Stratford Town Trust are pleased to have awarded £122,258 to local good causes through its Community Recharge Fund. The fund was created in response to the many challenges faced by voluntary and community groups as a result of Covid-19 and aimed to support them to look forward and build their skills, capacity and resilience.

The grants will help organisations to work differently and amongst other things, cover the cost of developing infrastructure, workshops and activities for vulnerable people and the creation of new outdoor spaces.

Orchestra of the Swan have been awarded £12,000 to enable them to transform their performances to reach virtual audiences. Debbie Jagla, Managing Director, Orchestra of the Swan said: “The support from the Town Trust has been an invaluable contribution towards ensuring our freelance players can record and perform live concerts at the Stratford Play House in a Covid-secure environment whilst keeping our audience safe, and towards our ability to successfully market ourselves in this very different world of digital concerts and digital community engagement. We are very grateful to the Trustees for valuing the contribution we make towards the Stratford community.”

Lifespace Trust were awarded £15,136 to enhance training for volunteers and better engage with young people and their families who are facing digital exclusion. Rachel Key, CEO of Lifespace said: “We want every local child and young person who is going through a tough time to have the support of a trained and trusted adult. This grant will help us to both protect and expand our services by supporting our post-Covid strategy, exploring new partnerships and new ways of working.  The Trust has supported Lifespace since it started 16 years ago and shares our commitment to improving the lives of local children and young people. This year and at this time, this support is invaluable. On behalf of our team, our Board, our partner schools and our mentees, thank-you.”

The full list of grants awarded are:

Royal Shakespeare Company Winter Wonderland £20,000 This funding will allow the RSC to develop a range of affordable community engagement activities focused on the residents of Stratford – supporting the community to come together safely to renew relationships, improve mental and emotional wellbeing, and work together to support the town to move forward.
The Parenting Project Digital Delivery of Services £19,165 For a Business Development Manager/ Consultant for 6 months to develop the trading arm of the organisation and increase the capacity and resilience within the organisation. This will then lead to better, more sustainable outcomes for those families facing a range of challenges.
Safeline Development Manager £16,560 For a Development Manager for 6-months to create and implement a business development plan for Stratford Upon Avon to increase the capacity and services for town residents who are survivors of sexual abuse. The new role will also allow Safeline to develop meaningful partnerships and collaboration opportunities to better support those most in need.
Lifespace Trust Continuation of services £15,136 Working differently with young people suffering mental health and emotional challenges this funding to allow Lifespace Trust to: review strategy and operational plans to understand how the pandemic influences delivery in the medium and longer terms, enhance training for volunteers and better engage with young people and their families who are facing digital exclusion.
Escape: Community Art in Action Leadership and Transition Training £15,000 Funding to support infrastructure developments including leadership succession planning and development, increased mental health support activities and the development of Escape’s work experience and digital apprenticeship/leadership programmes.
Orchestra of the Swan Digital working £12,000 To enable the production and distribution for a completely new digitalway of performance. This will support the outreach programme and continue to provide the residents of Stratford with access to world class music performances in care homes or at home.
VASA Stratford Support £9,420 To work with external consultants to bringing complementary skills, fresh ideas and to support a service review with staff and trustees enabling the development of a new strategic plan. This will lead to a more robust, community-centred activity and delivery plan, supporting the most vulnerable and isolated members of the community .
1st Shottery Scout Group Outside meeting facilities £5,902 For the second stage of an outside classroom and meeting space. This will allow meetings to continue and will expand the learning experiences and opportunities of the various scout age groups.

Sara Aspley, Chief Executive, Stratford Town Trust said: “This year has made it especially difficult for our town’s charities and community groups to deliver their vital work to support our community. We’re pleased to help them to look forward and find new and creative ways of working to meet increased need.”