GRANTS have been awarded to several charitable causes in Basingstoke from the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation (HIWCF).

The HIWCF has awarded more than £60,000 in grants to smaller charities and community groups across the county to support vulnerable people and families in crisis or living in poverty.

The Action Hampshire Fund aims to empower people in disadvantaged communities through various forms of support.

Of the £61,982 in grants given to causes across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, five of those were for Basingstoke and Deane-based causes.

Home-Start North West Hampshire; Pod Charitable Trust; Basingstoke Voluntary Action; Citizen’s Advice Bureau Tadley and District; and YPI Counselling all benefitted from the Action Hampshire Fund.

Chair of Home-Start North West Hampshire, Janette Hewitt, said “The grant to Home-Start of £4,750 will enable the organisation to train volunteers in safeguarding, confidentiality and practical ideas to help families, and upon completion of training, we match volunteers with a family and provide weekly visits to offer a parenting role model and practical support, to help resolve any issues the family is struggling to cope with.

“Volunteers also receive quarterly training to keep their skills up to date on topics such as paediatric first aid and mental health awareness.”

“In 2017-18 Home-Start North West Hampshire volunteers were able to support 77 families in the home and a further 51 families in groups, with 305 children helped in total.”

Pod Children’s Charity received a grant of £600 for monthly entertainment sessions at Basingstoke hospital. In order to give the children in the ward something to look forward to, they organise activities like magician ‘Fred the Shed’ or other entertainment for a 40-50 minute session.

Charity co-ordinator at Pod Children’s Charity, Pauline Bennett, said “Children may start off feeling a little quiet, anxious and scared of being in hospital, but by the end of the magic show will be happily joining in and interacting with the other children. Children may be in hospital as a result of an accident, illness, planned procedure or check-up, or be in and out frequently due to a life altering condition. The entertainment means that some procedures can be carried out while the child is distracted causing less stress, such as need for a local anaesthetic as opposed to a general, meaning the child leaving hospital has had a positive experience and is less afraid if they need to return for more treatment.”