Chichester City Council distributes £30,000 to local charities

Chichester City Council has distributed discretionary grants to a number of local charities.

One of which is the Chichester City Bell Tower, a youth drop-in centre which runs every day after school from 3pm until 5.30pm, which was set up in 2014 after the government made a ‘number of cutbacks’ to youth services.

A budget of 30,000 was distributed between a number of local charities. Picture contributed

A budget of 30,000 was distributed between a number of local charities. Picture contributed

According to its website, the project was founded and launched in 2014 as a 'joint venture' between local churches, the University of Chichester and the Chichester Cathedral, following 'extensive research' that showed a lack in daily after school youth provision.

It has been given £3,000 for on-going operating costs of the project.

Speaking at a city council meeting last Wednesday, Sam Harding, project co-ordinator, said: “We offer free childcare to people who otherwise couldn’t afford it, games consoles, an area where young people can do their homework and we help people from challenging and difficult backgrounds.

"The centre has a laid back nature. We work closely with schools, delivering assemblies, and we provide 1-1 with young people who need extra assistance.

"Last year, we saw between 200 and 250 young people come through our doors. 60 regulars we see each week who use our facilities."

The Chichester Information Shop for young people, based in Little London, has also been given £3,000.

It is an independent charity which offers free and confidential information, advice, support and counselling to any young person aged between 13 and 25 years old.

Project co-ordinator Melissa Durbin said: “We’ve been a registered charity for six years now. The sessions we give to people are ongoing and not limited as we understand that it sometimes takes a bit longer than that (for the counselling to work).

“We offer immediate emotional support. If someone comes in crisis, they can see someone immediately that day.

“We try all the time to keep our waiting lists down and some of this money will be going towards a local supervisor so we can take on more councillors so we can reduce our waiting lists even further.

"Last year, we saw 251 young people come in for counselling. The waiting lists at the moment are the lowest I've seen them in six years so that is fantastic to know that people don't have to wait so long in distress."

City Angels, which was awarded £5,000, the highest sum distributed by the council, is a project working with people in the city centre during Friday and Saturday nights.

Project administrator Linda Roberts. who said the project was set up in 2011 on request by Sussex Police, told councillors that teams of six to ten volunteers roam the streets between 10.30pm and 2.30am on a Friday evening, to ‘bring a calming presence’.

Linda added: "We have about 65 volunteers at the moment and one of the ways we have been able to bring a calming presence is through our mobile coffee van, which is parked outside the courts, giving out free tea, coffee and hot chocolate.

"This is a proactive way to engage with the public."

The money will help continue City Angels' services, including repairs to its mobile coffee van.

Home Start (Chichester & District) has been given £2,980 to continue its services, which involve visiting families at home each week on a 6-9 month basis, supporting parents in situations as diverse as mental health, isolation, bereavement, multiple births, illness or disability.

They also run a family room in the children and family centre in Chichester, where struggling families, who often can 'feel isolated' at home, can come and 'get out and about'.

Co-ordinator Lois Rowlands said: “Home Start in Chichester has been going for ten years and we provide a unique service for families in the area, who have children under five. We provide specially trained and highly skilled volunteers to go into family's homes to give them support.

"The children in those families are given the opportunity to have the best start in life.

"The volunteers really get to know the families on a 1-1 basis and also support them by providing the fun times for children, as they are often the ones that really suffer when the family is in crisis.

"This generous grant will help us resource and equip the really lovely volunteers and service."

How much did the other grant recipients receive?

Focus: Arts Chichester Poetry (£400 for marketing and promotion of poetry events)

Friends of Priory Park (£2,500 towards book production costs)

5th Chichester Scout Group (£2,000 for improving facilities)

Chichester Area Mental Health Support Foundation

Chichester Lunch Club (£720 for a one-year art project)

Chichester Forest Schools CIC (£2,400 for nature based activities)

Embrace Chichester (£1,000 for developing and setting-up of a website)

Friends of Chartres (£1,000 to cover cost of cultural activities planned during the 60th anniversary of twinning with Chartes in 2019)

Pregnancy Options Centre (£1,500 to fund 75 per cent of counselling team lead’s salary)

Royal Sussex Association Chichester Branch (£3,000 to help veterans travel to France and attend Priez Memorial event)

Swanfield Park Resident Neighbourhood Group (£500 for Summer Fair)

West Sussex Scout Council (£1,000 for 2018 Supreme Box Cart Championship at Goodwood)

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