It’s #WorldEnvironmentDay raising awareness and protecting our planet

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At Quartet Community Foundation we live to help as many people as possible to fulfil their potential. That might mean helping them to access vital services to support their mental or physical health; it might mean helping to connect vulnerable or elderly people with much-needed company and support; it might be to offer opportunities for people to gain the skills, experience or confidence they need to thrive in their communities, in school, or at work. One of the most satisfying ways that our grants sometimes combine to do all three at once is by helping people to access the natural environment.

Last year we awarded £85,706 in grants to environmental projects, 3% of our £2.8m total grants

-Quartet Community Foundation 2016-17 Total grants, split by Vital Signs theme

On this World Environment Day 2017 we celebrate projects we’ve supported through our grant-making that help to foster a deep connection between people and the great outdoors, enriching their lives and protecting our environment at the same time.

All of the philanthropists and donors we work with are passionate about improving lives, and Mark Hudson is no different. He holds both endowment and revenue funds with us, supporting projects ranging from those giving confidence-building activities for young people to his ‘Quay Environment Fund’ that he’s used to support older people access the natural environment. Mark is also one of our Philanthropy Fellows.

“I wanted to contribute to causes in Bristol”, said Mark, “and to get a feeling that I was helping to improve things here in the city where I live. Belonging to Quartet helps me to make the best use of my funds and to choose which charities to support.”

Growing Support CIC
Mark and Rose discuss plans for the garden at the Redcliffe Gardening Club

Mark’s ‘Quay Environment Fund’ this year awarded £4,900 to Growing Support CIC, a Bristol based organisation aimed at reducing loneliness, social isolation and inactivity in older people, particularly those with dementia, through outdoor and gardening activities. They help people like Rose, a founder-member of their weekly Redcliffe Gardening Club.

“I’ve always lived in a flat”, said Rose, who has limited mobility due to painful arthritis. “The Gardening Club gets me out of the house rather than being stuck indoors all day.”

Rose keeps a beautiful journal of the progress the Club has made in improving the gardens of her social housing estate and engaging fellow residents, and it means a lot to her.

The day Mark visited, the volunteers got the news that Growing Support had won a prestigious Third Sector Excellence Award: ‘Small Charity, Big Achiever’. “I’ve never won anything in my whole life”, said Rose. “It’s beautiful.”

“The Gardening Club gets me out of the house rather than being stuck indoors all day.”

-Rose Member of the Redcliffe Gardening Club, run by 'Growing Support CIC'

The club is just one of the 30 regular groups run by Growing Support in Bristol and the surrounding area and it has plans to expand to North Somerset and other neighbouring counties in the near future.

“With Quartet’s expertise and knowledge of local needs I can be confident that my funds, such as they are, are being well used”, said Mark.

For more information about Growing Support CIC, visit their website.

This year, we also worked with Churngold Environment Fund to offer grants of up to £10,000 for local projects. The Churngold Environment Fund, a charitable programme run by Churngold Construction Holdings Ltd has been supporting local projects that improve or protect the environment since 1997.

Small organisations that have charitable aims were invited to apply for a Churngold grant, where a small amount of money makes a big difference. Groups were invited to apply if they live or are based in Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset, North Somerset or South Gloucestershire, and if their project provides, maintains or improves public spaces, buildings or amenities for the general public’s benefit, for leisure or recreation.

The latest round of grant applications closed just last week, and consideration is being given to charitable projects that focus on improvements to:

One hundred and twenty-four projects have been given the green light in the past twenty years, thanks to funding from Churngold Environment Fund, totalling £342,722.

One hundred and twenty-four projects have been given the green light thanks to funding from Churngold Environment Fund since it began, totalling £342,722.

Portishead Pool from the air
Portishead Pool from the air

Among them is Portishead Pool Community Trust, which was awarded £5,000 last year to improve their facilities for families with young children that visit the pool, installing a safe shaded area for paddling in hotter weather. The project is part of a major refurbishment of the pool, still underway, to protect this historic asset for future generations.

Trustee Tony Stubbs and Barbara Thatcher, one of the volunteers at Portishead Pool Community Trust, are excited about the new sun-shade as part of the refurbishment. “Everyone is really thrilled with the improvements at the pool”, says Barbara. “We’re hoping to have the new shade installed for families in time for the summer holidays.”

Ross Ancell, Chair of Churngold Construction Holdings Ltd, is passionate about the difference his company is able to make in the community, thanks to their fund with us at Quartet.

“Churngold is so proud to have been able to make a difference to over 70 projects and organisations since the fund was formed”, says Ross. “We set up the fund with some landfill tax money, putting it to good use and being more strategic about our corporate social responsibility programmes. Over the years, the fund has allowed us to support some really worthwhile programmes in the communities we work in.”

For more information about this and the many other environmental grants we award, groups should visit the Quartet Community Foundation website or call 0117 989 7700.