Our News

ACT gives over £45,000 to ten causes nominated by colleagues

Throughout the year, all Ardonagh colleagues worldwide have the opportunity to apply for a grant from Ardonagh Community Trust (ACT) for up to £5,000 (or equivalent local currency) towards a community project or cause close to their hearts.

Every quarter, our ACT Trustees consider applications put forward by colleagues, and today we share the ten fantastic causes being supported by the Q3 round of grants.

Read the stories behind each of the projects that have successfully received funding and why our colleagues nominated them.

LGBTQ+ floorball in Scotland

Perthshire Pride – Perth Parrots

Nominated by Duncan Scott, Towergate, Ardonagh Advisory

Perthshire Pride is a leading LGBTQ+ charity in Scotland, which aims to develop an inclusive culture and to promote Perthshire as a safe and welcoming place for all. Formed in 2019, the Perth Parrots are the ‘sporting wing’ of Perthshire Pride, and the world’s only LGBTQ+ floorball club (a popular Scandinavian sport in which all gender play together in mixed teams, including at a professional level).

The Perth Parrots club provides a welcoming space for LGBTQ+ community to access floorball, with training sessions and weekend matches. One element that has been recognised as a need among the LGBTQ+ community in Perthshire is for social and networking opportunities, as Perthshire does not benefit from a range of LGBT venues.

The £2,800 grant from ACT will help the club develop its ‘Parrots Social’ initiative, which focuses on reducing social isolation and encouraging the LGBTQ+ community to re-engage in sport and physical activity. Club social activities include female-focused floorball taster sessions, foot golf, community breakfast and hikes, kayaking, Pride quiz nights. Through the grant the club will host a range of sessions whilst at the same time offering them at an accessible, subsidised rate for club members.

My son is currently Chairperson of Perthshire Pride and is involved in the delivery of floorball and social activities. In the last few years, he has personally supported people through mental health challenges and social isolation. He found that if he can get people involved in Perth Parrots, it physically and mentally puts them in a better place. I will continue to be a supportive parent, but this is also about supporting a community that is still frequently prejudiced against. This is ongoing work for us all.
Duncan Scott, Towergate, Ardonagh Advisory
Perth Parrots the LGBTQ+ floorball team in Scotland pose for a team shot
The Perth Parrots team in all their glory, ready to play floorball.

Teddy bear hospital to reduce anxiety in young patients

Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity
Nominated by Rachael Stewart, Towergate, Ardonagh Advisory

The Teddy Hospital is based at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow, which is Scotland largest and busiest children's hospital.

The Teddy Hospital is a fun and interactive facility which uses various play techniques to help reduce the stress and anxiety of the unfamiliar and sometimes intimidating hospital environment for children. The teddies are used to show children that they don’t need to be scared, so the bears get plaster casts on, they go into the MRI scans, and they get blood drawn to show they’re okay after the procedure and that the kids will be too.

The service supports over 700 children every year, and the £5,000 grant from ACT will buy over 400 bears to help its brilliant work continue. The charity is currently expanding the Teddy Bear Hospital into the wider community, so the funds will be a great help.

My brother spent a lot of time in hospital when we were younger, and I would regularly visit him. They used to hold arts and craft afternoons, and even had clown doctor’s visit. When I was older, I found out all of these projects to entertain my brother were funded purely from the charity. Once I realised this and found out I could help make a difference I didn’t even think twice, I signed up as a volunteer and never looked back. “In 2019, I had a pulmonary embolism – if someone at 23 years old can feel terrified in hospital, I can only imagine what it could be like for a child. Helping someone at such a young age understand their condition and what comes with it can change the way they view things and have a beneficial outcome on their mental health as they understand more. That's why this project means so much. It's not just the distressed child who benefits, but parents who watch their child go through it.
Rachael Stewart, Towergate, Ardonagh Advisory
Millie pictured with her teddy bear to help her understand the treatment she was having at Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity
Millie with her teddy, who helped her better understand the special feeding tube she needed whilst in hospital.
Nominator Rachael Stewart poses in her purple Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity t-shirt
Rachael proudly donning her fundraising shirt in support of Glasgow Children's Hospital Charity.

