The group initially visited People First Dorset – a county wide charity which provides a social network for adults with learning disabilities. Representatives from the group explained how the small charity, ran by only seven-part time staff, engages with over 1000 participants and supports over 500 regular members annually. Their work achieves significant social and health incomes for disabled people – such as increased integration and reduction in depression amongst members. The Foundation recently funded the group to produce a directory of services and venue accessibility information for the areas of Dorchester and Weymouth.
The ‘Seeing is Believing’ group later visited the Lantern Project in Weymouth – a charity which helps vulnerable and marginalized people in Weymouth & Portland. The Foundation funded the group to expand services in the Melcome Regis area – one of the most socially deprived areas in Dorset and in the top 4% most deprived nationwide.
The visits to funded projects completed with a lunch at Island Community Action on Portland. The charity which is ran by two-and-a-half-part time staff supports over 800 older people who live on the island. The charity runs lunch clubs, shopping services and other social activities. The Foundation funded a lunch club service for older people which not only aims to reduce isolation but also helps to improve and maintain physical and mental well-being.
Kim Wilcox from Island Community Action explained: ‘The Foundation’s funding has enabled us to extend our lunch club offer to older residents across Portland and Wyke Regis. This is a significant development for us, for two essential reasons. Firstly, lunch clubs improve physical wellbeing through the provision of a nutritious hot meal. Secondly, and equally important, they provide opportunities for socialising, which helps reduce isolation and loneliness. Reduce these two conditions and you also reduce the likelihood of other more serious, long-term conditions arising.’
Over the last 17 years, the Dorset Community Foundation has funnelled over £10 million in support to local groups. The generous donations are being dispersed by the Foundation on behalf of local individuals and families, trusts and community minded local companies.