Social housing provider Stonewater has created a national charitable foundation which will make grants to support elderly people, young people, women in crisis due to domestic abuse, and residents with physical or mental disabilities.
It established it “in response to the impact of Government Budget and welfare cuts affecting some of its most disadvantaged residents”. It has an endowment of £500,000.
George Blunden, Chair of Stonewater, which manages 30,000 homes in the UK, explained:
“The financial impact on housing associations of recent Budget decisions and policy reform has put immense pressure on our ability to provide enhanced services and support over and above our core offering.
“Stonewater can provide a roof and a place to call home but many people need additional help beyond their initial housing needs. This is what inspired us to establish the Longleigh Foundation, which can work with our most vulnerable residents, supporting them with opportunities to create better lives.”
Three areas of grantmaking
Longleigh’s grant-giving programme has been split into three areas covering:
• community projects aimed at health and well-being, isolation and inclusion, employment and training;
• individual hardship cases;
• and funding for strategic research.
The Foundation has already agreed funding awards for some projects.
In Southampton, it is financing an innovative ‘Recovery Toolkit’ programme at Stonewater’s Southampton Women’s Refuge which provides residents in crisis with specialist support and coping strategies for breaking the cycle of domestic abuse.
It is also funding an IT equipment and digital ambassadors scheme to help tackle digital exclusion among older people in its communities, and a project for residents in Stonewater’s supported housing schemes, aimed at promoting healthier lifestyles.
To achieve more, Stonewater is encouraging its 700+ staff to help raise money for the new Foundation. It will match-fund funds raised up to a total of £15,000.
The Foundation is also working to attract further partners and funding for its work through partnerships with other established charities, community groups, businesses and local authorities.
David Emerson CBE, formerly Chief Executive of the Association of Charitable Foundations, spoke at the launch event, saying:
“Trusts and foundations play a vital, but often less recognised role in support of civil society, the strength and diversity of which is one of the great successes of British Society. The Longleigh Foundation is a very welcome addition to this important grant-giving community, and one that will bring a unique perspective and insight from its housing association roots.”
Main image: (l-r) George Blunden, Chair of Stonewater and Sue Terry, Longleigh Foundation’s Chair, celebrate the launch of the Longleigh Foundation.
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