Success stories

2019 – the year we decided to mix things up

We made the prize pot our biggest so far in 2019; dishing out £70,000 to lucky rural community projects.

We all know good things come in threes, that’s why we made the prize pot our biggest so far in 2019; dishing out £70,000 to lucky rural community projects. Applications opened in March and we saw an astounding 325 projects apply to the fund over the 8 week application period. 

We saw a wide variety of applications come forward; some ideas were weird, some wacky, but all were inspirational. From the buzz of a beehive fully equipped for over 80 beekeepers, to the calming hues of a refurbished living room for those living with Alzhemier’s and Dementia, Calor’s Rural Community Fund was attracting hundreds of projects from all over the country. 

Prizes available

Not only was our prize pot the biggest we’d ever had, but so was the number of prizes we were giving out! The £70,000 prize pot was broken down into three funding categories: £5,000, £2,500 and £1,000. We made as much noise in rural communities as possible to encourage projects to apply and make sure they didn’t miss out on their chance to with a share.

Crowdfunder partnership

As well as providing top prizes, we wanted to give rural communities the best chance we could to raise money for their local project. This is why we partnered with Crowdfunder to offer projects the chance to raise even more money through match funding. Many projects grabbed this opportunity with both hands, and saw their projects come to life.


Once we’d asked the public to vote for their favourite projects, we had 42 shortlisted finalists making it through to the next stage, and it was now over to the judges!

The judges, made up of representatives from Mind, our corporate charity, Business in the Community, Crowdfunder, Plunkett and Rural England had the extremely tricky task of whittling our 42 finalists down to 21 winners; they assessed project applications based on four factors: Impact (40%) Sustainability (35%), Submission (15%) and Originality (10%). 

The competition was extremely tight in attempts to win a share of the £70,000 prize pot, however, the moment we’d all been waiting for… drum roll please…. The winners for 2019 were announced!

Somerford Keynes Village Lake 

Gloucestershire | £5,000

Their small village lake is a quiet space, an oasis of tranquillity. The community uses the area as a safe space which can be enjoyed by families of all ages.

Their funding has been used to improve the biodiversity of the site and make it more interesting/educational for children and families.

Refurbishment of Tafarn yr Heliwr

Gwynedd | £5,000

The pub had always been used by a variety of community groups, but had become an eyesore on the High Street. The funding was used to give the pub a complete refurb; by giving it a paint, updating the lights and signs and purchasing flower post and a bench, the pub tidied up the street and helped boost the moral in the community.

A Modern, Safe Drainage System for our Community Shop

Wiltshire | £5,000

The Community Shop is a business run for and by the community. They have a large team of volunteers who work in the shop. The grant helped them to provide the staff and volunteers with hygienic WC facilities. This facilitated them in developing café style services in the future by providing a toilet for public use. 

New Infrastructure for Abergynolwyn Children’s Play Area

Gwynedd | £5,000

The aim of their project was to revitalise their younger community in the old Welsh mining village of Abergynolwyn, now a centre for tourism. The village wanted to drive increased use of the Children’s Play Area, attracting more young families to the village.

The funding provided the community with the development of new infrastructure in the children’s playground, providing safe flooring for the main area.

Manton Community Outdoors

Wiltshire | £5,000

A team of 5 local mums set up this project to redevelop and extend the small, outdated village playground. The funding provided an opportunity for the village to extend the current play area and replace the old equipment with new, exciting play structures made from natural materials that complement the surroundings. They were also able to purchase sports and fitness equipment for older children, teenagers and adults, providing a space that is accessible to and utilised by everyone.

“The Living Room”

Dumfries and Galloway | £5,000

Those living with Dementia or Alzheimer’s need a place to go and to be within a comfortable setting to allow much needed interaction. The grant has enabled a complete re-decoration of the room; using calming colours on the walls, along with a number of memory boards created for stimulus and interaction. The room will also be fitted with a small kitchen and suitable furnishings to make it like any modern day rest home.

See and Be Seen

Wiltshire | £5,000

See and Be seen are a group of volunteers who help when a crisis arises in the community. The funding has gone towards the purchase of torches and helmet lights for their water rescue teams, hi vis clothing for their search teams and a camera and monitor to assist with riverbank searches and to see over walls and hedges. They also purchased signal flare packs for use with coastguard helicopter training and operations. All equipment requested for this project will massively assist the team during their searches for vulnerable people and help them to save lives.


