By Leslie Mitchell
GOSPORT support group CHAT2US has just learned that the group has received a £6,944 grant award from *Hampshire and Isle Of Wight Community Fund – HIWCF. Paid through the Kenwood Community Fund, it will enable them to cover running costs and develop their services.
Project manager Jeanette Perry – pictured – said: “This is a great boost to us. CHAT 2US was set up to promote supported decision making and relieve social isolation in Gosport.
“Bureaucracy, form filling for benefits and dealing with debt management and accompanying people to health or legal appointments can be daunting for many people and our efforts are very much appreciated.
‘There are often hours of phonecalls and emails’
“A lot of our preliminary work is done at face-to-face meetings with a client in their own home or in a public place they feel comfortable with. However, there are often hours of phonecalls and emails, printing off lengthy forms etc after that before more complex matters can be addressed and resolved. This is done by trained volunteers while maintaining client confidentiality.
“Apart from those who contact us directly CHAT2US receives referrals from GP surgeries, Social Services, and local organisations and charities. Feedback has been very positive. “
Through this work it became apparent that many people feel socially isolated and a CHAT2US monthly Social lunch was established a few years ago. On the third Monday of each month members meet from 11am to 1pm at the Henry Cook Centre (Waterside Community Church) South Street, Gosport, and enjoy refreshments on arrival, followed by an activity, either craft, games, guest speaker or entertainment followed by a buffet lunch including healthy options.
The venue is wheelchair accessible.
In response to requests a CHAT2US ladies group meets on the other Mondays of the month for an informal /tea coffee and craft morning at the same venue. New members are welcome to both groups.
According to Jeanette: “The money we have received from HIWCF will help us with our ongoing expenses, hire of venue for our meetings, transport for our less able clients to attend them, publicity and fundraising to make sure our services continue.”
“We really appreciate HIWCF’s faith in us and are happy to be working in partnership with them. Finding funding for our group is an ongoing process and we have approached other funders for assistance. We have learned by experience that after applying it can take several months to learn if we have been successful.
‘We can now keep supporting local residents’
“In July we were awarded £1,000 from Arnold Clark Car Services to cover transport costs in making home visits, and to bring housebound members to our meetings. Thanks also to The Southern Cooperative who gave us £450 and a micro grant of £400 from Neighbourly. With these in our account we are confident that we can now keep supporting local residents and continue our group meetings until Christmas 2022.
*HIWCF is an independent charitable Trust established to inspire local giving for local need. The Community Foundation works with both donors who want to give something back to their communities and voluntary groups providing vital services for local people. Companies, individuals, families and trusts can establish a fund with the Foundation, which supports a national network of 46 Community Foundations, one of the fastest growing philanthropic movements in the UK.
For more information about the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation, applying for a grant or supporting the Foundation’s work, please visit www.hiwcf.com, Facebook@hiwcf or Twitter @HICWF.
To contact CHAT2US call or text 07450028410 leaving a brief message and contact details.
Email: Confidential firstname.lastname@example.org.