Community groups in Sussex, Surrey and Kent were celebrating this week as London Gatwick announced the recipients of nearly £100,000 of funding from the first round of the London Gatwick Foundation Fund of 2024.

A total of 17 groups across the region benefitted from a financial boost from the fund as they continue to battle the cost-of-living crisis.

In Sussex, the five good causes to receive funding were Wealden Volunteering (£8,000), Autism Support Crawley (£7,000), Bentswood Hub in Haywards Heath (£5,000), The Good Company People in Wealden (£5,000) and the Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group in Crawley (£5,000).

Surrey groups which benefitted were Always Learning Developing and Growing (ALDAG) in Mole Valley (£8,000), Prospero Theatre CIC in Tandridge, I Choose Freedom in Surrey and Young Epilepsy in Tandridge, which all received £5,000, Menshare Listening Group in Horley (£4,364) and Leatherhead Youth Project (£3,500).

In Kent, the good causes included Nourish Community Foodbank in Tunbridge Wells (£9,000), Bridges Centre in Sevenoaks (£7,500), Friends Together in Tonbridge (£4,500), Tunbridge Wells Sea Cadets (£4,000), Scotts Project Trust in Tonbridge (£3,750) and Tunbridge Wells and District Volunteer Bureau and Community Car Service (£1,250).

Anna Sharkey, Bentswood Hub director and CEO, said: “This money will allow us to deliver another year of work experience and support to young people from special needs and alternative provision schools, and young people at risk of becoming not in education, employment, or training, in our safe and friendly community café with community larder.

“The young people receive inhouse barista training from our very own coffee specialist followed by four consecutive weeks of work experience to embed the barista skills they have learnt along with customer service skills and learning how the community larder works.”

Melanie Wrightson, stakeholder engagement manager at London Gatwick, said: “We love supporting community groups through the London Gatwick Foundation Fund. Hearing how the money we donate makes a difference to people’s lives is a constant source of joy.

“Sadly, we’re still reading headlines about how the acute cost-of-living crisis is impacting the UK and we know grassroots organisations and voluntary projects will be feeling the financial pressure.

“The London Gatwick Foundation Fund has supported hundreds of good causes over the years. We would like to urge local charities and community groups to apply for the next round of funding and allow us to help them too.”
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