Throughout the year, all colleagues across Ardonagh worldwide have the opportunity to apply for a grant from Ardonagh Community Trust (ACT) for up to £5,000 towards a project or charity close to their hearts and connected to their local community. On a quarterly basis, the charities nominated are considered by our ACT Trustees, and today we share the seven brilliant causes being supported through the Q2 round of grants. Read the stories behind each of the projects that have successfully received funding and why our colleagues have nominated them.
Nominated by David Gordon, Ed Broking – Ardonagh Specialty
The Breck Foundation is incredibly close to the heart of David, which was founded by his wife Lorin. In 2014, Lorin’s son Breck was groomed and murdered by someone he had met online. Out of this tragedy, the foundation was created in the determination that no other teen or family would have to experience the same ordeal.
Breck Foundation campaigns for a safer internet for all children and young people –whether they are gaming, communicating on social media, or using apps to help young people and the wider UK public reclaim the internet from those who seek to harm others through it.
The £5000 grant will go towards the charity’s Breck Ball, which is back for the first time since the pandemic to support the night’s fundraising success which will go towards the foundation’s continued work to promote internet safety.
David shares the impact Breck Foundation has. “I first became aware of how important it is for young people to understand the risks and dangers, they face online along with the benefits and entertainment they enjoy whilst engaging online, after meeting Lorin LaFave, who is now my wonderful wife, who had lost her son Breck through grooming whilst gaming online with friends from school.
“As our children spend much of their time online, engaging with numerous people and platforms, the lessons of the Breck Foundation educate young people, parents and schools on how to recognise the signs of grooming and what to do to prevent harm which is crucial for every child’s wellbeing.
“It is every parent’s worst nightmare to lose a child and with the education the Breck Foundation provides, parents are better able to navigate their children’s online interactions to ensure they have a healthy and safe experience on the platforms they are using. As a parent myself, I know that education in ‘real-life lessons’ is key to ensuring the best outcomes for our children, therefore, I am so pleased that Ardonagh Foundation was able to support this important work to help keep children safer online.”
Nominated by Dominic Rooney, Hera Indemnity – Ardonagh Advisory
Devoted to improving the lives of older people in and around Southend-on-Sea in Essex, Dominic is a long-term supporter of Age Concern Southend – having volunteered for over two years and fundraised for them on many occasions.
Having seen the loneliness many elderly people experience, he knows the difference Age Concern in improving the wellbeing of local people through their Haven Community Hub, Befriender Service and exercise classes. The Befriender service alone supports more than 200 people every week come together – and in some cases, this being their only social interaction.
The £3250 grant from ACT will fund a new programme of classes focuses on making friendships and community connections, including a regular series of Art Afternoons, Coffee & Conversation, Knit & Knatter and Games & Gossip.
Dominic shares why the charity matter to him. “Age Concern Southend has been doing great work in my local community and I have used The Haven Community Hub, which is open to all ages. I have supported in different ways – buying presents for their Christmas Grotto or donating money to buy isolated elderly people a meal on Christmas Day. My wife works for the charity and tells me how many lonely older people she sees every day are. I can see how successful their exercise classes are and how there is a need for a gentler type of class to reduce loneliness and social isolation. I will continue to support them, as they are making a big difference to my local community.”
Nominated by Daniela Caballero, Robus Group Gibraltar – Ardonagh MGA
Daniela has been closely involved with Duquesa Charitable Society of St George in Gibraltar since being part of the team that founded it 10 years ago. The society does all sort of things to help the local community – from supporting a social kitchen to an annual Christmas present appeal, a Ukraine donation drive, and funding a member of the community every year to complete a college course (most recently nursing)! The society even has its own second-hand shop to raise funds so that they can continue to give back.
The £5000 from ACT will fund three defibrillators. There is only once ambulance service the area and the nearest major hospital is over 40 minutes away, so the installation of this life-saving equipment will provide a critical service when it matters most.
Daniela explains why the funding is so important. “As a founder of the St. George charity, I will be part of this charity forever. There are only four committee members, so we all pitch in to make the charity a success. We just about survived the COVID lockdown (all our shops were closed, and we were relying on donations alone) so we are confident that we will be able to sustain and support ourselves well into the future even if there is another lockdown. The Community Grant will allow us to make a real difference to the support the Charity can offer and help to continue to foster support from our volunteers.”
