Bridgwater Baptist Church is using a £220,000 grant from the Hinkley Point C (HPC) Community Fund, managed by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF), to power its community-focused ‘Energise’ project.
The scheme has involved reimagining unused space in the church and transforming it into a hub for local people and organisations to work together. A lift has also been installed to provide everyone access to the new areas, from the basement café to the upper-level offices.
“We’re delighted because the physical building is all ready,” says Reverend Tim Langdon.
“It’s now just a case of groups inhabiting the spaces. We want to support start-up companies and organisations that really want to help the community. On the top floor we have our enterprise hub with eight affordable offices: they’ve all been taken so it really shows the need is there.”
The renovation also includes turning derelict storage rooms into areas that street pastors can use as a base while serving the community. Meanwhile, downstairs the new wellbeing café is connecting mental health organisations like Mind in Somerset with people who need support and counselling.
Amelia Thompson, Senior Programmes Manager at Somerset Community Foundation, said: “The Energise project is helping create social connections in the community by bringing people together. While the offices offer affordable space for start-ups and other organisations, the wellbeing café supports people’s mental health in a safe and welcoming environment.
“Funding projects like Energise enables organisations to create long-lasting community-led services to people across the area. This speaks to the priorities of the HPC Community Fund.”
Andrew Cockcroft, Senior Stakeholder Relations Manager at Hinkley Point C, said: “The church is an important asset in our local area, and we’re thrilled that this grant is helping to breathe new life into it. This is another great example of the HPC Community Fund helping to improve lives of people living locally.”
The HPC Community Fund includes the Small Grants Programme which awards grants of up to £20,000, and the Open Grants Programme, for larger applications.
The funding is for groups working in local communities to address changes to people’s quality of life or to make the most of the opportunities created by Hinkley Point C. Visit www.hpcfunds.co.uk for more details. Anyone who would like to discuss a project or idea should contact Amelia Thompson, Senior Programmes Manager: email@example.com or call: 01749 344949
The HPC Community Fund is part of a wider commitment of funding provided by EDF through Section 106 agreements. It is available for communities that are affected by the development of the new nuclear power station, to help promote their social, economic and environmental wellbeing and enhance their quality of life. Hundreds of projects have benefitted so far, and in total almost £15.5 million in grants have been awarded to date, including £8.34 million from the fund managed by SCF.
Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.
Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £20 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.