Very exciting news!

Warwickshire CAVA is awarded £73,500 as innovation at Nuneaton Community Facility impresses major UK funder

The Garfield Weston Foundation more than doubled its £5m ‘Anniversary Fund’ to over £11m to support over 150 charities across UK after overwhelming demand.

Warwickshire CAVA, which supports voluntary organisations, community groups, and volunteers has been awarded £73,500 from one of the UK’s largest charitable funders. The funding will enable the charity to refurbish large areas of the Newtown Centre in Nuneaton. ‘Newtown’ has been transformed over the last 18 months into a highly successful community facility hosting over 20 regular groups and services for the benefit of the Borough’s residents following its transfer from the Borough Council on a 25 year lease.

The Garfield Weston Foundation says small community charities are rising to the challenge of facing unprecedented demand for their services by being proactive and innovative. The Weston Anniversary Fund was launched earlier this year to provide funding to charities to improve their existing facilities or provide new ones as part of the Foundation’s 60th year. The Trustees took the decision to more than double the fund from £5m to £11m after receiving over 2,300 applications. In total 156 charities and communities across the UK were successful, and only 2 of these were in Warwickshire.

Paul Tolley, Chief Executive of Warwickshire CAVA says “We are thrilled to have been successful with the funding from Garfield Weston to further develop this vibrant facility. As a charity we have helped over 8,000 organisations and groups draw down £27.8m in funding over the last decade. We know how difficult it is for small groups to survive and thrive. The Newtown Centre is a crucial base for us in the north of the County, where we provide our support to organisations, groups, and individual volunteers. Newtown welcomes over 500 people each week, so this funding will help us to increase the number of rooms we have, and host more of the essential services delivered by our members in Nuneaton and Bedworth borough, especially those focused on health and wellbeing."

The Healthy Living Network run 2 weekly sessions, a lunch club and honesty shop on a Wednesday and a stay and play with family-food on a Friday; Chief Officer Sonya Johnson said “HLN offer some vital services from the Newtown, providing social eating and health and wellbeing services to some of our most vulnerable residents. The improvements planned, which includes a fully updated kitchen is brilliant news, meaning we can develop what we offer, work with more families and increase our volunteers.”

The Garfield Weston Foundation’s Director, Philippa Charles, says: “What really impressed our Trustees is the amount of volunteering and community involvement that’s going on across the UK. We heard about so many amazing projects involving local people who are helping their communities thrive - regardless of cuts, Brexit debates and other challenges.

The response from charities to this new fund clearly demonstrates the voluntary sector is proactive and energetic; far from the complacency it is sometimes accused of.

Yet we can also see the level of need that exists in our local communities and how much the services charities provide are so desperately needed. The impact of these grants will be significant, with benefits for many people lasting years.

Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Councillor Barry Longden, Cabinet member for Housing, Health and Communities, said of the award: “We are pleased with the news about the funding and all the hard work CAVA have put in to the Newtown Centre, it is a real hub of local activity for residents aged 0-100; the funding will make a big difference to the building and the town.

From community centres providing services for isolated older people to organisations tackling youth and gang crime, the funding from the Weston Anniversary Fund will help charities from across the UK provide more and better services in their communities. A recent survey by the Foundation found that two-thirds (66%) of small charities expect their income to stay the same or decline this year, yet over half (55%) expect to be delivering more services. Getting help with refurbishments or a new building has been highlighted by charities as important as it helps them earn new income.

In Warwickshire the story was even more stark; Warwickshire CAVA’s State of the Sector report stated that 64% of organisations were seeing an increased demand on their services, with their levels of free reserves dropping from 7 months in 2015/16 to only 3 months in 2017/18.

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