Community groups from across Gwent gathered at Newport Civic Centre on Saturday morning (18th March) to share in almost £75,000 from the Gwent High Sheriffs’ Community Fund.
The annual High Sheriffs’ grant-making event ‘Your Voice, Your Choice, was a partnership between the Gwent High Sheriffs’ Community Fund, the Office of the Gwent Police & Crime Commissioner and the Community Foundation in Wales to award grants of up to £5,000 to community groups across Gwent. It is an innovative grant-giving format which enables local people to prioritise solutions that they think will best address local issues.
Music, dance and poetry were just some of the creative ways in which groups shared the work they are doing to inspire young people and build safer and stronger communities across Gwent. Each group had two minutes to ‘pitch’ their project with each presentation then being scored by the other groups. After totting up the scores 22 projects, assessed by their peers to be addressing the most pressing priorities, shared grants totalling £73,880.
The event was led by the High Sheriff of Gwent, Mr Anthony Clay DL and also included a speech from the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Mr Jeff Cuthbert. The event was kindly hosted by the Mayor of Newport, Councillor David Atwell.
The annual grant-making celebration is the highlight of the Gwent High Sheriffs’ Community Fund calendar and was the culmination of a year of fundraising by the current High Sheriff. A significant contribution to the grants pot also came from commissioning monies held by the Police & Crime Commissioner, Mr Jeff Cuthbert.
The Gwent High Sheriffs’ Community Fund works hard to build safer communities in Gwent by supporting projects that principally mentor and inspire young people to fulfil their potential. The event was an opportunity to celebrate the hard work and dedication of volunteers and community groups who do so much to improve the lives of people in Gwent.
High Sheriff, Anthony Clay DL, said “Throughout my shrieval year I have had the great privilege of meeting many committed volunteers and groups who work so hard to build safer and stronger communities across Gwent; they have been an inspiration. I am delighted that on Saturday we were able to support the excellent work of 22 of these organisations. I am extremely grateful to everyone in Gwent who has donated to the fund this year and to the Police & Crime Commissioner, Mr Jeff Cuthbert, and the Waterloo Foundation for their unswerving support.”
The Community Foundation in Wales has managed the Gwent High Sheriffs’ Fund for seven years, holding the small endowment and funds raised by High Sheriffs whilst delivering the annual grant programme. Tom Morris from the Community Foundation in Wales said, “It was heart warming to see the dedication and commitment of volunteers across Gwent who clearly care so deeply about making their communities stronger and safer places for people to live. I’d like to congratulate all the groups for the effort and creativity that they put into their presentations and the courage to share what were at times very moving and personal stories. Participatory grant-making is all about putting local people, those who know the most about the challenges facing their communities, in charge of where funding can make the most telling impact. This format gives people an alternative way to communicate their message, and a platform to share their energy and passion for making a difference. We are delighted that thanks to this funding 22 fantastic projects will shortly be getting under way and we are excited to see how they progress over the coming months.”