Connect with us

Community

Over 100 successful community projects funded by the West Sussex Crowd

A crowdfunding programme launched in May 2018 has seen more than 100 community-led projects in West Sussex hit their target and the window is now open until Thursday 13 February for community groups to put forward new initiatives and projects they would like to receive funding for

Published

on

The West Sussex Crowd, run in partnership by West Sussex County Council and civic crowdfunding website Spacehive, invites communities to come together and propose ideas to regenerate their local areas.

Since its launch, more than 2,800 local people, businesses, district/borough and town/parish councils have backed projects across the county, collectively raising over £750,000 and showing the strength of community buy-in for their ideas.

Duncan Crow, Cabinet Member for Fire & Rescue and Communities, said: “This grant funding is all about supporting community projects, strengthening communities and our councillors working with their communities to help generate support for key projects. 

“We are thrilled that 107 successful projects have hit their target with many more on the way. These diverse and extraordinary projects will strengthen local places and make West Sussex an even greater place to live, work and enjoy.”

Alongside money raised by outside donations through the West Sussex Crowd, the county council can also pledge to crowdfunding campaigns for projects which will have real impact in their local area. Typically, pledges range from £1000 – £5000.

Previous projects which have received funding include:

  • Friends of Downsbrook Forest School raised over £12,000, including a £6,000 county council pledge, from 51 backers to develop a community cabin to allow more people to engage with nature.
  • The Apuldram Centre near Chichester raised over £10,000, of which £2,500 was pledged by the county council, from 75 backers for a new transit van so they can support more adults with learning disabilities to participate in real life work experience.
  • Grandads Front Room in Bognor Regis raised over £9,000, including a county council pledge of £2,053, from 123 backers for a new allotment space, equipment and tools, bringing more local people together. 

Chris Gourlay, Founder and CEO of Spacehive, said: “Spacehive are delighted to be working in partnership with West Sussex County Council on this exciting initiative which has already inspired hundreds of people and groups from West Sussex to engage in transforming local places. 

“Our shared mission is to empower as many people as possible to shape their local area. We believe that if we can achieve that, people will feel a stronger sense of local belonging, and that the places we create together will better serve the needs and aspirations of local people.” 

To see the campaigns currently live and to make a pledge, visit www.westsussexcrowd.org.uk

If you’re a community group who wants to find out more about this round of crowdfunding, Spacehive will be running free workshops on 15 January at Worthing and Haywards Heath to help guide interested parties through the process. 

To register for a workshop, email info@spacehive.com

Community

Southern Rail joins train companies extending free train travel for survivors of domestic abuse

Published

on

Govia Thameslink Railway is supporting an extended nationwide initiative to help domestic abuse victims reach refuge accommodation by offering free train travel.

Govia Thameslink Railway’s Chief Operating Officer Steve White said:

“With the numbers of survivors of domestic abuse soaring during the pandemic, charities are expecting a surge in people trying to escape to a refuge when lockdown restrictions relax. Abusers frequently withhold money, which is why the free train travel we offer as an industry is so vitally important for the hundreds of victims making use of this scheme.”

Southern Rail and its parent company Govia Thameslink are joining other train companies in extending free train travel for survivors of domestic abuse until the end of March next year.

The move comes as figures show four survivors a day, on average, have been using the scheme and reports show that abuse has worsened during coronavirus restrictions.  

Charities are bracing themselves for a surge in people fleeing abusive relationships when restrictions are lifted. The extension will help hundreds more people to take the train, for free, to reach a safe refuge.  

Rail to refuge is a joint initiative between rail companies and Women’s Aid in which train operators cover the cost of train tickets for women, men and children travelling to refuge accommodation. Since April, train operators have provided free tickets to 836 people, including 210 children. In other words, four survivors have travelled to safety each day on average using the Rail to refuge scheme. 

First introduced by Southeastern in September 2019 and then GWR on its routes in March 2020, all train operators joined the Rail to refuge scheme on 9 April with the original plan to keep it in place for approximately 12 weeks or for the duration of lockdown.  

However, with refuges expecting a spike in demand after the current national restrictions are eased, the scheme is now being extended for the rest of the financial year until the end of March 2021. This means hundreds more survivors will access free travel. 

The number of survivors of domestic abuse asking for help has soared during the pandemic. Women’s Aid reported a 41% increase in users visiting its instant messaging Live Chat site within the first two weeks of lockdown in March and as a result extended its opening hours to 10am – 4pm daily. Respect, which runs the Men’s Advice Line, has increased service hours from 46 to 75 hours weekly to support male victims, after seeing a huge increase in demand since March. 

Refuges expect to see the increase in demand across their services continue in the coming months as domestic abuse is worsening and abusers are using the pandemic as a tool for abuse. A recent Women’s Aid survey shows 61% of survivors living with their abuser reported that abuse worsened from March – June 2020, under tighter coronavirus restrictions.  

Many survivors have experienced years of economic abuse, which restricts their practical ability to escape. Free travel can be a lifeline for people fleeing abuse who may not have access to cash. Two-thirds (63%) of people that booked a journey through Rail to refuge said they would not have travelled if the journey had not been paid for. 

Nicki Norman, acting Chief Executive of Women’s Aid said: 

Women face huge barriers in leaving an abuser. Notonly is it an extremely dangerous time, but many survivors have experienced years of economic abuse, which restricts their practical ability to escape. Women tell us that they simply cannot afford to leave because the perpetrator has controlled their money and they have none of their own. Many women and children escape to a refuge with nothing at all.  

Thanks to the rail industry removing the financial barriers of travel, hundreds of women have left abusive relationships and been able to access safety. It is welcome news that this important initiative is being extended, especially as the COVID 19 pandemic continues to severely impact survivors of domestic abuse.” 

Jacqueline Starr, Chief Operating Officer at the Rail Delivery Group, said: 

“We’re proud to have provided a vital lifeline for almost a thousand people escaping a desperate situation, but there are still too many women, men and children that need help. Our staff are working hard to support the survivors of domestic abuse with free train journeys while keeping the railway running for all the people, communities and local economies that rely on it.” 

Survivors of domestic abuse who would like to access the scheme, or need other support, can get in touch with Women’s Aid through their Live Chat service, open Monday – Friday, 10:00am – 4:00pm, Saturday and Sunday 10:00am – 12:00pm: https://chat.womensaid.org.uk 

If you would like to contribute to help survivors access the lifesaving support they need and help them reach refuge, please make a donation today: www.womensaid.org.uk/rail-to-refuge (link goes live on 23 November 2020, 00.01).

Continue Reading

Trending