18.5 C
Saturday, June 22, 2024
History & CommunityGiving back to improve the lives of others by Margery Hookings

Giving back to improve the lives of others by Margery Hookings

A friend of mine has recently become a trustee of the Dorset Community Foundation.

‘They do some terrific work,’ she said. ‘I don’t think people realise all the things they fund.’

To be honest, I had not heard of the charity, which is a surprise, because it’s involved in some really key things in the county. It’s the primary organisation for raising and distributing funding and grant making to good causes in Dorset.

The Foundation’s mantra is: “We help people give back to Dorset to improve the lives of others. Many local residents are facing disadvantage and live in areas which are amongst some of the poorest in the UK. By working together, our communities have benefitted from over £10 million of charitable donations. Our knowledge and expertise inspires donors to give to those most in need.”

A glance at the Foundation’s website,, shows the vast range of projects that have got off the ground and made a real difference to people’s lives, thanks to the organisation’s support.

Over the last two years the Foundation has distributed £209,764 to West Dorset charities and community groups

While Dorset is a relatively well-off and privileged area in many ways, not all of its residents are as fortunate—there are significant numbers of people struggling to cope with disadvantage and deprivation. Thirteen areas in Dorset are in the top 20% of deprived areas nationally.

The findings from the Foundation’s Hidden Dorset Report highlight some of the more important issues facing local communities. These include: a high incidence of older people living in the county (almost a quarter of Dorset’s residents are over 65 and these numbers are increasing); lack of skills and qualifications among young people; mental health issues experienced by people of all ages and rural isolation—an issue which can have a negative effect on everyone.

Over the last 15 years the Foundation has supported many smaller local charities and community groups who make a huge difference in improving the quality of life and opportunities for many less fortunate Dorset residents. There are 2,300 registered charities in the county and another 4,600 community groups who undertake vital work within our local communities.

And as publicly-funded service providers face the twin challenges of continuing constraints on their resources and growing demands for their services, a significant number of charities and community groups are filling the gaps in service provision, while struggling to secure funding for themselves.

As part of its grant-making strategy, the Foundation supports smaller organisations that carry out vital work and also ensure funded projects are sustainable, good value for money, support the maximum number of beneficiaries possible and are monitored and audited to deliver as per project proposal.


Dorset Foundation stories:


Countrymen’s Club

Did you watch Countryfile Dorset? If yes you might have seen Future Root’s Countrymen’s Club featured in the programme—it’s one of the projects the Foundation funded in 2014 through the Dorset County Council Fund. The grant helped the charity scale up its operations by renovating the Whitfield rural activity centre, on the western outskirts of Dorchester, which was previously closed for over a year and needed a refurbishment.

The Countrymen’s Club based in that site offers the opportunity for older people with life changing conditions such as Parkinsons and dementia to benefit from farming therapy.


Raising Aspirations Mentoring Programme—School Art Project

Artist and Foundations Ambassador Stuart Semple offered guidance and support to students at Wey Valley School with their art projects and also spent time chatting to young people wishing to pursue a career in Art.

He said: ‘It is vital to encourage creative kids to pursue their artistic dreams, too often they are discouraged from reaching their potential. There are varied and exciting futures within the creative industries, across so many fields and I am sure we will have some Wey Valley students excelling in the future.’

Bursary Scheme

In September last year, the DCF Bursary Scheme enabled 30 local young people from disadvantaged backgrounds access or continue their education. The supported young people faced additional challenges such as living in a deprived or rural area, having special educational needs, living in a single-parent households, being a carer for a family member.

Applicants received bursaries of up to £1,000 which paid for travel, special clothing and IT hardware and software.

A legacy left to the Foundation by a local teacher Marjorie Gordon helped set up the bursary scheme. Her wishes now live on to support disadvantaged local young people across Dorset.


How to support the Foundation’s work

All the funding the Foundation provides channels the generosity of local people who have made a donation, set up their own charitable fund or have left a legacy. Here is how to support the Foundation’s work:

Local people who want to give back: making a donation or leaving a legacy to an established fund or good cause can make a real difference to people in need locally. Setting up your own fund with the Foundation is a hassle-free alternative to setting up a charity or a private foundation.

Existing trusts: trust management, succession planning and grant-making programmes to maximise local impact.

Local companies: company funds set up with the Foundation offer a meaningful corporate social responsibility programme

To find out more about Dorset Community Foundation visit

Exclusive content

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest article

More article

- Advertisement -spot_img