Since launching the Fund in 2017, we’ve been able to support 73 inspiring rural community projects across the UK, with this year being the most competitive yet!
Since opening for applications in March, we had over 600 project applications, a fantastic 12,000 likes, 1,800 shares and an astonishing £234,000 raised from the crowd. But which lucky projects have taken home a share of £85,000?
To tie in with our 85th anniversary, we’ve given away £85,000 – our biggest prize pot ever! We’ve also given away more prizes than ever before; we’ve awarded 5 x £1,000, 6 x £2,500, 11 x £5,000, AND, also £500 to all 20 of the remaining finalists who didn’t win one of the main grants.
As well as providing £500 to each of our remaining 20 finalists this year, we wanted to give rural communities the best chance to raise money for their local project. This is where Crowdfunder came in for the second year running; projects were given the opportunity to raise money from their supporting crowd, in addition to the grant they applied for through the Rural Community Fund.
We were all blown away with how much money was raised – an incredible £234,000 on top of the £85,000 we gave away. This gave more communities than ever before the chance to bring their projects to life.
Once the public had the chance to show their support by liking, sharing or pledging on their favourite projects, we had 42 shortlisted finalists who made it through to the next stage. It was then over to the judges to choose our 22 winners!
The judges – made up of representatives from Mind, our corporate charity, Chapter, Plunkett and Rural England – had the extremely tricky task of whittling our 42 finalists down to 22 winners. They assessed project applications based on four factors: Impact (40%) Sustainability (35%), Submission (15%) and Originality (10%).
The competition was extremely close. A huge congratulations to all of this year’s 22 winners who won a share of the £85,000 prize pot.
Winners in the £5,000 category
Girlguiding and Scouts – Help fix our hut! Central England
They’d like to replace the toilets and fit disabled facilities to make it a safer space for everyone in their community.
Allendale PreSchool’s Green Space, North of England
They’re going to transform an area of land into a fertile garden for growing plants, vegetables and imaginations – making it a space where children can thrive.
Helping Ansty See and Hear, South East of England
Their project will install an Audio Visual system and Hearing Loop in the new Ansty Village Hall.
1st Woolsery Beavers Cubs & Scouts Nights Away Kit, South West of England
They’d like to buy tents, camp stoves, table and chairs and much more that they will use for nights and hikes away. This will enable their members to learn skills for life.
North Cornwall Arts Alive, South West England
They’re going to purchase new staging, lighting & sound equipment to help provide high quality arts events for North Cornwall.
A New Dawn for Llanboidy, West England & Wales
They’re going to buy play and sports equipment for both indoors and outdoors to enable everyone in their community to improve their physical and mental wellbeing.
FARS – All Lives Are Precious, West England & Wales
They’re planning on spending their money on making improvements to their pathways to enable better access for all members of their community, especially those with disabilities.
Bitterley Primary School Outdoor Classroom, West England & Wales
They’re going to build an outdoor classroom so that their children can benefit from learning in and about the environment, nature and growing food.
Extending & Improving Quatt Village Hall Car Park, West England & Wales
They’d like to extend it and create a hard standing area with designated disabled spaces.
The Drefach AFC home pitch rejuvenation project, West England & Wales
They’re going to use the money to create a drainage system and fencing around their playing fields, to improve the quality of their pitches all year round.
A place to meet, have coffee and chat at SpArC, West England & Wales
They’d like to equip their community café with electrical equipment such as, a coffee machine, dishwasher, fridges, a boiler and a Microwave.
Winners in the £2,500 category
The toolshed, Central England
They are going to purchase equipment to provide the community with a space to repair, repurpose or recycle unloved things.
Bertie The NAAFI Van Tours, Scotland
They’re going to purchase a trailer and cover to protect “Bertie”, the last remaining WWII Austin 8 NAAFI van in existence.
St Magnus Way upgrade and virtual experience, Scotland
They’re going to upgrade specific sections of the St Magnus Way, to make it more accessible to all, and to create a virtual experience.
Move the Mind, South West England
They are going to improve their facilities, enabling them to support even more children with autism and neurological conditions by providing a safe, engaging space for them to enjoy.
Brixham Church of England Forest School Round House, South West England
The money will be used to repair the Round House on their Forest School site, allowing children to continue their Forest School adventures.
Beach Wheelchairs for Llys Cadfan Home, West England & Wales
They’re going to spend their winnings on the purchase of a Beach Wheelchair so residents can enjoy the experience of being on a beach, reliving precious memories.
Winners in the £1,000 category
A Defibrillator for Morton and the Playing Field, Central England
Many children play sports on Morton field and the village is isolated, a defibrillator is vital if anyone collapses, ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all who use the field.
Renovation of Scout Hut and purchase of equipment, South West of England
They’re going to upgrade their meeting hut, buy equipment to provide safety and comfort of 60 young people involved in scouting and buy equipment for safe camping.
Llanferres Park Timber Replacements and Playbark, West England & Wales
To ensure the park is safe, they’re going to replace retention posts for play bark and support posts for multiplay equipment.
New equipment for 1st Johnston Scout Group, West England & Wales
They’re going to purchase hike tents, camping gas stoves and games equipment, enabling them to continue to offer life changing experiences to young people in their community.
Equipping the Community to be Independent, West England & Wales
They will use their grant to enable end-of-life patients to have free access to equipment so they can be cared for at home.
Thank you for supporting this year’s community projects and a huge congratulations to this year’s winners – they really are great initiatives!