GRANTS totalling £71,650 have been awarded to an array of groups working to help communities.

Funds have been awarded by The Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Foundation (HIWCF) on behalf of Hampshire County Council (HCC) to 18 countywide groups, including some in Test Valley, working in their communities.

The groups have been recognised as those that help tackle social isolation in Hampshire communities, and were identified by HIWCF, which administers the Valuing Hampshire Communities grant fund on the county council’s behalf.

This funding aims to support residents who are susceptible to social isolation as well as older people who have specific vulnerabilities owing to loss of friends, family, mobility or income.

The grants provided by the Valuing Hampshire Communities Fund, will promote preventative care and support for these people in need while tackling the issue of loneliness.

The groups in Test Valley that have received the funding are Age UK Mid Hampshire which received £4,796 and Enham Trust, which got a boost of £4,357 while Laverstoke-based Test Valley Men’s Shed received £3,720.

Jonathan Cheshire, chairman of HIWCF said: “We would like to thank Hampshire County Council and the Valuing Hampshire Communities Fund for enabling us to reach right to the heart of the local communities to help reduce social isolation and disadvantage, making a real difference where it is most needed.

“However, there were some very valid projects that we were not able to make awards to this time around, so our Foundation still has much work to do.”

This funding is a step in helping the local groups carry on their work to help people have a better quality of life.

Councillor Liz Fairhurst, HCC executive member for adult social care and health, said: “Our grant recipients provide locally-based, timely support to their communities, offering a diverse range of services across the county.

“Our grant funding makes a big difference to residents by supporting the delivery of services that improve health and wellbeing, removing barriers to employment and enhancing overall quality of life.”