The organisations making a difference

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Your nominations have helped us support so many great local causes. Find out about some of the organisations we’ve granted funding to, and how they’re helping people in need, below

It’s a fantastic time for the Royal London Foundation. We received a record number of nominations from members in 2018, meaning we were able to donate more to local causes.

The Foundation offers individual grants of £5,000 to support the work of not-for-profit organisations and community groups nominated by members. Thanks to you, we were able to grant a total of £350,000 to 70 organisations across the UK in 2018, an incredible 89% increase on the amount we donated in 2017.

Explore the map below, or watch our videos, to see the great work some of these causes are doing in your communities. Please note, in some instances, names have been changed to protect the identities of the people involved.

Map of UK which highlights the locations of five not-for-profit organisations the Royal London foundation supported in 2019

Mustard Seed is a charity that offers professional and practical support to families living with autism. With the help of trained volunteers, they work in family homes or at local venues to help children on the autistic spectrum develop physical, social, communication and emotional skills.

Tom’s story

Mustard Seed has helped Tom and his family over the past three years. He’s received a huge range of support, from occupational therapy to improve his motor skills and difficulties with sensory processing, including eating and sleeping, to anxiety management, allowing him to develop calming strategies that help him manage at school. Furthermore, Mustard Seed’s Friendship Zone has helped Tom to improve his social and emotional understanding, meaning he can better interact with other children. His parents also attended a six-week Empowering Parents Course, which boosted their confidence in understanding Tom’s needs and behaviours. Now, Tom is developing the skills he’s learnt in his daily life, improving his relationships and emotional wellbeing.

Find out more about Mustard Seed.

Mellor Country House provides low-cost, self-catering breaks in the countryside for financially and socially disadvantaged people living in the Greater Manchester area. Run by volunteers, the house hosts between 800 and 1,000 visitors a year, including families, groups, carers and individuals, in a safe, relaxing and uplifting environment. It also offers educational services to help visitors with everything from interview techniques to social skills.

Diana’s story

Diana has been a regular visitor to Mellor Country House for over 20 years. Having had problems with alcohol, she describes the house as her ‘bolt hole’ when everything becomes too much. Diana decided to become a volunteer at the house as she wanted to give something back, so she joined a team running a kiosk at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, selling pies and pints to raise money. As Diana used to be a barmaid, this brought back happy memories and has boosted her confidence. She’s also developed a love for gardening and vegetable growing, and has even been involved in the Tatton Park Flower Show. Diana has made many positive changes over the years, and she now has a much better quality of life.

Find out more about Mellor Country House.

Vision Care for Homeless People (VCHP) offers eye care services to homeless and other vulnerable people. VCHP has NHS-standard opticians’ clinics in London, Brighton, Birmingham, Exeter, Leeds and Manchester, as well as a mobile service in East London. The services, which include eye tests and providing glasses, are run by optometrists who are mostly volunteers, as well as volunteer dispensing opticians and clinic assistants.

Dave’s story

Dave, a homeless man from London, had poor eyesight that was making it difficult for him to get a job. He’d been trying, but when he was given something to read at an interview, he couldn’t see it properly and became flustered. He’d also stopped using the internet to look for work because it hurt his eyes. Dave visited the VCHP clinic in Shepherd’s Bush and was delighted to receive new glasses. He eagerly went to his next appointment at the Job Centre, and soon found himself a job working full time as a kitchen porter in Chiswick.

Find out more about VCHP.

Come Singing provides therapeutic singing and music sessions for people living with dementia, and their carers or family. Run by volunteers, Come Singing holds over 20 monthly singing sessions in care homes, day centres, hospitals, a library and independent locations. The group has also set up an initiative called Music Mirrors. Friends, family or volunteers can make Music Mirrors by cataloguing the musical memories of patients with dementia, providing comfort at times of change or anxiety and helping them to connect with the world around them.

Ruth’s story

Dementia support staff on the stroke ward of a general hospital used a Music Mirror to help a seriously ill patient, Ruth. Set up on a bedside iPad, the Music Mirror showed text that described her childhood, while links to Youtube called up her favourite songs. Both elements were important in getting through to Ruth when communication was difficult. Her daughter later said that the Music Mirror had reminded her mother of some of her greatest times of joy during her last weeks.

Find out more about Come Singing.

