Calor’s Rural Community Fund was launched back in 2017 to improve the lives of those living in rural, off-grid areas, by providing them with the opportunity to receive a grant that would benefit their community.
We were incredibly proud that the funding we previously donated to worthy causes had been used to make a difference to local groups and residents: from children to the elderly, through to the vulnerable and the fit and the healthy – there was a project for everyone. However, our work didn’t stop there. In 2018, to make sure that we could help even more communities who aren’t connected to the mains gas grid, we decided to double the Rural Community Fund pot from £20,000 to £50,000.
Applications opened in March, and once again, applicants had two months to submit their entries. More than 200 projects applied for the available funding; with the prizes being broken down into the following: five top grants of £5,000, six totalling £2,500 and ten to the amount of £1,000. From the Orkney Islands to Penzance, we saw a wide variety of organisations apply for funds to renovate outdoor play and nature areas, buy vital equipment, improve much-needed facilities, teach essential life skills, restore community landmarks, access musical traditions, and help community members to get together.
When the public started to vote for their favourite projects to help them get through to the final shortlist, we watched as 182,604 votes were cast in the space of just one month on Calor’s Rural Community Fund website. As per the year before, the projects with the highest votes in each funding category were shortlisted as finalists.
Out of the 216 projects that applied for the funding, 40 were shortlisted. They were then scored by a panel of independent judges made up of representatives from the national mental health charity, Mind, Business in the Community, Rural Services Network and Calor.
The panel of judges then faced the hard task of going through the shortlisted projects, scoring and working out which particular entries would receive funding across the regions, with winners being announced on 20th July 2018.
Roger and Geraldine from Shutford Hall, winners of 2017’s Rural Community Fund, presented the 21 winners with their prizes live on Facebook. Each and every one of these funds has gone on to benefit the wider community now and in the years to come.
East Worlington School Garden Project
Devon | £5,000
Rejuvenating the garden, which is not usable for three months of the year due to mud, so that it can be used all year round by children and different community groups in the local area
Spaxton School Outdoor Environmental Learning Area
Somerset | £5,000
Restoring the pond and pergola to provide a suitable outdoor area for primary school children to learn about nature.
New Kitchen for the Clubhouse at Ely Outdoor Sports Association
Cambridgeshire | £5,000
The grant was used to provide a hygienic working kitchen so that the clubhouse can be used for match teas, local social events, community meetings and fitness groups.
Argyll and Bute | £5,000
£5,000 donation went towards relaying the flooring at the Dochas Centre which provides much needed support and information to carers in the local area.
Orkney Isles Music Instrument Bank
Orkney Islands | £5,000
Setting up a musical instrument bank so that local residents can borrow the instruments for free and learn how to play traditional Orcadian music.
Castlethorpe Sports Ground extension of car park
Buckinghamshire | £2,500
Increasing the number of parking spaces so that parents and children can make their way safely to and from the playing pitches.
Mount Hawke Academy Outdoor Adventure Playground
Cornwall | £2,500
Providing an adventure play area for children at the school and in the community to use in a deprived area.
Buckland Dinham Village Hall Facelift
Somerset | £2,500
Repainting parts of the village hall, built in 1880, and now used daily by many village groups and the wider community.
Inverie Primary School Playground Revamp
Highland | £2,500
Revamping the school’s playground, which serves a very small community of around 120 full-time residents.
Kent | £2,500
Replacing kitchen equipment to continue providing cookery lessons and social activities for people on low incomes, older people and vulnerable members of the community.
Devon | £2,500
Providing separate shower facilities for referees at the rugby club, which run both adult and junior teams.
Tarbert Toppers Junior Sailing Club
Argyll and Bute | £1,000
Purchasing a SailQube dinghy, so that children can learn how to sail in a fun and safe environment, without the usual prohibitive financial costs.
Buckland Primary School community pond
Somerset | £1,000
Installing a non-slip surface that is accessible year-round and wheelchair friendly, so that the school children, as well as the local community, can enjoy the pond inside and outside of school hours.
Inchmarlo Village Hall Overhead Projector
Aberdeenshire | £1,000
Purchase a fixed overhead projector for existing community groups to use in the hall, and to expand the hall’s usage to cater for talks and show children’s films too.
Hartington Rural Social Group
Derbyshire | £1,000
Purchase of chairs with arm rests to assist the elderly who take part in the group when settling and rising from seating. Also replacement and relocation of two defunct sockets in the kitchen to better provide refreshments for the 18 user groups who use the same village hall.
Defibrillator Project for North East Wales Search & Rescue (NEWSAR)
Denbighshire | £1,000
Purchase of defibrillators for NEWSAR team members to use when they are first on scene, delivering life-saving treatment in remote areas.
Rocking Ukuleles of St Ives
Cambridgeshire | £1,000
Purchase of audio equipment so that the group can continue to perform at charity events and help raise money for local good causes and charities.
Stockton Community Bus Shelters
Norfolk | £1,000
Purchase of concrete bases for two bus shelters in the village.
Indoor and Outdoor Cooking Skills
Northumberland | £1,000
Purchase of cooking ingredients and equipment to enable the local scout group to learn cooking skills, hygiene and nutrition, and enable them to run a restaurant in the village which will teach them key skills such as time management and budgeting.
Scole Nature Trail Trust
Norfolk | £1,000
Provision of seating, benches and picnic tables in the parkland.
Kilsby War Memorial Restoration
West Midlands | £1,000
Materials and labour for the restoration of the war memorial.