Community Foundation for Surrey celebrates £500k awarded in grants to local groups since April 2018!

16th August 2018

The Community Foundation for Surrey, this week, has reached over £500k awarded in grants for the benefit of local communities in Surrey since April this year.

The philanthropic charity awards grants to local community groups across Surrey that are striving to tackle community needs in areas of health and wellbeing, education and skills, disadvantage and exclusion, community cohesion, the environment, sports and the arts.

This milestone has eclipsed their giving on this time last year with 104 groups and 47 individuals directly benefiting from this round of funding. It is the Foundation’s target to award a total £1.4 million in grants by March 31st, 2019 to organisations and individuals across Surrey.

A wide selection of local groups and charities have received funding in this quarter, including Cobham charity Walton Firs Foundation, who are receiving the Community Foundation for Surrey’s largest ever grant, at a staggering £60,000. This grant was awarded for the creation of a high ropes course, that will test and challenge young people to overcome their fears and help them to develop teamwork, self-confidence and communication skills. Over 30,000 visitors attend the 36-acre activity site each year.

Major (Ret’d) Andy Harvey, Chief Executive, Walton Firs Foundation said:

“We are incredibly grateful to the Community Foundation for this generous grant that will provide yet another fantastic opportunity to get young people outside, into the fresh air and having fun, safely. Currently most of our activities are best suited to ages 7-12, but the high ropes are designed for wider age appeal – for ages 7-18+. This broader appeal is a tremendous thing and will offer something really demanding for all our young visitors. They want to be challenged and to learn new skills in the outdoors, and this project will be a fantastic way to help them to do just this.” 

Another recipient of the Foundation’s recent funding awards is Surrey Heath Veterans and Families Listening Project (SHV&FLP) which will provide former service personnel of HM Forces and their families with support, information and a safe space to meet. This group provides the opportunity for those affected by post military service issues to share the impact it is having on their day to day lives.

The £3,024.00 will also cover costings for an Armed Forces Mental Health First Aid Course as part of the personal development of attendees and volunteers assisting with the project. This course will address issues such as anxiety, depression and PDSD, often experienced after leaving the service.

Deborah Sellstrom, Founder and Fundraiser, Surrey Heath Veterans and Families Listening Project said:

“We would like to say a BIG thank you to the Community Foundation for Surrey, one for their support, advice and guidance during the initial application; and secondly, for awarding SHV&FLP the grant. This funding will support us to continue to provide a safe haven for veterans and families of the British Armed Forces, to meet and get the help and assistance that they might need. Making today, a brighter tomorrow.”

£15,000 has also been awarded to mental health charity, Oakleaf Enterprise for their Everyman Choir, a project designed for vulnerable local men. A weekly meet up, facilitated by an experienced choir leader will provide attendees a free and socially inclusive outlet for their troubles, along with a healthy meal. The music will cover a wide range of genres to those in attendance with the aim to reduce social isolation and improve on both mental and physical wellbeing.

Based in Guildford, Oakleaf Enterprise supports local people suffering from mental-ill health return to employment or education. The charity recently celebrated their 21st birthday with a visit from His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex.

Clive Stone, Chief Executive, Oakleaf Enterprise said:

“Oakleaf is tremendously grateful for the generous support and recognition of our work from the Community Foundation of Surrey. Our Everyman choir gives its members a chance to develop their social connections, improve their wellbeing, while also giving them a creative outlet in the form of singing, an activity that is proven to improve a person’s mental health. It has been amazing watching individual’s confidence develop through this medium which would not have been possible without the Community Foundation for Surrey.”

To date, the Community Foundation for Surrey which is part of a national network of 46 Community Foundations across the UK, has awarded a total of 2,963 grants since their inception in 2005.

This level of grant giving would not be possible without the many generous donors working with the Foundation to address the needs and themes within Surrey that they are most passionate about. The Foundation are hugely grateful to all the businesses, charitable trusts, families and individuals that work with them to inspire philanthropy.

Kate Peters, Director of Grants & Impact at the Community Foundation for Surrey said:

“We are absolutely delighted to have reached this milestone so early in the financial year and are excited about being able to support many more good causes. It is easy not to see the hidden need in our community; young people challenged with mental health issues, isolated older people or families and carers struggling with devastating health issues, but our wonderful voluntary sector do see the problems and we at the Foundation are proud to be able to support the difference local groups in Surrey make to the health and wellbeing of our community.”

The Foundation are committed to transparency and work with 360 Giving to publish information about each one of their grants. Further information can be found at 360 Giving.

If you are interested to learn more about the Community Foundation for Surrey and how you can support your community, please visit