Improving a community’s local dog park

Friends of Marshfield Dog Park

Nominated by Steve Darcy, AccuRisk, Ardonagh Global Partners

The Friends of the Marshfield Dog Park is a registered charity that was created to maintain, improve, and beautify a public community dog park in the town of Marshfield, Massachusetts, where our AccuRisk Massachusetts Office office is based.

Dog Parks are a great community space not only for the dogs to get the exercise and mental stimulation they need, but also for people to get together as well. The dog park will be a great resource for hosting educational events for dog owners with trainers and veterinarians. Additionally, many rescue organizations love to host adoption day events at dog parks.

The Friends of the Marshfield Dog Park privately maintains the public park by looking after the paths and keeping the area clean. The £5,000 grant from ACT will enable improvements to the park to make it more welcoming for pets and owners alike, including new benches, tree plantings, and wood chippings for paths.

Dog parks are a great place for dogs to get the mental and physical stimulation they need, and they also provide a great location for people in the community to come together and to socialize. After witnessing how much dog parks in other communities helped to socialize my dogs, I was determined to create a dog park in Marshfield as another amenity my hometown offers to our residents. Shelters and rescue organizations love to use dog parks as staging locations for their adoption day events and we have used our large following to organize several pet food drives. We look forward to hosting training classes at the park as well so owners can develop a better relationship with their dogs and to provide a location for mobility challenged senior citizens to exercise their dogs and to socialize with the community. On behalf of the team for The Friends of the Marshfield Dog Park, we are incredibly grateful to the Ardonagh Community Trust and its Trustees for their generous contribution to a great cause and for their positive impact on our cosy beach side community across the pond.
Steve Darcy, AccuRisk, Ardonagh Global Partners
Volunteers at Marshfield Dog Park, and their pets, pose at the site of the new park in Massachusetts, US
Residents, and Steve, proudly stood on the site that would become Marshfield Dog Park.

Therapy sessions for cancer patients

CancerCare North Lancashire & South Cumbria

Nominated by Eve Dennison, Ethos Broking, Ardonagh Advisory

CancerCare is an independent local charity supporting people affected by cancer or bereavement. The charity helps people discover their capacity for life when times are tough – with the professional help, emotional support and collective strength to face whatever is next.

The only service of its kind in the area, CancerCare offers free professional therapies designed to help individuals and their families come to terms with and manage the challenges of a serious life limiting health condition and bereavement. Their services include counselling, group therapies, massage, and hypnotherapy – all of which relieve symptoms, encourage self-confidence, promote relaxation, ease the physical and emotional effects of treatment, and provide extended support to carers and families. The £4,930 grant from ACT will provide 145 one to one therapy sessions at CancerCare’s new Morecambe centre, which opened last year.

I want to support and promote the Morecambe site as I have personal experience of the benefits that can be gained from therapy and counselling via CancerCare. At the darkest time in someone's life, CancerCare provides hope, support and perspective to help people live with cancer. Prior to the pandemic, I took part in several CancerCare fundraising events and took every opportunity to promote the work they do. Now that we are able to interact face to face again, I have signed up as an official volunteer with CancerCare.
Eve Dennison, Ethos Broking, Ardonagh Advisory

Football sessions for fathers and families who have experienced baby loss

FC Vilomah
Nominated by Claire Gardiner, Thames Underwriting, MGA & Binders

FC Vilomah is a football club based in Chelmsford, Essex which was initially set up in 2019 to support bereaved fathers who have lost a child when support for fathers specifically was difficult to fund. The club now has around 40 dads playing for the club.

FC Vilomah is so much more than a football club. Whilst being a way for dads and other bereaved family members to come together through a shared love of sport – they support as many people as possible, not just those who love football. The club also raises awareness of baby loss and fundraises for local charities and hospitals.