The Buddy Beat is a drumming group for people with mental health conditions. Run by members, the group holds regular workshops, using music, outreach and community sessions, and performances as a medium to promote recovery, communication skills, employability and social inclusion. The Buddy Beat helps people referred by NHS mental health and local addiction services, as well as employability and older adult care services, amongst others.
Stephen’s story
After experiencing a decline in his mental health, Stephen felt incredibly lost and considered himself at the end of the line. He knew something had to change. Out of the blue, he had an unexpected drumming experience with community music specialist Dr Jane Bentley, who invited him along to The Buddy Beat. Stephen instantly left his worries at the door and found peace for the first time in many years. After months of attending sessions, Stephen found self-confidence, self-worth and friendship again. According to Stephen, The Buddy Beat not only saved his life but opened it outwards, empowering him through performance, giving him back his creativity, and leading him into volunteering and employment.
 
Find out more about The Buddy Beat.

We’ve also been busy visiting organisations up and down the country to find out how they’ve used their funding from the Royal London Foundation. From cutting-edge brain research at Neurocare in Sheffield, to disability-led theatre at Proud & Loud Arts in Manchester, your nominations have helped us to support some amazing work. 

Proud & Loud Arts: inclusive theatre for disabled people

Your nominations for the Royal London Foundation help organisations like Proud & Loud Arts, a user-led performing arts charity, to keep doing great work in your local communities.

TOM HOGAN: When we heard we had funding from the Royal London Foundation, the email actually came to Janet. She rang me very excitedly saying we’ve definitely got our movement work now. We kind of did a little fist-pumpy thing. It was great.

CAPTION: Not-for-profit organisations are helping to change lives in your communities. The Royal London Foundation enables members to support these organisations by nominating them for a £5,000 grant.

We have supported Proud & Loud Arts, a user-led performing arts charity for people living with a disability in Salford and Manchester. This is their story.

TOM HOGAN: Proud & Loud Arts is an inclusive theatre company for adults with disabilities. It was set up 16 years ago by four young women with disabilities who were interested in exploring drama.

JAMIE BLAIR: I came across Proud & Loud about four, four and a half years ago. I was looking for a trusteeship as part of my own development. At the time they were searching for trustees and that’s really where the first step came from. It’s been fantastic to be involved with them and see the passion that they had for the charity and what they wanted it to become.

CAPTION: Chrissy, writer and producer of Proud & Loud’s latest production, Shadow Girl, reveals her inspiration behind the project.

CHRISTINA JONES: I’m the lead artist of this project, Shadow Girl. Basically, when I was at school I got bullied a lot, so I came up with that piece, Shadow Girl. It’s about myself, how people see me differently, because I wanted to be seen, not invisible.

We’re taking it into the city centre and performing it in St Anne’s Square. It’s like a street theatre piece, getting into groups, playing with the audience and stuff like that.

CAPTION: What does it mean to have this extra funding?

TOM HOGAN: The funding that Royal London has given us on this occasion has been used to improve the movement skills of our artists, and over the next 12 months we’ve employed a specialist movement worker and a specialist voice worker to come and work with our artists to increase their ability to express themselves.

Without support from grant giving trusts, companies, organisations who are willing to support people with disabilities, we simply don’t exist.

CAPTION: What does it mean to Proud & Loud artists?

JANET CHARLESWORTH: Proud & Loud help members with confidence and opportunities. I lived with my parents. I struggled to interact with people. Now I am confident. I live on my own and I have the ability to deal with problems.

KELLY HOYE: We help them to be able to express anything that they want to say, whether that be physically or verbally, because some members can’t always say what they want to say verbally so they do it physically.

TOM HOGAN: It really does reach the people and has an impact on individuals in a way that I suppose is really tangible to the individuals, particularly that we’re working with.

JAMIE BLAIR: It’s been fantastic to sort of see from the inside and also from a distance the work they’ve put together and what they want to do. I really think, as a member of Royal London, this is a fantastic opportunity to nominate their local cause, that local group that are doing great work and just need that little bit more to really achieve what they want to do.

CAPTION: Find out more about the Royal London Foundation at royallondon.com/members.

Supporting great causes across the UK

Thanks to your nominations, we’ve been able to provide funding for not-for-profit organisations across the UK. Here are a few stories of those who received support from us. 

CAPTION: In 2017, we relaunched the Royal London Foundation. Members can nominate local not-for-profit organisations to receive valuable funding. We award individual sums of £5,000 to support the incredible work of these groups.

