Cornwall Community Foundation offering hope in a bleak midwinter

December 15, 2022 By Jac Smith

The Cornwall Community Foundation shows the best that Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly can be. It’s about people coming together to help each other. Helping communities overcome complex challenges of disadvantage, exclusion and poverty by awarding small grants to front-line volunteer-led organisations. So, it’s no surprise that they have been a friend to many church communities across the diocese.

Faith-based social action is a cornerstone of the Christian faith. As Bishop Philip said in his Presidential Address at the synod in November, “Church is a community of people… called together… to be shaped for service to the world that God loves and in which Jesus is at work. A world in which levels of poverty and deprivation are growing.”

Cornwall Community Foundation helping to make Cornwall a great place to live for everyone

Cornwall Community Foundation’s vision is for our county to be a great place to live for everyone. That means people working together to end disadvantage and build strong, resilient communities. They help achieve that by raising sustainable funds to distribute to Cornish community and grassroots non-profit organisations making a positive difference in their communities.

They’ve awarded £15million over 19 years, benefitting over 6000 local projects; last year they gave £2.4million to 660 projects. Through the 70 funds they administer, they connect people who care about Cornwall to projects that are life-changing.

Founded by the late Lady Mary Holborow in 1999, working with Bishop Graham and Bishop Bill, they were originally known as the Cornwall Independent Trust. In 2003, they became the Cornwall Community Foundation. Today, they work with Transformation Cornwall, support foodbanks, homeless shelters, scouts, memory cafes and many church projects.

How they have helped churches

Like many independent charities, Cornwall Community Foundation don’t support religious activities.  But they do support church projects that benefit the wider community. For example, Hessenford Church & Village Hall was flooded in Dec 2020.  Last year they received £774 to hire an industrial dehumidifier and fan as the damage was below the flood insurance excess of £2,500.

In Newquay, St Michael and All Angels Church received £2,000 to restore unsafe pillars of the east gate to the church.  Altarnun Church Hall Restoration Group received £1,500 towards an accessible toilet and installation of new non-slip flooring. Luxulyan Church received £2,000 replace light fittings with new LED units. £1,100 helped towards hall windows replacement  for Boyton Church Hall Committee.

These churches were successful in their bids to the Cornwall Community Foundation because of their ministry with and support of the wider community. And that community is hurting, especially as the cost-of-living crisis takes hold.

Cornwall’s Vital Signs 2022

Foodbanks are a familiar feature of our landscape

Tamas Haydu, chief executive of Cornwall Community Foundation,spoke at the November Synod. He shared some of the findings from ‘Cornwall’s Vital Signs 2022’, research they had recently completed with the University of Exeter.

The research into our local economy and employment reveals a full-time worker in Cornwall earns 79% of the national gross median annual salary. Over 26% earn under the living wage, compared to 17% nationally.  20% of our workforce are self employed, compared to 13% nationally, of which 40% earn less than the minimum wage.

Cornwall’s housing situation regularly makes national news. The post-pandemic flight here saw our average house price rising 15% in 2021 (10.8% nationally) to just over £300k. This, combined with social housing at only 11% of our total stock, pushes home-ownership out of reach for a great many.

We’re also struggling health-wise. Again, the pressure on our local hospitals makes the news, with ambulances sometimes having the longest wait time nationally. An ageing population and a huge influx of tourists throughout the year, exacerbates this.  Obesity affects over two-thirds of Cornish adults and costs over £60million annually.

Despite everything, there is hope

There is hope indeed! Cornwall Community Foundation are leading the way, working closely with groups, organisations and charities who are on the ground. Together, they strive to make life better for ‘One and All’.

Currently, they have funding programmes responding to the cost-of-living crisis, surviving winter and a crisis fund. You can find out about these and other funds on their website, with full details of how to apply.

Truro Diocese is very grateful to the Cornwall Community Foundation and all it does to help people across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. If you would like to donate to their fund, knowing the money will go to where it is most needed, please see their website for details of how to do this. Or if you are part of a local, independent charitable trust that feels it needs a helping hand, the Cornwall Community Foundation is a good place to start.

Post expires on February 17th, 2023

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