Norfolk | £5,000

In an area of rural deprivation, FenSong wanted to give children the opportunity an experience they would not otherwise have. The group teaches children performing arts where they can learn to dance, mime, puppetry, song and much more. With the funding they received, they have purchased 5 portable keyboards and a lighting and sound desk, so the children can continue to boost their confidence and boost the sense of community in an isolated area.

HART Wildlife Rescue

Hampshire | £5,000

HART is a community hospital providing rescue, treatment and rehabilitation services for wildlife in Hampshire. With their winnings, they’re purchasing a custom made building, installation, heating and electrics for within the building, which will allow them to continue the great work they do in their community.

Corevedale centre for children – our new polytunnel

Shropshire | £2,500

Their vision was to create a new vegetable, herb and wildlife garden at their nursery, pre-school and children’s centre, with the intent to provide fresh produce grown straight to the children’s school dinners. The grant will fund the construction of a new polytunnel, raised beds, fruit trees, fencing and more; and will teach the children the importance of growing fresh produce, the skills of nurture and patience, as well as providing habitats for important wildlife.

Ogwell Youth FC – Community DWC – Accessibility for all

Devon | £2,500

The community was in immediate need for a DWC at their football club. With the grant, they bought this wish to life; installing a DWC, basin, handrails and a new door with RADAR compatible lock. They used the remaining funds to improve the facilities at the club.

Ilmington Community Shop Chiller Project

Warwickshire | £2,500

Ilmington’s Community Shop is the hub of the local community. With the grant they were awarded, they purchased a brand new temperature controlled fruit and veg chiller, improving the shelf life and quality of the food they store, in turn reducing the waste they produce.

Squirrel Wood Scout Camp

South Yorkshire | £2,500

Squirrel Wood is 72 acres of natural woodland with open grassed areas for camping, used by a number of scout groups and girl guides. With the funding, they purchased new tables and chairs for their indoor accommodation, as the ones they had were rapidly deteriorating and becoming unusable.

The Friends of Queens Park Community Group Craig y Don

Gwynedd | £2,500

The main aim of this project is to maintain and enhance the Queens Park for the benefit of the wider community. They applied for the funding so they could replace the safety area beneath their most popular piece of essential play equipment, their zip wire. 

The Transformational Thriplow Tree

Hertfordshire | £2,500

Thriplow’ s Tree is a mural in the central school stairwell which promotes personal and social awareness and wellbeing. The investment they received was used for the plastering and re-painting of the damaged stairway to give the tree the prominence it needed. 

Apiary for rearing Queen bees

Cumbria | £1,000

The aim of this project was to improve the Queen rearing process and develop the skills of the Cumbrian beekeepers. The funding has gone towards material for build new beehives, storage and bee suits for the beekeepers. It will help raise healthy, appropriate strains of bees to withstand the wet, cold conditions in Cumbria and offset the decline in bee stocks.

Blackout blinds for Holbeton Village Hall

Devon | £1,000

Those in an isolated community in Devon needed blackout blinds in their village hall to bring people together for local events such as film nights. The grant funded the blackout blinds for the 7 windows and now the community is thriving.

Equipment for conservation volunteers

Shropshire | £1,000

An ever-increasing group of volunteers in Shropshire applied for funding for more equipment and a trailer to safely carry the tools they need from site to site. The group undertake conservation tasks in over 40 areas within their community; a main one being the planting hedges, sowing seeds, pruning trees and clearing brambles in the local churchyard. The grant got them the appropriate tools to continue their good work.

Modernising the Village Hall Kitchen Facilities

Kent | £1,000

The village hall needed a reliable cooker in their kitchen to enable users of the hall to serve hot food at events if required. With their £1,000 grant, they purchased a Smeg Ceramic Range cooker so they can continue to cater for a variety of events.

Thrive Room to support children’s social and emotional wellbeing

Suffolk | £1,000

This project works with young people who need support and helps develop their social and emotional wellbeing. The grant has funded equipment for the Thrive Room such as building toys, Lego, toys, games, puppets, craft activities and much more, which will now enable the group to thrive even more.

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