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Small local charities across the Thames Valley have received almost £5 million from four community foundations following a record breaking year. Heart of Bucks, Milton Keynes, Berkshire and Oxfordshire Community Foundations are celebrating this great achievement.

The funding is a lifeline to grassroots charitable organisations to help them to tackle problems across the Thames Valley. The region is considered to be well off however there are areas of deprivation throughout. Community foundations are working hard to make sure that nobody gets left behind.

The four foundations each cover their own specific region. Between them over 650 groups were supported in 2017–18. With funding totaling £4,875,000, promoting better mental health, reducing loneliness and alleviating poverty.

Peter Costello, Chief Executive of Heart of Bucks said “This is a fantastic achievement for the Thames Valley community foundations, and enables local non-profit organisations to continue their vital work.

“There are thousands of charities and community groups across Buckinghamshire, all working to improve the lives of local residents. Smaller charities in particular, which are pivotal to local communities, can often be overlooked by larger, national charities. The support of community foundations is essential for them to survive.”

One of the groups funded was Buckinghamshire Mind, a charity working to support and represent all people with mental health needs across Buckinghamshire.

Heart of Bucks awarded Buckinghamshire Mind £1,500 in 2017–18, to support young adults suffering from anxiety and depression using yoga. Joanna Ibbett, outreach services team lead says:

“The grant has provided a safe environment for young people to come together weekly in a way that increases their physical and mental health, as well as helping to improve their social isolation.”

Thames Valley community foundations have worked together on several projects. In 2017 they collectively, with the Thames Valley Police’s proceeds of crime fund, gave over £115,000 to fund projects across the region.

The community foundations are part of UKCF a network of 46 community foundations that cover the length and breadth of the country. Community Foundations are unique in that they support local giving to local groups, identifying the local need.