First stop on the tour was Vita Nova based in Boscombe – a small charity which supports people with drug and alcohol addiction by introducing them to the arts as a way of maintaining their abstinence. Ambassadors and staff attended one of the funded music sessions and met with David Walker – a beneficiary of Vita Nova’s support who is now the sole employee of the charity. He explained how the group has expanded over the years to also provide training in schools, in hospitals and they also have the ambition to set up a support group for people with mental health issues as they have uncovered a strong link between mental health and addiction.
The second charity the group visited was Poole Men’s Sheds – a project where older men meet to socialise and enjoy community activities whilst working on different craft projects. The ‘shed’ is an innovative way to combat social isolation many men experience once they retire. The Foundation supported the completely volunteer led group expand their services and offer support to new members which are now even being referred by the local GP surgery. Ian Price, the Chair of Poole Men’s Sheds explained: ‘The grant from DCF will enable us to expand our services and offer places for new members. We provide a unique opportunity for retired and older men to meet, socialise and enjoy community activities which reduce isolation and create social bonds which improve wellbeing.’
Jon Yates, Chief Executive of the Foundation elaborated: ’Our regular Seeing is Believing visits are very eye opening for our Ambassadors, donors and fund holders. As the Foundation supports the smaller local community groups and charities which are often completely volunteer led even a small grant of £1,000 goes a long way. These small groups and charities which are often unseen struggle to raise donations and that is where we step in – donations we raise help them provide vital services to those most in need across Dorset.’