In News, Impact Stories, Multiple districts

On Tuesday 16th July a group of representatives from Heart of Bucks attended a ‘Seeing is Believing’ tour, visiting three fantastic organisations in the south of the county that are working to support women and families.

The group included Julia Upton MBE, High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire, together with Heart of Bucks donors, staff and chairman, the Countess Howe DL.

Group one: Women’s Cultural Arena CIC

The tour started with Women’s Cultural Arena, an organisation established in 2016 that strives to bring together women from diverse cultures and different ethnic backgrounds for mutual recognition, support and celebration through events, artistic creativity, and education. We met with Arunthathi, their creative director and some of the group’s members to learn about how they are bringing people together through art and their community allotment, as well as encouraging zero-waste through their community fridge.

Heart of Bucks awarded a grant of £1,000 last year to Women’s Cultural Arena which was primarily used to setup their CIC legal status and develop their website.

Group two: Meet & Mingle

Next we visited Meet & Mingle, a charity that aims to help to build self-esteem, confidence and networking within the community, as well as provide support for women living with cancer. The group focuses on providing healthy living activities for women and when we arrived at the visit they were midway through an Indian-inspired Zumba class. From observing the amount of fun they were having and seeing the joy on their faces, it was obligatory that we joined in too! For just £10 a year, their members have access to a range of activities from fitness classes to art, in turn helping to reduce isolation, loneliness, depression, stress and long-term illnesses.

Meet & Mingle was joyous from the time we stepped over the threshold – and with 400 members and such a wonderful schedule of activities, is clearly an excellent group with the members all very engaged. – Julia Upton

Heart of Bucks awarded Meet & Mingle a grant of £3,000 in 2018 which was used to provide a variety of activities including fitness, crafts and cooking classes for their cancer support groups in Wycombe and South Bucks.

Group three: Restore Hope

Our final stop was at Restore Hope, set in a beautiful location in Latimer the charity boasts 365 acres of land which they utilise in various ways, offering a wide range of life skill, personal development and educational courses that inspire, train and equip people with skills that enable them to flourish. After meeting a selection of mothers who shared their inspiring stories of growth and change with us, we learned about the hugely positive impact Restore Hope is having. It was evident from meeting various members of the staff team that they go above and beyond to help and are always listening and learning in order to meet the needs of their service users.

Heart of Bucks awarded Restore Hope a grant of £3,060 in 2018 for their ‘Counting the Dough’ course which teaches cooking skills and feeding a family on a budget and includes a Level 2 Food Hygiene Certificate. Restore Hope also received a grant of £6,802 earlier this year for their ‘Arising Beauty’ course which aims to equip and encourage women to achieve their potential.

Transport: Chilterns Dial-a-ride

We were pleased to be able to make use of the services provided by Chilterns Dial-a-ride to get around the county during the day. Heart of Bucks have provided numerous grants to this charity, including two large donations of approximately £15,000 from our former Bucks CC Community Transport fund which contributed towards new minibuses.