West Sussex celebrates 10th anniversary of community fund

The West Sussex’s Community Initiative Fund (CIF) which has awarded over £3.2 million to around 2,000 community groups, small charities and organisations marks a decade of support in the county at the start of Small Charity Week 2016, running from 13-18 June.

The West Sussex County Council’s CIF anniversary coincides with its support shown to this year’s Small Charity Week – an awareness campaign offering advice to charities with an annual income of less than £1 million. Latest figures from the Charity Commission show that there are currently 2,623 registered small charities in the county.

My Sister's House founder Julie Budge shows WSCC Leader Louise Goldsmith the boutique
My Sister’s House founder Julie Budge shows WSCC Leader Louise Goldsmith the boutique

Established in 2010 by the Foundation for Social Improvement, Small Charity Week’s aim is to raise the profile of small charities including highlighting their work to a broad audience.

Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council said: “Small charities continue to serve our communities on a budget and cascade crucial national research, yet their work doesn’t always receive the recognition it deserves. Many, many people rely on the support and help of small charities.”

In 2015/16, the Council awarded its third highest CIF sum total of £383,036.31 – this figure is more than double the £163,229.41 donated countywide in CIF’s first year.

Worthing-based Asphaleia Action provide a training centre for vulnerable young people and used their £1,000 grant to purchase two iPad Air 2s and a DSLR camera to assist with classroom learning.

Hayley Roffey, Asphaleia’s Development Manager, said: “We had been thinking of ways to bring technology to young people who wouldn’t necessarily be able to access it themselves.”

Group B Strep Support, who have headquarters in Haywards Heath, invested its £2,500 grant on new equipment for the benefit of the support centre’s staff. This included, two computers with accompanying office desks, chairs and a printer.

Chief Executive Jane Plumb said: “The CIF funding has enabled us to expand by taking on four additional volunteers. In return for helping the charity meet its aims, we have helped our volunteers to ultimately work in other environments.”

Community interest company My Sister’s House, based in Bognor Regis, was awarded £2,395. Founder Julie Budge said: “CIF funding has allowed us to purchase industrial sewing machines for volunteers and apprentices to run our ‘upcycled’ clothing enterprise.”

For more information on how to apply for a CIF grant or to see videos with the three charities mentioned above, visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/campaigns/