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 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.”
Reference (1) San Diego Foundation, 2021 https://bit.ly/3K2haHW
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Contact Amy Lee, Fund Development Manager
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