The £5,000 grant from ACT will fund the club for an entire season, including hiring the Astro turf pitch, equipment, and a calendar of social events throughout the year for the wider community to get involved with too.

My husband plays for FC Vilomah and it has helped him enormously following the loss of our own daughter in 2017, as well as the many other fathers on this team. The support the club offers the community and local charities and hospitals is invaluable. For example, last year an organisation called Lois' Legacy run out of memory boxes for parents who have recently lost a child and the club were able to step in to donate some funds to purchase more. It’s such an important charity for individuals, families, and the Essex community.
Claire Gardiner, Thames Underwriting, MGA & Binders
FC Vilomah, a football club based in Chelmsford, Essex who support bereaved fathers who have lost a child
The FC Vilomah team standing proud in support of one another and fathers everywhere who have experienced baby loss.

Accelerating services at a new mental health clinic

Cheviot Youth

Nominated by Tracy Brown, Towergate, Ardonagh Advisory

Cheviot Youth provides a safe place for young people and adults from communities across the Scottish Borders to access mental health support, with a range of specialised services including Lego-based therapy, bullying programmes and counselling.

The charity has been expanding its reach, opening new support rooms in local towns. One of these is based in Tweedbank, which will provide clinical services from mental health practitioners. The ACT grant of £5,000 will ensure that the new centre can open both of its two clinical rooms – rather than just the one, which is currently useable. It will cover furniture, décor and technology so that the space is functional and comfortable for clinical volunteers and those using its services alike.

I am training part time to become a registered counsellor and am at present working with Cheviot Youth and seeing clients after hours to provide Mental Health support. There is such a great need as there are long waiting lists for any NHS services and we are able to provide a free service and support with as many sessions as they may need. Cheviot Youth is doing such a great job in the local communities that I plan to keep supporting them and offering my services even when I am qualified as a registered counsellor.
Tracy Brown, Towergate, Ardonagh Advisory

Vital repairs for a loved community theatre

Stockport Garrick Theatre
Nominated by Sam Marriott, Towergate Health and Protection, Ardonagh Advisory

Stockport Garrick Theatre is a community theatre that works with adults and also has a youth theatre group. It is the oldest ‘little theatre’ in the UK, putting on plays and telling amazing stories in Stockport since 1901 and everything the theatre does is achieved entirely by its volunteer membership.

The stage and costume department are in much need of repair to ensure the theatre can continue to provide its adult and youth theatre classes and productions. The classes don’t just teach drama, they create an environment in which students can grow in confidence and range of skills from acting techniques to writing their own plays.

The £5,000 grant from ACT will enable essential repairs to the main stage and auditorium and will also fund costume repairs. Half the grant will go towards the development of new productions and the youth theatre outreach programme.

I have been involved in the Stockport Garrick since 2019 and am currently on the committee. The theatre has a fantastic group of both patrons and volunteers who give up their free time to help with repairs, advertising, casting, acting, backstage, and teaching. A production involving three actors, actually involves around 14 people giving up normally eight weeks of their time to put on a show for the public, none of which is paid. I help with plays, casting, acting, backstage, repairs - anything I can do to keep the theatre running, as it's something I hold dear. I have even done my own fundraising – completing the Snowdonia Trail marathon in June, where I raised more than £1,000 with ACT match funding.
Sam Marriott, Towergate Health and Protection, Ardonagh Advisory
Performance at Stockport Garrick Theatre
The Stockport Garrick Theatre stage in action.

Piloting an inclusive rowing programme for the Deaf and Disabled community

ELREM Foundation CIC
Nominated by Kris Korosec, Ed Broking, Ardonagh Specialty

ELREM Foundation CIC run micro to medium sized projects that impact the grassroots level of the Deaf & Disabled communities. Last year they completed their first project called Deaf Cycling UK which has so far been a great success.

