Leicestershire community projects receive boost from Severn Trent fund 

24th April 2023

Two projects in Leicestershire have been awarded grants totalling over £15,900 from the Severn Trent Community Fund.

Funding of £9,902 has been awarded to Home Start South, a project that provides a safe, secure and confidential environment for families where parents can receive support and meet other families, while providing a safe and stimulating environment for children.

Attendees at the family groups may be experiencing challenges such as isolation, poor mental or physical health or disability of a child.  Some families may be also be experiencing financial difficulties or have housing issues and may have no opportunity for outside play.  

The money will go towards the improvement of a garden space at the centre, to provide emotional and practical support to families and children in a safe, fun and stimulating environment.  This will include the installation of rubber play flooring, a grass nature area to house a bug hotel and water play wall, and the construction of a new pergola, with guttering and water collection.

Julie Rogers, Senior Co-ordinator at Home Start South, said: “We worry about the sedentary lifestyle many children and families have these days, sometimes as a result of the factors listed above. Many of our families lack safe outside areas to play or the confidence to get outside and explore nature. We want to create a welcoming and nurturing outside area where parents can enjoy being outside with their children, and children can explore open ended play opportunities that will develop their natural curiosity and creativity. Where they can enjoy unstructured activity whilst developing their problem solving skills and valuable social and emotional skills as they mix with their peers.” 

“Giving these children the opportunity to regularly experience outside play in a safe and stimulating environment, alongside other children will aid their development and help to improve their mental and physical wellbeing.”

A grant of £6,000 has been made to Willow Bank, part of the Children’s Hospital School, which works with young people between the ages of 11 and 16 who have mental or physical health needs and are unable to attend mainstream schools.

The funding will go towards the renovation of a music room to install soundproofing and purchase of instruments, furniture and storage.  

Claire Mooney, Assistant Lead, Willow Bank School, said: “In order to help these young people get to a point where they feel more confident, more able to cope and have better self-esteem, we aim to give them an academic education and a wealth of other opportunities that take them outside of their comfort zone.

Music is a tool that should not be underestimated in helping young people struggling with their mental health needs. It gives them an opportunity for self-expression in a safe, non-judgmental environment. The room that we currently have allocated for music is not fit for purpose and we will be using this funding to install soundproofing, purchase new equipment, instruments, storage and furniture.”

Sue Heyes, Severn Trent Community Fund Officer, said: “These are two absolutely fantastic projects that will offer safe and inspirational spaces for children.  We are always looking for more local projects in the regions in which we work which would benefit from grant funding and would encourage anyone who may be applicable to get in touch.”

For more information on the Severn Trent Community Fund and to find out how to make an application visit stwater.co.uk and search for Community Fund.