The Old Mill Fund in 2022
In October 2019, Old Mill established a strategic partnership with the Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) to create The Old Mill Fund – our home for charitable giving.
Since its launch, The Old Mill Fund has supported 30 different charities across Somerset, Devon and Wiltshire, helping to improve the lives of over 2,500 people across those communities. Each year we work closely with SCF and agree on which of the applications we’ll support, with our grant funding.
30th August 2022
Jonathan Orchard See profile
The Old Mill Fund focuses on three key areas:
Building brighter futures – helping young people to build skills, confidence and resilience
Reducing rural loneliness – supporting activities that reduce loneliness and help to improve physical and mental health
Strengthening communities – projects that bring people together and build strong, supportive communities that help the most disadvantaged.
Below is some information about three charities that have received grants from The Old Mill Fund.
The Sweet Track Counselling Agency provides therapeutic support for people in Glastonbury and the surrounding areas, including low-cost counselling accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. The Old Mill Fund is supporting their NAT project, which aims to grow their support for young men struggling with their mental health, responding to increased demand. Our funding will support qualified counsellors and further training for the team.
Michelle from the charity told us: ‘Glastonbury has struggled with deprivation over the years, and this appears to be increasing year on year. Covid has had a disruptive effect on children and young people’s routine and stability, and we have noticed an increase in young people requesting support.’
Open Arms helps adults experiencing mental health difficulties by providing peer support groups, encouraging social interaction and providing activities to improve wellbeing. The group were unable to run face-to-face activities for long periods and now that they are able to meet again they have found that members have lost confidence and many new people have started to struggle due to the pandemic. During the autumn, they want to re-engage people with arts and crafts activities as well as nature-based sessions, which people find calming. Our grant is helping them to combine the two, with trips out organised in partnership with other local groups like Wild East Devon.
‘I have suffered from depression for most of my life. After a family tragedy, I struggled to cope alone and was admitted to hospital for treatment. While on the road to recovery in 2017, the mental health facility that I relied on for support was closed. I saw the distress of the people using the centre and, with help from others, I found premises and set up a group so that we could continue to support each other. So Open Arms East Devon was born – we are now a registered charity and I have often been told that people view Open Arms East Devon as their safe place.’
Wiltshire Treehouse provide bereavement support for children, young people, and families in Swindon & Wiltshire. They aim to improve the lives of everyone that they support, helping them come to terms with their bereavement and find a way to cope and live with their new normal. They hope that every child and young person will eventually thrive and know that for some this will be a long journey, with often many cycles of grief as they transition through the age and developmental stages of life.
Wiltshire Treehouse have seen a huge increase in demand following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the grant from The Old Mill Fund is helping them to continue to provide these vital services.
One parent of their service wrote:
‘My husband passed away suddenly, leaving a massive hole in our hearts. The last few months have been extremely challenging for all of us and I got in touch with Wiltshire Tree House soon after he passed away, for guidance on how to support my children.
We were offered a place on their family programme “A Day to Remember!” and were blown away. They organised a day of wonderful craft activities to remember our loved ones, provided opportunities for the adults to share their experiences whilst the children were busy taking part in other activities, offered a wealth of advice and support for the future and above all created a safe space for the children to learn about their emotions and to share special memories about their loved ones.’
If you are engaged with local community groups or charities in need of funding, you can apply to your local Community Foundation directly for one of their many grants. If your needs are in line with one or more of the three key areas that The Old Mill Fund focuses on (see above) then please apply through the SCF. Rounds for applications are open quarterly.
Somerset Community Foundation: 01749 344949 or visit www.somersetcf.org.uk
Wiltshire Community Foundation: 01380 729284 or visit www.wiltshirecf.org.uk
Devon Community Foundation: 01884 235887 or visit http://devoncf.com