Kingston Neighbourhood Community Grants Programme now open

The Kingston Neighbourhood Community Grants Programme is now open for applications, allowing residents and voluntary and community groups to apply for funding for new projects throughout the borough.

The previous borough-wide community grants programme has now closed.

Neighbourhood Community Grants are available up to £3,000 per application for projects in each of the four neighbourhoods – Surbiton, South of the Borough, Kingston Town and Maldens & Coombe.

Each neighbourhood committee is awarded £20,000 per annum. Applicants apply to the council but the relevant neighbourhood committee looks at applications and approves or rejects them.

To make it as accessible as possible, applications can be made throughout the year rather than having to meet a specific deadline.

The money is intended to support voluntary and community groups to set up new projects that benefit residents and make a difference to the local community.

Kingston community grants in action

Six Acre Meadow near Knollmead was awarded £13,000 in January 2021 from the grants programme, after approval from Surbiton Neighbourhood Committee. This money helped put in a new and improved walkway, made from recycled plastic, from the meadow into the woodland.

The meadow, which is one of the oldest hay meadows in the borough, was the inspirational setting for Sir John Everett Millais ‘Ophelia’ painting, and the eco-friendly walkway opened in July 2021.

Former Mayor of Kingston, councillor Sushila Abraham spoke at the event. She said: “We are so fortunate to have this natural heritage on our doorsteps and the new walkway will ensure this area is accessible to everyone, of all ages, to enjoy now and for years to come,” she said.

The Zoological Society of London was awarded £3,000 in April 2021, from the grants programme, to work with Kingston Hogwatch to monitor hedgehog activity. The aim is to help stop their decline as part of their ‘London Hogwatch’ campaign.

Surbiton residents volunteered as ‘Hedgehog Champions’ setting up cameras in their gardens to record the movements of the hedgehogs, with the footage sent to the Zoological Society. The footage helps conservation efforts, as well as being part of the council’s new Biodiversity Action Plan.

Chris Carbone, senior research fellow at the Institute of Zoology, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be awarded funding from Kingston Council. This will enable us to work with their residents to help investigate and monitor the local hedgehog population.”

Two young European hedgehogs exploring a garden at night. Photo: FLPA/Shutterstock.

Kingston Tour Guides, working alongside the Kingston Heritage Service, was awarded £168 in June 2021 to support its first postcard competition. Children from several local primary schools were asked to design a postcard inspired by Kingston’s heritage. The winning postcards were available at Kingston Museum.

Voices of Hope

Voices of Hope, was awarded £12,000, in September 2021. All four Kingston neighbourhood committees, South of the Borough, Kingston Town, Maldens and Coombe and Surbiton Neighbourhood approved its application.

Following this funding, Voices of Hope can support around 40 families across Kingston borough by providing BRITE boxes during school term.

BRITE boxes are supplied to families in need every week for a year and contain ingredients and step by step recipe cards to help them to make healthy meals for up to five people.

Voices of Hope established the BRITE Box project in May 2020 to help vulnerable families across the borough, by addressing the issue of child food hunger.

Around 23 per cent of children living in the Kingston borough live in poverty.

The project aims to spark joy in cooking and eating well, helping children gain cooking skills, inspiring future generation chefs and bringing families together at home for meals.

One family said: “Thank you for inspiring my daughter to cook.”

Families learning to cook together. Photo: BROKER/Shutterstock.

Nick Dawson, operations and development manager at Voices of Hope, said: “We look forward to partnering with local primary schools to continue to address the issue of child hunger in a fun way that brings families together around food and gives children the skills and confidence to cook from scratch.”

The charity works in partnership with Achieving for Children and local primary schools supporting over 450 families across Kingston, Richmond, Southwark and most recently Elmbridge.

Families have previously enjoyed learning how to make dough and tomato sauce from scratch with toppings of peppers, onions and tomatoes for homemade pizzas.

Another family said: “These boxes have brought great joy to our home and have helped with financial problems recently, making a difference to local people.”

Councillor Lorraine Dunstone said: “I am delighted that all four neighbourhood committees have used community grant funding to help Voices of Hope continue and expand the meaningful, important work they do.

“Projects like this one are the reason why community grants can- and do- make a difference to the lives of local people.”

Residents and organisations from across the borough can apply now to the council for community grant funding.

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