Hosted by Caerphilly County Borough Council, this unique event 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. The innovative grant-giving format enables local people to prioritise solutions to local issues and support grassroots initiatives which make a real impact on people’s lives.
The event showcased 25 groups who each had two minutes to pitch their project, with each presentation being scored by the other groups. The projects assessed by their peers to be addressing the most pressing issues went away with a share of a £75,000 grants pot. The format of the event offered people an alternative way to communicate their stories, and enabled them to share their energy and commitment with other Gwent-based community organisations.
The grant-making celebration is the highlight of the Gwent High Sheriffs’ Community Fund calendar and the culmination of a year of fundraising by the current High Sheriff of Gwent, Mr Kevin Thomas. A significant contribution to the grants pot also comes 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 is 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.
Richard Williams, Chief Executive of the Community Foundation in Wales, speaking about the event, said:
"We are delighted to be associated with such an innovative, community driven event. Today has highlighted the vital work that community organisations do to improve people's lives and strengthen communities across the Gwent region. Today furthers our committment to open, transparent grant-making, and enabling local people, who understand best the needs in their communities, to prioritise solutions to local issues.
One of the great things about Your Voice Your Choice is that it gives community groups a way to share their stories, often through words of the people who benefit from that work. It also enables them to connect with other groups doing similar work. This process of sharing and learning can lead to new partnerships and new ideas to take back to their respective communities.
We want to thank everyone who took part, especially for the vibrancy, colour and energy as they shared their stories with us today."
Kevin Thomas, High Sheriff of Gwent 2017—18, said;
"It is widely understood how a stronger community not only makes its members happier, but also healthier and safer. This is what the Gwent High Sheriffs' Community Fund is all about: we aim to provide a safer environment and a better quality of life for the people of Gwent by supporting community-based initiatives which mentor and support young people. Today we saw some inspirational presentations from the 25 shortlisted groups. Congratulations to all groups who were successful today and my heartfelt thanks to them for the very many ways that they are improving our quality of life."
G-Expressions bids for funding from the Gwent High Sheriffs' Community Fund
The successful organisations at the 2018 event were as follows: