A new community grants programme has been launched in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW) to invest in schemes to support groups and communities that have been affected by Covid-19.

Since March 2020, over £140m has been donated to the NHS Charities Together (NHSCT) Covid-19 Appeal, including the funds raised by Captain Sir Tom Moore. NHSCT has developed these donations into a grant scheme aimed at supporting ‘community partnerships’ with over £400,000 allocated to BSW. Locally the national charity has delegated responsibility for managing the funding to The Forever Friends Appeal, the charity of the Royal United Hospitals Foundation Trust in Bath.

The Forever Friends Appeal will lead the programme with help from other local NHS charities, including Brighter Futures at Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust), Stars Appeal at Salisbury District Hospital) and Headlight at Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership Trust).

COVID-19 has shone a harsh light on some of the health and wider inequalities that persist in our society. It has become increasingly clear that COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on many who already face disadvantage and discrimination. The impact of the virus has been particularly detrimental on people living in areas of high deprivation, on people from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic communities and also mental health in the BSW area.

Local NHS Charities and the BSW Partnership have therefore identified the theme of “Health Inequalities”. Projects must prioritise the most vulnerable and marginalised groups which have been impacted by the virus, with a key focus on deprivation, ethnicity, and mental health. Projects must support your local NHS hospital and significantly reduce stress on the NHS reaching those most vulnerable in our community who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. If your project is funded you will be expected to work in partnership with The Forever Friends Appeal, providing them with regular reports to ensure your project is fulfilled.

In the BSW area, grant allocations will consist of small grants up to £10k (5k a year for 2 years) and larger grants capped at £40k (£20k a year for 2 years). Grant applications above £40k may be considered if working in partnership with a number of organisations.

The Grants programme has now closed and all applications are being processed.

These will be reviewed independently by BSW Partnership which brings together many of the organisations providing local health and care services including our acute hospitals,  local councils and community providers.  An executive group of the BSW Partnership will shortlist projects and The Forever Friends Appeal will notify those that have been shortlisted by November 2021.

In Partnership with