Consistent with the Foundation’s aim to value generosity and encourage and celebrate giving, the Foundation’s trustees each year identify a group of community-based charities to receive an unsolicited donation, with the aim of providing a seasonal boost. The annual theme is decided by the trustees and is separate from the Foundation’s strategic funding areas. Previous years’ donations have supported inclusive leisure activities for children with disabilities, young carers, and lunch clubs to reduce social isolation in old age. This year we are supporting nature-based interventions to promote well-being, and have donated £125,000 in total to eighteen charities across the UK.
As well as the obvious physical benefits of being outdoors in fresh air, outdoor activities, from rambling to horticultural therapy, are also a great way to develop children’s awareness of the natural world, bring communities together and improve people’s well-being. Some of the charities we’ve chosen this year use experience of the natural environment as a therapeutic intervention, others focus on improving access, or on developing gardens and other green spaces for their local community to enjoy.
Recipients include Scottish charity Beach Wheelchairs, which hires out specially designed wheelchairs free of charge from their seaside locations using local volunteers, so that individuals with disabilities can get back on the beach.
In Yorkshire, Follifoot Park Disabled Riders Group provides therapy, fun and a sense of achievement to children with disabilities. Pennine Lancashire Community Farm’s staff and volunteers work across community gardens, woodlands, working farms and public parks to improve community access to green spaces. Horticulture and education charity Normandy Therapy Garden in Surrey work with adults and teenagers with learning difficulties, physical disabilities and mental health challenges, while in Nottinghamshire, Muddy Fork provides a safe and non-judgemental space for people to improve their well-being and mental health through volunteer conservation and wildlife gardening.