Merchant Venturers Donate £58,000 to Local Good Causes


Bristol’s Society of Merchant Venturers has committed £58,000 to local charities across the West of England and invited further good causes to apply to its Charity Committee for grants.

A further £10,000 has been pledged to the Bristol Old Vic Theatre school development project, which has been experiencing difficulties and delay following the uncovering of abandoned cellars at the site. This latest contribution follows a donation of £10,000 made to the project by the Society last year.

Windmill Hill City Farm has been awarded £5,000 funding towards the redevelopment of a former car park, creating a garden. This will create the hub for a series of community gardens planned throughout Bedminster. This contribution will unlock match funding.

The Society is also awarding £5,000 to the Friends of the Downs and Avon Gorge as a contribution to the cost of restoring a flight of Victorian stone steps on a public footpath that was washed away during the heavy rains in 2012 and are currently unsafe.

A grant of £3,760 is being made to St Werburghs Community Association, enabling the centre to provide IT training for older people for a further year.

An award of £3,145 has been made to Crisis Centre Ministries, a charity that helps the homeless and people affected by drug-addiction in Bristol. The charity’s activities include the provision of a drop in centre that serves hot free meals six days a week and helps people into emergency and supported accommodation. This charity also provides a woman’s night shelter and life skills and training courses for vulnerable people.

The Wheels Project has been given a £2,500 contribution towards its Community Vehicle Programme. Wheels aims to inspire young people who are failing in schools to re-engage with learning by harnessing their interests in motor vehicles and building their confidence and self-esteem in order to progress and compete for employment opportunities.

A grant of £2,500 has been made to Bristol Refugee Rights, which provides drop in services for asylum seekers, including welfare support and advice. This charity is heavily reliant on volunteers.

Bristol-based financial advice agency, Talking Money, has been given £2,500 towards the cost of funding increased working hours for a welfare benefits caseworker. This trained and experienced individual will work with disadvantaged families and individuals to improve their financial circumstances.

A £2,000 contribution has been made to RE:Work, a local charity that provides real work experience to unemployed adults and young people who are excluded from education. This donation supports RE:Store, a project which involves ‘up-cycling’ used furniture.

The Great Western Air Ambulance Charity receives a £1,000 contribution towards the cost of running its Filton-based helicopter. Part of the 999 service, it attends over 100 incidents a month and currently receives no Government funding.

Lifeskills Learning for Living receives a £1,000 contribution towards the cost of running its children’s programme, which provides training for around 10,000 visitors each year at its interactive village.

Chris Curling, Master of the Merchant Venturers said: “We work closely with communities across the West of England and support a broad range of good causes.

“Our work is guided by a commitment to contribute to the prosperity and wellbeing of the greater Bristol area. We are motivated by the desire to enhance the quality of life for local people, particularly the young, older people and disadvantaged.”

Applications for funding can be put forward to the Charity Committee. Chris Curling said: “Our Charity Committee considers applications from organisations addressing a broad range of social issues, whether care for the elderly, tackling homelessness, poverty or the prevention of crime. We are also interested in supporting healthcare projects and the arts.”