Almost £130k for the community in final grants of 2018

THE COMMUNITY will benefit from almost £130,000 worth of grants being announced by Stratford Town Trust in its final round of 2018.

Funding totalling £129,173 is being awarded to support 16 different causes.

One of those organisations hoping it will make a big difference is The Friendship Project for Children, a Warwickshire charity which matches children in need with adult volunteers – called ‘Older Friends’ – for friendship and fun, whilst helping to build a child’s self-esteem and confidence. They spend 2 or 3 hours a week together enjoying activities and outings – from footy in the park to catching a movie.

The Friendship Project has been awarded a grant of £7,070 to support its work and its friendships in Stratford – and crucially to raise its profile in a bid to recruit more volunteers who are desperately needed to help disadvantaged children in the town.

The charity currently supports 65 friendships across Warwickshire – but there are a similar number on the waiting list, unable to be paired with a friend because there aren’t enough volunteers.

In Stratford, there are 6 friendships currently supported, but so many more children waiting to benefit. The Friendship Project has asked local schools to pause sending referrals until there are more volunteers recruited.

“If we could just double the number of older friends in Stratford it would be amazing – because there is no shortage of children in need,” Richard Barrett, Friendship Project Trustee and Fundraiser, said.

“Our volunteers come from all sorts of backgrounds, some are parents whose children have grown up and moved away, others don’t have any children. But of course, ‘older friend’ is just the term we use – it could be someone in their 20s, who has moved away from home themselves, from nieces and nephews perhaps.

“You have to have an interest in developing a one-to-one friendship with a young person, in taking the time to talk to them, gradually building their trust, enabling them to experience things in a safe environment that they would not usually have the opportunity to do. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive – it could be playing football in the park, but to a child who doesn’t get to do that – maybe because their parent is caring for a disabled sibling at home, it means a huge amount.”

“It’s so rewarding for our older friends too – many say it’s the best thing they have ever done.”

For more information see or call 0845 8382098


Also receiving a smaller grant that will make a big difference is the Stratford Youth Theatre, receiving £5,072 to supports its production of Robin Hood coming up at the Stratford Playhouse in April. Stratford Literary Festival has been awarded £4,000 to support its ‘Books with Friends’ group – a free, informal book club for those over 55.

Larger grants go to Escape Arts – receiving £24,536 to provide longer term investment to underpin a pivotal community inclusion volunteer and youth work experience programme, reaching isolated people; Lifespace Trust, receiving £17,545 to support the training of more volunteer mentors for young people; and Stratford Foodbank, receiving £12,800 to allow it to continue and develop.

Avon Bowling Club has been awarded £10,000 to support the enhancement of club facilities, while Stratford Town Council has been awarded £5,000 to work with the Town Trust to again include the community in a special ‘People’s Pageant’ as part of the annual Shakespeare Birthday Celebrations parade.

The full list of grants awarded are as follows:

Applicant Project Grant
Stratford Town Trust Charitable Activities Bandstand Concerts 2019 £3,600
Stratford Town Trust Hardship fund – to support individuals £10,000
Stratford District Council UBUS £15,500
Lifespace Trust Volunteer mentor training and supervision £17,545
The Friendship Project for Children Support for Stratford friendships £7,070
Escape Art Volunteer and work experience framework – creating community wellbeing £24,536
Stratford Foodbank Foodbank continuation and development £12,800
Stratford Literary Festival Books with Friends and family ticket costs £4,000
British Red Cross Emergency Response Service £2,000
Avon Bowling Club Enhancement of club facilities £10,000
Stratford Youth Theatre The legend of Robin Hood £5,072
1289 Air Squadron Equipment trailer project £2,550
Stratford Town Council People’s Birthday Carnival Parade £5,000
Royal British Legion Improve disabled access to club and ladies toilets £7,000
Stratford Society Development of Stratford-upon-Avon Historic Spine project £500
VASA Stratford Day Services £2,000
    TOTAL – £129,173


Sara Aspley, Chief Executive of Stratford Town Trust, said: “We’re really pleased to be able to support each and every one of these organisations and projects – from the larger grants that sustain some of the most invaluable charity work already happening in the town, to the smaller grants which can have an equally big impact. There are so many people working incredibly hard to make a difference in our community, and we’re very proud to support them.”

Stratford Town Trust is a grant-giving charity dedicated to supporting local people and community projects. Since 2001 the Trust has distributed around £2 million each year in a diverse programme of grant-making, from large grants to small levels of funding.

Grant applications are welcomed from across the community – for projects of all sizes which support the people of Stratford-upon-Avon town.

Applications for funding in Round 1 of 2019 will be invited throughout February.