10 October 2018

Major UK funder says charities across the West Midlands are innovating to meet high levels of social need


The Garfield Weston Foundation more than doubles its £5m anniversary fund to over £11m to support over 150 charities after overwhelming demand

One of the UK’s largest charitable funders says small community charities are rising to the challenges of unprecedented demand for their services by being proactive and innovative. The Garfield Weston Foundation says it has more then doubled its £5m capital fund to over £11m so it can support over 150 charities and community organisations across the UK.

The Weston Anniversary Fund was launched earlier this year to provide funding to charities to improve their existing facilities or provide new ones as part of the Foundation’s 60th year. The Trustees took the decision to more than double the fund after receiving over 2,300 applications, with over 60% from charities that have never applied to them before.


The Garfield Weston Foundation’s Director, Philippa Charles, says:

“What really impressed our Trustees is the amount of volunteering and community involvement that’s going on across the UK. We heard about so many amazing projects involving local people who are helping their communities thrive – regardless of cuts, Brexit debates and other challenges.

The response from charities to this new fund clearly demonstrates the voluntary sector is proactive and energetic; far from the complacency it is sometimes accused of.

Yet we can also see the level of need that exists in our local communities and how much the services charities provide are so desperately needed. The impact of these grants will be significant, with benefits for many people lasting years.”


From community centres providing services for isolated older people to organisations tackling youth and gang crime, the funding from the Weston Anniversary Fund will help charities from across the UK provide more and better services in their communities. A recent survey by the Foundation found that two-thirds (66%) of small charities expect their income to stay the same or decline this year, yet over half (55%) expect to be delivering more services. Getting help with refurbishments or a new building has been highlighted by charities as important as it helps them earn new income.

The YMCA Black Country Group works with over a 1,000 young people a year across the Black Country area and supports over 350 homeless people at its day centre (The Glebe Centre) in Walsall. The charity have been awarded £88,000 from the Weston Anniversary Fund, which will enable them to refurbish the building to provide a new kitchen, new showers and toilets, a laundry area and training room.


Pauline Tomlinson, Chief Officer Enterprise and Communities, says the improvements will enable them to provide many more services to the local homeless community.

“The Glebe Centre is the only place in Walsall where homeless people can get a shower, change of clothes, medical advice, housing support, with meals provided twice a day along with help with their complex issues all under one roof. We couldn’t quite believe it when we heard the news that we had been successful in applying for funding and we are so grateful to the Garfield Weston Foundation. The renovation of the Centre will make such a difference to those people we support.

The impact of the Foundation’s funding will be wide reaching – we will have an environment that enables homeless rough sleepers to feel valued and it will increase our capacity to provide effective support within an environment that will now be ‘fit for purpose’. Renovating the building will help us to support many more people.”


Gemma Marchewka turned to the Glebe when she needed help.

“The Glebe has helped in so many ways. They helped me get a doctor so I could get medication for my depression. I now have a mental health nurse and have met my support worker who has helped with clothing etc. Without the Glebe I don’t know where I would be. Before I came here I couldn’t see a future but in just a few weeks my life has changed. Without the Glebe I would be on the streets – hungry, dirty, and possibly on drugs.”