Through a partnership with the Mears Foundation and Currys, AASC Scotland was provided with 23 Amazon Fire tablets which welfare team were able to distribute to service users who had recently received a positive decision regarding their settlement status in the country, supporting the next chapter of their lives. The new tablets mean the children can play games, read books, take pictures, connect with friends and complete school work online. Jamie Lee Ward, Mears Partnership Manager said: "This is another amazing offering from the Foundation and one that will be beneficial to all receiving the devices. There has been a rise in digital inclusion schemes in recent years, however this is still a significant barrier within many groups, and so these tablets go a long way to support."
Something which started as a hobby and form of escapism during lockdown has turned into a long term project supporting mental health. Nick from Mears' South Cambs branch applied for a community grant to take people fishing which he saw an opportunity to take people away from their everyday and not only engage in something different, but also find some time to get things off their chest. He was acutely aware that not a lot of people want to sit and talk about their mental health and found that a simple fishing trip offers a safe space, making it much easier to break down the walls. Anyone is welcome to go fishing with Nick but the biggest effect has been breaking down the stigma around men’s mental health. To date, 8 people have gone fishing with Nick and every one have asked to return, with some of them surprised by how much they've taken to it. The grant has generated three times as much social economic value, with a combination of the grant itself and Nick volunteering a large proportion of his own free time.
Up the Garden Bath, is a not-for-profit organisation which takes old and discarded materials such as bathtubs and upcycles them into ready-made garden planters and accessories. On the 24th of March, in partnership with Up The Garden Bath, the Mears Foundation grant supported the bath recycling project that provided the opportunity for tenants from Sheltered Housing Fellowship to learn new skills and use the planters to grow herbs and vegetables, to be used in their kitchens.
The Mears Foundation provided a grant to Mears' asylum team to fund a project to help with digital poverty. The ‘Football Unites, Racism Divides Digital Inclusion Project’ based in Sheffield, will be part of the belonging together project FURD run for refugees and asylum seekers. This project has two main aims: firstly, to broaden the current range of opportunities, activities and support that we are offering to refugees and asylum-seekers from across Sheffield, (aged 16-51) and South Yorkshire, and secondly, the wish to create opportunities for them to engage with the wider community to ease their isolation.
The Peel Project is a community project based in Hull, which was set up to provide essential support services to empower the diverse local community. The Mears Foundation recently provided a grant to commission the Peel Project to work with Mears' asylum team to introduce fitness/boxercise classes.
One of the aims of the Foundation this year is to ‘combat social isolation and loneliness’ and this is exactly why Karen Johnson, Commercial Manager at Mears, applied for a Mears Foundation Grant, to help residents at Cole Green House by constructing a new patio area on their grounds so residents could socialise externally by having an outside space where they can meet with family and friends and become part of their community again.
Norton Court provides accommodation for 45 tenants Customers ranging in age from 55 to 94 and have various disabilities both physical and mental. The grant awarded will help purchase a gazebo and garden furniture allowing residents to take part in more outside activities, socialising, having fun and not having to cancel events due to poor weather. What was also very lovely was that the staff also wanted to plant a tree in memory of those friends from Norton Court who sadly lost their lives due to Covid. How could we resist.
Diane and her team will be providing an opportunity for local older people to have a safe environment in which to interact with their peers following what has been a very difficult year. Older people have been some of the most isolated within our community and many have lost confidence to venture out at all following this pandemic. Having a safe environment in which to step back into society will hopefully be a starting point for many older people and will give them the confidence to do more.
The “Housing First for Families” Service will ensure the provision of wraparound support and necessary interventions supporting families with children who are at risk of homelessness. Many of the families and children affected will have left their previous homes with nothing due to various circumstances. The Mears Foundation grant awarded will help to support providing items to assist with long term tenancy sustainment such as toys for the children, small electrical items & appliances such at kettles and toasters.
Nicki applied for a grant so she could host COVID safe centre based workshops across refugee week. This included cooking sessions, wellbeing and fitness sessions. Funding would purchase equipment, cooking ingredients, refreshments etc. The centre offers a warm welcome and safe space to people seeking support and sanctuary; together they share food, stories and build relationships. Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning, Give
Octavia, RBKC & H&F have an ambition to create different approach to a foodbank, offering residents more choice and value. The food pantry will work as a shop and will allow residents to pay £3 and get £30 of food. Residents can browse products and chose which are needed by them. Rather than take a bag of groceries that they may or not suit their needs. The grant awarded will provide a food hamper and supplies which will stock the pantry and get it up and running.
