The third wave of Hope Beyond grants has been awarded to 169 projects, with cheques totalling £1,094,858. The projects to benefit from this New Year’s boost will address three key areas of need in communities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic – digital resilience, mental health and wellbeing and isolation and loneliness.
And here are five projects to receive this much needed lifeline; all focused on addressing isolation and loneliness in the most vulnerable members of the community, offering not only practical support but friendship and kindness…
Welcome Churches, Derby
Welcome Churches supports churches nationwide, helping them to connect with refugees and asylum seekers, offering them a warm welcome and an invitation to join their church community. Since the start of the COVID-19 restrictions, many churches have said that their refugee members have struggled to re-engage and there is a real need for an online presence to support them through this difficult period.
£13,800 of Benefact Trust Hope Beyond funding will support the creation of ‘Refugees Online’ - an online portal which will enable refugees who have become increasingly isolated during the pandemic to reconnect with their church and community through the support of trained digital champions.
Handcrafted Projects, County Durham
Handcrafted Projects received a grant in 2019 from Benefact Trust towards their work with vulnerable women. Now this Hope Beyond grant of £30,000 will support the Christian charity to teach vulnerable and marginalised people, who have been further isolated by lockdown, new woodwork and other skills in COVID safe groups. The aim is to give them increased confidence, helping them to build new friendships and as a way to put them at ease so that they can open up and talk about how they’re feeling.
Mount of God, Kent
Before COVID-19, Mount of God Church provided support to 70 people experiencing homelessness per week, providing them with hot food and a helping hand. There has been an influx in rough sleepers as a result of the pandemic, due to its effect on finances, mental health and housing.
A Benefact Trust Hope Beyond grant of £5,200 will boost the church’s capacity to reach out to more people experiencing homelessness, offering them 1:1 support which will be tailored to their individual needs and will include pastoral care, help with employment and housing issues.
Bromsgrove Youth, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire
During the pandemic, Bromsgrove Youth & Community Hub has seen a huge increase in the number of children seeking their help, particularly children on the autism spectrum who have not been able to access their online services and require face to face support.
Hope Beyond funding of £5,000 will give Bromsgrove Youth the opportunity to offer more one to one sessions in a calming, safe space, helping children with increased anxiety through therapeutic counselling. The grant will support them to buy sensory equipment and create a safe haven for struggling young people.
St Paul’s Church, Cambridge
A Benefact Trust Hope Beyond grant of £3,200 will support St Paul’s Church to set up lunch clubs for local residents who are feeling socially isolated and vulnerable as a result of the pandemic – particularly older people and those with physical and mental health issues. The lunch clubs will provide nutritious meals as well as a space for activities and companionship, so that the most isolated have the chance to interact with others and build friendships in a safe and loving environment.