The Wimbledon Foundation, the charity arm of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, has awarded grants totalling £55,000 to 12 different charities and community organisations in the local area. It’s hoped that the grants will help to meet social needs in the London Boroughs of Merton and Wandsworth; two communities which are annually impacted by the championships.
The Wimbledon Foundation’s Community Fund distributes a total of £100,000 every year to local organisations that help to tackle a range of social problems and work to reduce inequalities in the two boroughs. As well as benefitting the local community, the grants are a recognition of the help given by the two communities in staging The Championships.
This is now the sixth round of funding to date and grants of up to £5,000 are available to projects supporting a wide variety of issues such as mental health and wellbeing, poverty and isolation.
One of the successful applicants is KIDS Lady Allen Adventure Playground, located in Battersea. The organisation has been serving the community for over 45 years, and their playground provides a safe haven for children with disabilities. The children can come and play freely with their friends in a setting that supports their specific needs and requirements.
The grant received by the Wimbledon Foundation will help a higher number of children to access the service on a more frequent basis. It’s being used to provide transport for the most isolated and disadvantaged children in the area so that they can get to and from the playground regularly, providing their parents with a short break from their care duties.
The Trusts and Foundation Manager at KIDS, Michael Koudounas believes that the funding will have a huge impact on the lives of children at the centre. He commented that “the grant is allowing 40 disabled children and young people from low-income families to come to the playground and have the opportunity to play and learn, to build friendships and to increase their sense of independence”.
Another charity who benefitted from the Wimbledon Foundation was Glass Door, an organisation who support homeless people by providing them with advice and support as well as accommodation. Because of the grant, Glass Door were able to operate a shelter for the homeless in Wandsworth every night over the Christmas fortnight; the time of year when the effects of homelessness hit hardest.
Glass Door’s Chief Operating Officer, Dr Steven Platts, said that “We are so grateful to the Wimbledon Foundation for recognising the need for life-saving shelter for the increasing number of homeless people in London. The grant meant we could bring people in from the harsh, cold streets and offer them a hot meal and safe place to sleep”.
Grants of up to £5000 also allowed for the Katherine Low Settlement to run an English language programme for 20 adults from refugee families. The Wimbledon Civic Theatre Trust also received a grant to put on an arts-based course for 8 schools in Merton in order to raise awareness of mental health issues amongst pupils.
Helen Parker is the Wimbledon Foundation and Community Officer. She commented that “Our Community Fund enables us to make a valuable contribution to tackling social problems and reducing inequalities in both boroughs. Over the last two years, we have supported a wide-range of projects and we look forward to funding more excellent projects that make a difference to the lives of local people”.