Isle of Wight Foundation grants keep good causes on right road

Posted on: December 22, 2023 at 12:07 pm

Three Isle of Wight charities are continuing their good work tackling social exclusion on the Island thanks to grants from the Isle of Wight Foundation.

The foundation, which was established by the companies behind Island Roads – Ringway Island Roads, Meridiam, Island Roads Services and Vinci Concessions – has this year awarded a total of £86,128 to nine Island charities.

The first three recipients of that cash have now been named. The Way Forward Programme, Care in the Garden and Wessex Cancer Support will share £43,000 in support of projects that keep the charities on the road.

A £14,000 donation towards a new minibus means The Way Forward Programme run by Osel Enterprises will continue to transport its clients, who have learning disabilities, autism or mental health issues, to sessions at the charity’s HQ and on excursions.

The charity itself has raised £10,000 towards the total £24,000 cost of the minibus.

In its submission to the foundation, The Way Forward Programme said its minibuses were vital, as not all of its clients could rely on family members for transport, and the charity’s HQ in Newport was not easily accessed by public transport.

Tracey Hill, chief executive, said: “The Way Forward is always looking for new ideas for its customers to develop their independence and enrich their lives. A reliable minibus means the charity can continue to explore new projects and adventures for its customers. Island Roads and the IW Foundation are fantastic supporters of our work and we are so grateful.”

Another grant helping with transport has gone to Care in the Garden, the Wootton-based charity providing work opportunities for adults with additional needs and mental health issues.

The £15,000 grant from the Isle of Wight Foundation will buy a Transit van with tail lift to enable the charity to more easily transport large items of garden furniture made at its Palmers Brook HQ to customers.

This, in turn, will free up more space at the Care in the Garden HQ.

John Goodenough, founder and chief executive, said: Everyone at Care In The Garden really appreciates the amazing support from the IW Foundation. Their belief in what this company stands for, and their continued financial support is vital in helping us to continue to develop and fund social care, so that we can provide our clients with the same meaningful opportunities that you or I have.”

Wessex Cancer Support’s Daisy Bus service, which takes cancer patients to mainland hospitals for vital appointments and treatment, has been granted £13,167 to cover minibus hire, insurance and maintenance costs for the next 12 months.

In 2022, Isle of Wight patients clocked up more than 10,000 trips in the Daisy Buses in Portsmouth and Southampton.

As well as making the logistics of getting to mainland appointments less stressful, there is also a social inclusion element to the project as patients get the chance to be among a group rather than travelling alone.

A spokesperson said: “The buses have become informal support groups, and their value to our clients has grown into much more than transport.”

Rob Gillespie, chair of trustees at the Isle of Wight Foundation, said: “Social inclusion is at the very core of what the foundation aims to achieve and these projects we have supported illustrate how we can help.”

“It is particularly fitting that a foundation that came about through a highways improvement project has been able to assist three very important projects that help people travel more easily, and access the great services offered by these special charities.”

Other recipients of this year’s IW Foundation grant will be announced soon.