Nominated by Ian Blunnie, Ardonagh Group Central Functions
Ian recently joined Norwich Men’s Shed as a Trustee, after seeing the amazing work they were doing in the community to support wellbeing. Men’s Shed is a national movement made up of independent self-funding hubs. Norwich Men’s Shed (NMS) is a membership cooperative open to men from the Norwich area and offers a dedicated workshop where likeminded people, sharing skills and knowledge, and gaining a renewed sense of purpose and belonging..
The £5000 grant from ACT will go towards the Shed’s move to a temporary space whilst development is being done to their current site over the next two years to ensure the workshop can remain open for all those who use it.
Ian, who is also Chair of Trustees for the Shed, describes why the cause is close to his heart. “As a movement, Men’s Sheds across the country face a daily challenge to self-fund their activities and support their community. This award for Norwich Men’s Shed from ACT will make a huge difference and provide a stable environment for its members to get much needed support and support others from their community”
Nominated by Suzanne Mitchell, Schofield Insurance – Ardonagh Advisory
Suzanne became involved in West Bowling Amateur League Football Club through her son and daughter, who have both been supported with their mental health by taking part in the club’s youth sessions.
The club is looking to provide more opportunities for women and girls, particularly from deprived backgrounds, to take part so that they can benefit from the physical, emotional, and social wellbeing benefits that being part of a sports team can provide. The £4760 grant from ACT will fund a year of coaching and equipment for these sessions to get off the ground.
Suzanne shares why the club matters to her. “Myself and my family are part of West Bowling and we have experienced first-hand what sport can do for a young person. My son has played at the club for five years and it’s really helped him overcome many issues he faced. When he needed his own outlet rugby proved to be just what he needed, and the coaches have really helped him focus his emotions in a positive way. My daughter too has shown an interest in rugby and although she only joined the club for a short time, it was amazing for her self-esteem. Rugby gives a sense of belonging and I really believe that the more opportunity the club has to grow the youth teams the more positive can be done for the wider community in Bradford.”
Nominated by Angela Hickling, HR – Ardonagh Specialty
Angela initially got involved with Sanctus as a volunteer in the kitchen, preparing food for homeless people supported by the charity, and is now a Trustee. Based in Chelmsford, Sanctus is the only day centre supporting homeless and vulnerable people for a significant area of Essex – open 365 days a year and serving up to 80 meals a day (a massive 29,000 meals a year!).
The £5000 grant from ACT will provide three homeless or vulnerable people with a hot nutrition two course lunch, breakfast or tea take out and as many hot drinks as they want along with a safe, dry warm place to spend the day for a whole year, and also fund 50 support meetings to help someone turn their life around.
Angela describes why the grant will make a difference. “I made the commitment to become a Trustee for a minimum of five years in January this year after spending some time volunteering in the kitchen helping out with the prep and delivery of the meals in the café once a month. It is both a worrying prospect and exciting time with the development and need for the services Sanctus provides becoming more and more important as we head into these turbulent economic times. We have more volunteers than ever before, but still not always enough with a number of fundraising challenges as we compete against other worthy causes and donors have less to give.
"Nonetheless we still manage to deliver help and assistance over and above a hot meal and a safe place, for example being able to help with a young lady and her daughter who became homeless due to an abusive relationship, the repatriation of a homeless gentleman who had fallen on hard time after coming over to the UK enabling him to return not only to a physical location that could provide him with a support network of friends and family but had accommodation and employment pre arranged, we also managed to help the family of a service user who unfortunately passed away arrange and pay for a proper funeral at which his family and friends could say a proper farewell. It’s so important that a place like Sanctus exists to help people at such critical times."
Nominated by Aidan Channer, Price Forbes – Ardonagh Specialty
Aidan has been working alongside members of his local community in Saffron Walden to form Walden Community Action for Refugees to raise money to rehome a family displaced by conflict in Syria or Afghanistan through the UK Government’s Community Sponsorship scheme.
To take in one family, the group have a target of £9,000 of which they have already raised over £3000 themselves through local events and donations (like the auction pictured below). The £5000 grant from ACT will push their fundraising to the finish line and will be used to provide accommodation, education, and support services as the family settle in the first year.
Aidan shares why he’s involved in the project. “Throughout the world there are families being forced to flee their homes and start new lives in foreign countries with different cultures. The Charity has been set up by my sister-in-law, and myself and my wife are both on the organising committee. Having witnessed on television the plight of refugees and hearing the difficulties these families face in trying to restart their lives, I joined the main core of volunteers to work together to bring this project to fruition. As we seek to become a more diverse community, I can see no better way than this to lead by example.”
Read stories about the people and projects we have supported so far on the ACT website.
If you have any questions, reach out to the ACT team using email@example.com.