Balmoral Place is an affordable extra care scheme in the centre of Northampton for people aged 55 and over who have care needs. Last year, as a way of tackling isolation, a number of the residents started a gardening group, working together to maintain the communal gardens of their home. Now, in memory of their neighbours and friends who have lost their lives during Covid, they are creating a memorial garden as a place for reflection. The grant will enable them to purchase, trees, plants and a memorial plaque to go in it.
Studio of Sanctuary uses arts and creative workshops to bring together people with different lived experiences of migration to create a more welcoming Wakefield. 30 participants from initial accommodation (Urban House) will meet for friendly activities at three of Wakefield’s key arts institutions (Yorkshire Sculpture Park, The Hepworth and the Art House). This will introduce newcomers to Wakefield and to the communities that make up the district as well as providing an opportunity to improve their English skills and make connections with community members.
Beacon House is a homeless charity providing a wide variety of support to vulnerable adults in Colchester. These include occupational therapy, wellbeing and healthcare facilities. The grant awarded by the Foundation will enable the charity to continue the work they have been doing for over 20 years and for them to evolve to meet the diversity of their service users.
Karen has been providing training, careers advice and work experience for school students in East Kent for a number of years, promoting careers in construction, our apprenticeships and opportunities for young people. The grant will enable every student who completes the virtual placement to receive a skills profile certificate adding to their CVs and giving evidence of the training and workshops completed, their challenge submission and the sector they completed their placement in.
Diane and the Rotherham branch are supporting a ‘Coming out of Covid’ Garden Party which Age UK Rotherham are planning, allowing their service users to get out and socialise with others. The grant will allow us to provide the food for the event which will then be served by volunteers from the branch. This event will be the lifeline that older people in Rotherham have been waiting almost 18 months for. The community are missing interacting with others; the material things they were quite happy to do without but they had quickly discovered that ‘people need people’ for their mental wellbeing.
Crown Meadow Court in Bromley is a fantastically active scheme that provides accommodation for 60 customers ranging in age from 66 years to 101! Sue applied for a grant that will be used to purchase new garden games suitable for all ages and outdoor activities for service users and the local nursery children, who visit us weekly. The equipment will provide an opportunity for service users to engage, play and have fun with the local nursery children, having an enormous impact on the mental health and wellbeing of our residents that have been isolated for so long.
The Health and Wellness Hub is a community organisation in Motherwell that provides a range of holistic therapies and volunteering opportunities to our most vulnerable community members. They applied for a grant to fund the Hub Buddies project which will support local people who continue to be isolated due to Covid-19 restrictions. The project will support 35 local people who require befriending support (both directly at social distance and by telephone) helping them transition back into the wider group and community life after long periods of social isolation and exclusio
Durham House in Bromley is an independent living scheme with approximately 40 customers. The age of customers ranges from over 55 years to those over 90 years. The care needs range from those that are more mobile to those with dementia, physical and learning disabilities. As with most care homes, residents have suffered with social isolation, some shielding and unable to leave their homes and others have suffered from being unable to see family and friends. We wanted to make their time outdoors as comfortable and rewarding as possible so we applied for a grant to purchase a gazebo and outside furniture to enjoy more activities in the garden particularly now the weather is getting warmer and Covid restrictions are due to be lifted.
Sara applied for a grant to purchase gardening equipment and seeds so staff can undertake volunteer gardening for the community, including seed bombing unloved waste ground, enhancing community spaces. This activity involved 59 supported individuals with learning disabilities who were able to assist.
James sourced an allotment space with a church in Drumchapel, Glasgow. The grant will provide gardening tools and accessories including soil, compost, seeds and water butts. The project will also be building external planters which can be used at the Mother and Baby unit, brightening up everyone’s day
The grant awarded by the Foundation will cover the costs of a Live Life member to access regular support, including transport to and from regular Live Life meetings, training, employment and social skills plus signposting to any other services such as mental health support or counselling. Herts Young Homeless aims to prevent homelessness by empowering individuals to make positive informed choices. Five years ago, 76% of HYH work was funded by statutory funding. This has now been cut to 48%
Over the past year we have seen an increase in the number of Asylum Seekers dispersed in the Hartlepool Area. The project will offer all Hartlepool Asylum Seekers access to social activities such as coffee mornings, befriending, sign posting and information sharing regarding the local area and services. Providing a warm and welcoming hub, connecting with others, reducing social isolation and making a difference to those who join in