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Charities welcome Christmas lottery funds for ‘boring stuff’

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A FUNDRAISING application for utility bills might not be the ‘most exciting’ project, but Rob Shepherd from the Guernsey Cheshire Home said paying for gas, electric, water and petrol was vital.

Grow Limited received £15,000 from the Christmas Lottery fund through the Association of Guernsey Charities.

The Association of Guernsey Charities has released details of the 40 local projects to receive funding from the 2018 Christmas Lottery, and the biggest winner was the Guernsey Cheshire Home with an award of more than £26,000.

Mr Shepherd, chairman of the home, was delighted.

‘The Christmas Lottery is one of our long-term supporters. We provide care and opportunity for people with serious physical disabilities in as close to a family atmosphere as possible. We want to provide them with opportunities that most of us take for granted, so they can live as independently as they choose.’

There are 11 full-time residents of the home and a number of day visitors, all managing the challenge of severe physical disabilities including multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, spinal injuries, arthritis and permanent paralysis.

‘We don’t get any direct States funding and we need to raise £50,000 every month, or £600,000 every year. Fundraising is easier when you are aiming for a particular thing like building classrooms, or wings, or need a new minibus, but it’s the dull things we need help with like utility bills, shopping and wages.

‘It’s the boring stuff – and the great thing about the Association of Guernsey Charities is that it really recognises that this boring stuff underpins our entire service and it allows us to tick over.’

Utility bills are the second biggest cost for Les Bourgs Hospice after staffing.

The hospice received £10,000 from the Christmas Lottery for general running costs.

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Hospice director Jo Boyd said it was very welcome.

‘The hospice is independent and relies entirely on public support and this will really help us with our day-to-day costs. It probably sounds a bit boring, but without these fundamentals being covered we wouldn’t be able to operate.’

The hospice not only cares for people facing the end of their life, it also offers support, help and advice to families and carers.

There are seven beds and this year it needs to raise £1.2m. to meet the running costs.

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Fundraising administrator Trish De Carteret said the work they do is very varied.

‘People think that if you go into a hospice, that’s the end, but actually we offer short stays for respite care or pain relief.

‘Many patients visit for a short time and then go home, it’s not necessarily the end of their lives. The range of work we do is much broader than you might think.’

‘Having this grant from the Christmas Lottery gives us some peace of mind. We are lucky in Guernsey that people want to support us. Lots of families have been through our doors and experienced what we do here.

‘We help people through a painful time, but really Les Bourgs is a very positive, uplifting place. As soon as people walk through the door they feel how warm and comfortable it is.’

Horticulture trainees who in the past may have been denied the chance to learn a useful skill are among the beneficiaries of the lottery funds.

Grow Ltd received £15,000 to buy growing equipment such as garden trolleys and flood trays, plus uniform lockers.

The charity provides a safe and secure working environment for people with learning disabilities so they can build up their self respect and confidence levels and feel part of the community.

The main source of Grow’s income is through the sale of plants and produce, but it also relies heavily on donations towards running costs and to ensure a good working environment.

Manager Eddie Higgins said that through gardening they are changing lives, but they work to a very tight budget.

‘It cannot be over-emphasised how important this grant is.

‘Grow provides a service very few others do and the benefits to the disability community are considerable. We will continue to need support to maintain this special charity and are looking to establish a greater diversity of training at the workshop to benefit a wider range of disability needs and I would be more than happy to explain further to any interested party with regard to future funding requirements.’

Grow is holding an open day this Saturday at the vinery on the Coutanchez between 10am and 3pm and plans for the redevelopment of the site will be on show.

Members of the Grow board will be there to answer questions. ‘Please pop along before supporting Guernsey in the Muratti,’ said Mr Higgins.

Helen Bowditch

By Helen Bowditch
News reporter

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