In 2017, you nominated almost 60 organisations across the UK to receive funding. Here are a few stories of those who received funding from us…

CAPTION: Location: Newark, Organisation: Home-Start UK, Nominee: Neill

NEILL: To nominate Home-Start via Royal London was an unbelievable opportunity. All the support that’s generated by the Home-Start team in Newark is second to none to those local families who really need it the most.

ELAINE ROSSALL: We offer the home visiting scheme, where volunteers will visit a family once a week.

STACEY BELSHAW: I was a volunteer for 2 years, which is how I met Julie. She had very little confidence. It was about 14 months, towards the end of that time it kind of tailored off because she was doing so well.

JULIE LOWERSON: Home-Start have been absolutely excellent. I think – I’m getting emotional now! Without Home-Start I would not have been where I am today.

ELANIE ROSSALL: The Royal London Foundation’s funding is hugely important to us. This pot of money will be used to help fund our next preparation course. We’ll hope to have 10 or 12 volunteers; we’ll train them then start to link them with families.

CAPTION: Location: Mold, Organisation: Daffodils, Nominee: Anita

ANITA: I nominated Daffodils because they’re a fantastic organisation that helps and supports children and young people in Flintshire.

RICHARD HAYES: Daffodils is a charity for families with a child with a disability.

WENDY HAYES: It’s just about coming together – big family friendships really. It’s amazing the response from the children. They come in and they’re so excited. We’ve got about 84 children coming today, and the adults – we’ve got about 130 people coming to the event.

ALISON JONES: My son’s 15 with ASD. Before we came to Daffodils he wouldn’t speak to people that he didn’t know, and the last Christmas party, he stood up and he sang a song in front of 164 people. It was unbelievable. He would never have done that if it wasn’t for Daffodils.

ANITA: Being able to help Daffodils, providing them with this funding, it’s a wonderful opportunity to actually get involved. It’s going to go on for activities and events for the children and young people.

CAPTION: Location: Manchester, Organisation: Breakthrough UK, Nominee: Karl

KARL: I nominated Breakthrough UK who support people who identify as having a disability… progressing them into the next stage of their life.

TRACEY BELL: The peer group that we run on a Tuesday is working really well.

JADE IMRIE: If we’ve got issues we’re having, or stuff that we have going on that we like or just sit there silently if we really want to, you don’t have to talk.

KEIRAN FAY: I can get stuff off my chest and I can see other people’s perceptions of situations that I’m in.

TRACEY BELL: The funding from the Royal London Foundation is vastly important to us. We have our Journey to Employment project, the Talent Match project for young people aged 18-24, we have our Community Connector programme, and we’re hoping to expand our peer groups. It’s about looking at that person in a holistic way, to be happy, leading fulfilling lives and to be independent.

CAPTION: Location: Sheffield, Organisation: Neurocare, Nominee: Phil

PHIL: I nominated Neurocare to help them pay for a new piece of equipment called Rosa. Great that I can help the local charity.

BEVERLEY WEBSTER: Neurocare is a charity that was set up specifically to fund research and equipment for the neurosciences unit at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.

DEV BHATTACHARYYA: Rosa is a robotic surgical assistant. This technological advance allows us to operate on patients previously thought inoperable.

BEVERLEY WEBSTER: With Rosa we wanted to be the first NHS trust with this installation. We were delighted to receive the donation from Royal London Foundation. Thanks to this donation and others we have achieved our target and beyond.

CAPTION: As a member, you can nominate an organisation to receive funding from the Royal London Foundation.

ANITA: It’s definitely worthwhile for people who’ve got a private pension with Royal London to take up this opportunity for local charitable organisations.

NEILL: Do it. It really is very, very simple. The speedy organisation within Royal London and the Royal London Foundation was excellent and it really can make a difference to those local charities. It’s really important that we all play our part.

PHIL: I would recommend: just go for it. It’s a straight forward process, it doesn’t take a lot of effort and it’s worth it.

CAPTION: Because of your nominations, the Royal London Foundation donated £144,000 to community organisations in 2017. If you know a not-for-profit organisation in your local area that supports people in need, we would love to hear from you. Nominations will reopen in 2019.

Find out more about the Royal London Foundation at royallondon.com/members. 

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Remember, it’s your nominations that help us to support such worthy causes, so if there’s an organisation doing great work in your community, we’d love to hear from you. Nominations reopen in 2019, and we’ll keep you posted with all the information you need in your quarterly member updates.