The ‘Seeing is Believing’ visits provide a firsthand opportunity for DCF Trustees and Ambassadors to see for themselves the great work being done by many of Dorset’s smaller charities and voluntary organisations with financial support from, amongst others, the Dorset Community Foundation.
As Chair of the Foundation’s Grants and Impact Committee and grant-making panels, these visits also give me a chance to find out where the money goes and how it is put to good use, making a difference to people’s lives.
On our visit last month, I was joined by two of the Foundation’s Ambassadors, Sybil Fine-King and Jamie Joicey Cecil, as well as by our Chief Executive, Tracy Melling, and some of her team.
Our first stop was the Hope2Cycle project in Moordown, Bournemouth, which promotes cycling, recycling, health and wellbeing. The H2C team re-cycle (excuse the pun) unwanted and unloved old bikes, selling on the refurbished results of their labours to new owners. Everybody involved benefits, including members of the volunteer team who gain satisfaction and practical skills from restoring the old bikes, and can also develop customer-facing skills in selling the results of their efforts to prospective buyers. Judging by the huge mountain of old bikes awaiting refurbishment, there’s plenty of work to do. So if you’re looking to buy some new wheels at a very reasonable price, why not look at Hope2Cycle’s website or better still, call into the shop in Moordown and support one of Dorset’s small but invaluable charities.
Our next visit was to the Bus Stop Club in Ferndown. The small and dedicated team here provide practical support and activities for local parents of school age children in a neighbourhood which is coping with complex social and problems and disadvantage. The drop-in centre is a hive of activity, and we were inspired by first hand stories of the support given and the real difference it makes to the lives of families facing some really difficult challenges. The Bus Stop Club also provides a base for the local Christians Against Poverty Debt Centre, helping those struggling with financial problems to become debt free.
Our final visit of the afternoon was to the Allandale Centre in Wimborne, to call in on Strictly Tea Dances, another of the volunteer-run groups supported by DCF. With ballroom, Latin, jazz and other classic numbers provided by the Soggy Biscuit Dance Band, a very lively group of young-at-heart couples were clearly enjoying themselves dancing to much loved tunes – dancing and good company helps them to keep fit and happy at these popular monthly sessions in a warm and friendly social atmosphere.
All in all an inspiring and enjoyable series of visits providing insights into the hugely valuable work done by many of Dorset’s smaller charities and voluntary groups. With your support and a modest financial contribution, you could help to grow the work of Dorset Community Foundation in providing financial support to these and many other worthwhile community groups like them.
There are a number of options of how you can get involved and support our work – click here to find out more.