stigma and homelessness: The limits of social change. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 22(8), 929–946. https://doi.org/10.1080/10911359.2012.707941