ELREM Foundation’s next project is INCLUSIVE ROWING : ERGO BUDDY, a pilot project to promote the numerous physical and mental health benefits of indoor rowing. Clive Collier, who was born deaf with Cerebral Palsy, is a member of ELREM and an inclusive rowing coach. He has an accomplished sportsman, having competed in horse riding at national level and whose passion for rowing has grown despite the many obstacles.

The £4,875 grant from ACT will fund the eight-week pilot programme, which will take place at Twickenham Rowing Club, Southwest London, with the hope that it will lead to a love of rowing and show a pathway to the adaptive rowing team and competitions that are held throughout London.

I was delighted to join ELREM Foundation CIC as Director in June this year. The Deaf community suffer heart conditions, diabetes and mental health issues to a far greater degree than the general population. Over the years, Deaf clubs have been steadily shutting their doors, which has facilitated the closing of avenues to participation. I have seen the valuable support provided in nurturing raw talent, who go on to become role models not only within the Deaf & Disabled communities but wider society. Supporting equality, inclusion and accessibility via micro projects that affect change and provide new skills and confidence in communities is much needed. Let’s give ‘community’ back to everyone.
Kris Korosec, Ed Broking, Ardonagh Specialty
Deaf Cycling instructor with cyclists
People taking part in the ELREM Foundation's first project, a cycle course for members of the deaf community, and the rowing project looks set to be every bit as successful!

Providing essential resources to new families struggling to cope

Leeds Baby Bank
Nominated by Amanda Shaw, Schofield Insurance, Ardonagh Advisory

Leeds Baby Bank support families in and around Leeds with baby essentials to ensure that no child goes without. It helps families to access resources and longer-term support via events in the community, by holding regular family drop-in sessions where volunteers welcome families and discuss services with them, give support and advice, and provide a top up of essential items. The charity is much needed, with a recent event attended by 44 families, and supporting 200 individuals in a single day.

The charity are planning four new community projects in local towns, which requires the purchase of essential stock. Whilst the Baby Bank works together with food banks for infant food and formula milk, they still need to purchase more to meet demand.

The £5,000 grant from ACT will help purchase more than 600 packs of nappies and 900 baby food items, to ensure the community projects can support as many families as possible.

The charity is local to where we work at Kirkstall Forge, so it is nice to be able to put something back into the community. We have been supporting this charity for the last 18 months, arranging collections & partnering with, the building owners here at Kirkstall Forge, to get the whole building involved in arranging much needed supplies. In October, I will be doing a video with Leeds Baby Bank to showcase what they do and to highlight to a wider audience the need for assistance and ongoing support.
Amanda Shaw, Schofield Insurance, Ardonagh Advisory
Volunteers at Leeds Baby Bank pose with their donations
Volunteers at Leeds Baby Bank sorting out stock to give to families in need.

Keeping a community hall going

Kelvedon Institute
Nominated by Matthew Fish, Central Services, Ardonagh Advisory

Kelvedon Institute provides village hall facilities to the village of Kelvedon and the surrounding area, which is run entirely by volunteers. The institute operates two halls that are used by a wide range of sports and social clubs, classes and youth groups – as well as private hires and the occasional gig!

The main hall is 100 years old and in need of repair to keep it going for another hundred years. The most urgent project is the cupola (a kind dove-cot style turret on top of the hall), which has become rotten.

The £5,000 grant from ACT will fund repair of the roof using materials that are better able to withstand the weather, so the building is protected for many years to come.

I have been a trustee of the hall and member of the operating committee for nearly five years. It has been great to be able to give something back to the community and keep this facility going through some tough times. Having been a hall user for over 20 years, I didn't understand just how much effort goes on behind the scenes, but I know first-hand how the facilities offer a local hub for young and old. I think it’s fair to say that we offer something from everyone in our community.
Matthew Fish, Central Services, Ardonagh Advisory

You can read the stories behind just some of our grants and the colleagues who nominated them on the Our News section on the ACT website.

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