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HPC Community Fund helps to support families during the school holidays

Two organisations which benefited from grants from the Hinkley Point C (HPC) Community Fund, administered by Somerset Community Foundation, have made a significant difference in their communities, particularly during the school summer holidays.

With an estimated three million children in the UK at risk of going hungry during the school holidays, ‘holiday hunger’ is a reality for many low-income families when faced with the cost of providing additional meals for their children. This is often combined with increased childcare costs.

The Quantock Foodbank, based in Watchet, received £2,563 from the HPC Community Fund as a start-up grant in October 2018. As a result of the funding, they have supported 961 people over the last year, 431 of whom were children.

Last August they worked with local churches and other charitable organisations to deliver 120 food bags to families in the Watchet, Williton and the Quantock area. This year they are working with Exmoor National Park Authority. These contributions are a lifeline for families unsure of where the next meal may come from.

Kathryn Flenley, chairman of the Quantock Foodbank committee, said: “The HPC Community Fund grant enabled our vision of a foodbank for Watchet, Williton and the Quantock area to become a reality, supporting individuals and families in crisis with food, toiletries and other essential household items until they can regain independence and financial stability. Without the support of the HPC Community Fund grant we would not have been able to get off the ground and succeed in making such a difference to those needing help.”

St Francis Youth Group, in Bridgwater, was given £5,000 in April 2018 by the HPC Community Fund to deliver their well-established holiday activities for young people on the Sydenham Estate, in Bridgwater. Delivered by volunteers, the activities and day trips are a welcome relief for families on low incomes who may not be able to afford additional activities and entertainments for their children during the school holidays.

Gerald Swayne, senior organiser at St Francis Church Holiday Club, said: “Many single parent and low-income families look forward to the coach trips and holiday activities that we offer. For some, it’s their only days out during the school holiday.  Admission costs to adventure parks, for example, simply would not be affordable and – as many of the families we support don’t own their own car – impossible to reach.”

The HPC Community Fund, which supports community projects that help to mitigate the impacts and increase the opportunities of the Hinkley Point C development, has also recently awarded almost £450,000 in grant funding to community groups including:

Halsway Manor: Awarded £39,000 to deliver an arts project in four primary schools and their communities, exploring community identity and cohesion in Somerset West and Taunton.

PROMISEworks: Awarded £109,953 to deliver a mentoring project for vulnerable children and young people in Bridgwater and the surrounding area.

The HPC Community Fund is part of a wider £20 million commitment of funding, provided by EDF Energy through Section 106 agreements, for communities that are affected by the development of the new nuclear power station, to promote their social, economic and environmental wellbeing and enhance their quality of life.

If you would like to find out more about grant funding from the HPC Community Fund, please call Somerset Community Foundation on: 01749 344949 or visit: www.hpcfunds.co.uk.

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