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Review of 2019

… another exciting year

Building strong relationships with like-minded charities and good causes is one of the Foundation’s key objectives. During 2019 we returned to help some old “friends” but also added some new faces, all with exciting and imaginative projects that we were able to fund. Our strong performance in 2018 has been followed by a great 2019.

Our grant activity is the best place to start and during the year we made grants totalling £31,821 to the following organisations:

4D Nucleofactor platform

Towards the end of 2018 we contacted Institute in the Park in Liverpool to get an update on their research work and to explore how we could help with a second grant. Eventually we agreed to fund the cost of some “cutting edge” technology, a 4D Nucleofactor platform from Lonza enabling new laboratory research to be undertaken. Crucially this technology will enhance current investigations into the role certain genes play in the development and progression of autoimmune diseases in children.  It will also benefit the lab based research projects being carried out as part of the Experimental Arthritis Treatment Centre for Children. This also represents the largest single grant, at £13,717, we have made to date. Our relationship with the Institute in the Park is special and they are one of our key “Partners”. Dr Angela Midgley has sent us an update in January, which we have published on our site, on how the new equipment is being used.

We have a strong relationship with Southside based in Bath and in March 2019 at a review get-together were struck by the lack of private consultation meeting rooms. These rooms are vital in undertaking their work with clients where privacy is essential. After much discussion and investigation into the practicalities of delivering these rooms, we approved a grant of £8,355 to cover the work.

… new consultation rooms at Southside

Our grant will deliver three much needed quality counselling rooms at their offices in Meade House. The rooms they had used for counselling, individual family support and meetings with their Independent Domestic Violence Advisors were poor. This renovation and conversion work will transform the important counselling that is pivotal to helping challenged people re-engage with society and improve their lives. The building work is scheduled for completion by mid-2020.

…. in the lab at UWE

We have supported various organisations in the past that focus on dementia and Alzheimer’s. In early 2018 we came across a charity called Brace, based in Bath, which has a great record in research into dementia. Through them we met Myra Conway, Professor in Biomedical Science, at UWE in Bristol. Myra and her team are working on a dementia research project “Understanding the metabolic link between type II diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease”. This research has identified a group of proteins that are involved in a mechanism that helps clear abnormal material that build up in the brain tissue of people with Alzheimer’s disease. It might be possible to regulate these proteins through changes in diet which could slow down or delay Alzheimer’s disease. Recent studies have shown that people with type 2 diabetes have a 50:50 risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease but the mechanism that connects the two conditions is not known. Improving our understanding of how diabetes can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease could lead to more effective treatments. The enthusiasm and commitment of Myra and her team are compelling and given the importance of the research we decided to help. Our grant of £6,434 will fund new and the replacement of critical laboratory equipment needed to undertake this important work.

.. making a difference

Blooming Blossoms charity based in Hackney London focuses on helping disadvantaged children and young people overcome disability and learning difficulties. We have supported this wonderful charity, working in a deprived area of London, in the past and decided to make them another grant.

At the back of their centre is a garden space which is currently empty.  Our grant of £816 purchased garden equipment for the children to use between sessions, as part of therapy practice and for holiday play schemes.  Like, all other kids, these children need a safe space to play, laugh and create friendships. These activities provide a lifeline to the families and their children. The after school play haven and therapy centre giving disabled children a safe space after school, to hang out and have fun.

We also made grants from our Small Grant Pot to the following

  • Teen Action, a small charity in Hackney and Haringey focused on improving the lives of disengaged, deprived and disadvantaged young people. Team Action develop young people’s capabilities, confidence, skills and wellbeing, helping them to reach their potential and secure jobs. Our grant of £650 covered the cost of converting a small kitchenette into a fully functional SEN room with 2 computers, comfortable chairs, calming lighting and décor and learning aids. This facility will cater annually for approximately 20 young people with additional learning needs as well as over 200 Teen Action members at their 1:1 career guidance meetings.
  • A further grant to Infosound, a charity based in Brighton that produces free information, in audio, for vision-impaired people on subjects that directly affect living with sight loss in Great Britain. Over recent years, with our help, they have transformed their studio hub and are now embracing new technology such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home to deliver a versatile way of engaging with their target audience. Our grant of £500 helped to purchase a much needed studio computer.
  • BBC Children in Need, Debra, Salvation Army and Prostate Cancer UK

There is a healthy pipeline of grant applications and we are looking at new charities and different imaginative projects that are in keeping with our aims and objectives. As expected some proposals do not get a grant and many charities that apply for grants do not offer a good fit with the Foundation but these need to be set against the significant number of successes.

Our finances are in good shape with the expendable endowment fund standing in excess of £500,000 which gives us the confidence to set an annual grant budget of at least £25,000 for the foreseeable future.

Our Annual Report & Accounts for 2018-19 were filed with the Charity Commission on 9 October covering the developments we have made to deliver our strategy and key objectives.

We are pleased with our progress but there is much to be done.