Community fund makes awards to local groups

Jul 30, 2020


COMMUNITY groups are set to benefit to the tune of thousands of pounds thanks to a new initiative by Milton Keynes Development Partnership. 

The MKDP Community Fund was established last year to award individual grants ranging from upwards of £500 to local not-for-profit organisations for new projects that benefit Milton Keynes residents, communities and their quality of life.

MKDP is giving nearly £28,000 to local groups through the organisation’s first Community Fund awards and has also made a major donation to the Covid-19 MK Emergency Response Appeal.

It received 25 applications for funding from across Milton Keynes. The five successful bids include a church-led community initiative, an equestrian charity and a youth counselling service.

MKDP, which is wholly owned by Milton Keynes Council, has also made a £15,000 contribution to the Covid-19 MK Emergency Response Appeal set up by the council and MK Community Foundation. The emergency appeal was launched in April to support charities and community groups helping vulnerable people through the coronavirus outbreak.

Charles Macdonald, chief executive of Milton Keynes Development Partnership.

Chief executive Charles Macdonald said: “It is critical local organisations have the resources they need to support those in need during the coronavirus pandemic. That is why we have made a significant donation to the Covid-19 MK Emergency Response Appeal alongside our Community Fund awards.

“While it was difficult deciding which of the many deserving applications should be given a grant, we feel the ones chosen will deliver real results and great benefits to the communities they serve.”

The largest individual grant is £13,000 to Grand Union Vineyard Church in Netherfield. The church will use the funding to bring five separate community projects together under one roof to tackle issues of social deprivation and child poverty on the estate. 

The work will include bringing local people together, providing free clothing and shoes to parents who cannot afford school uniforms for their children, distributing food that would have been thrown away by shops, well-being mornings and safe places for residents.

Rachel Kleinsmith, of Grand Union Vineyard Church, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded this grant. It will really help us to bring some of our community projects together in one building and make it so much easier for people to access them.  

“At the moment, we have separate projects running across Milton Keynes, but find that many people would benefit from being able to visit one location to get the help they need. A huge thank you to MKDP Community Fund, we are all very excited to start this project.”

YIS Youth Counselling Service is receiving £5,800 to support a free counselling service for 11 to 21-year-olds across Milton Keynes. It will provide recruitment, training, support and clinical supervision for volunteer counsellors.

MKDP Community Fund is also giving £5,000 to Ride High, the Loughton-based charity that transforms the lives of disadvantaged children by giving them the opportunity to learn to ride and look after horses and ponies.

The grant will be used to revamp the charity’s clubroom, offices, kitchen, staff and volunteer areas at its equestrian centre.

Castlethorpe Parish Council is getting £3,500 to purchase two much-needed defibrillators while Tinkers Bridge Residents Association will get £500 to restock and maintain the wooden raised garden beds around the estate.

MKDP will announce details about how to apply for the next round of grants later in the  year.

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