The fund, which aims to support community cohesion projects and bring communities together across the county, offer grants of up to £1,500 to smaller community groups and charities.
Jon Yates, Chief Executive at the Foundation explained: ‘We are very pleased to be working together with Wessex Water to help them support local communities. This is just one of the many corporate funds we manage for Dorset and these partnerships help companies such as Wessex Water deliver community benefit where they operate.’
Amongst the 13 funded projects are a volunteer allotment project which will provide produce for food banks in West Dorset (carried out by Volunteer Centre Dorset), single parent community events programme (Smile Connect) and a DIY laundry project for rough sleepers in temporary accommodation on a refurbished bus (The Bus Shelter Weymouth).
Emily McCarron, Co-founder of the Bus Shelter project, explained: ‘We are very pleased about the grant which will go towards the cost of using washing machines and tumble driers during guests’ regular visits to the local laundrette, as well as washing powder.
Being unwashed with dirty clothes is perceived as a defining characteristic of a rough sleeper, and lack of cleanliness is a barrier between rough sleepers and members of the public, making it almost impossible for those sleeping rough on the streets to integrate into the community, to have their stories heard, or their abilities recognised.’
Kirsty Scarlett, head of community engagement for Wessex Water, added: ‘We are very pleased to be working with the Foundation who are an expert in impactful grant giving locally. The applications were very interesting and featured different ways of working with marginalised groups to achieve community cohesion. We are very pleased to have funded 13 community focused projects from all across Dorset.’
The full list of funded projects includes: Weymouth Skatepark Association, Volunteer Centre Dorset (Dorchester), The Training and Learning Company (Bournemouth), The Living Tree (Bridport), The Bus Shelter Dorset (Weymouth), Stur Youth Club (Sturminster Youth Club), SMILE Connect (Poole), Ideas2Action (Poole), Home-Start West Dorset, Home-Start North Dorset, Gillingham St Mary Scout Group, Art Workshop Swanage, 1st Charmouth Scout Group.
The Wessex Water Fund opens for applications once a year and the next funding round is planned for January 2020.