Community project benefits from Managed Services Community Fund

Published:  22 October, 2015

A community project based in Redcar has received £5,000 of funding from the Managed Services Community Fund at the CIH Housing 2015 conference.

Managed Services, part of Travis Perkins, provides maintenance materials and supply chain planning for public sector organisations.

The award, provided in partnership with Wickes, was presented to Friends of Westfield Farm, a community project based in Dormanstown, Redcar.

The community of Dormanstown, Redcar, is an area of deprivation and high unemployment, where many children and elderly people live in food poverty.

Westfield Farm, a community hub in Dormanstown, seeks to combat this situation by employing a variety of initiatives, including a gardening volunteer programme to provide home grown produce and meals, and a schools education project on healthy eating.

Work Hubs provides careers information, advice and guidance, while Digital Champion volunteers support residents to access online services and improve their skills – all of which can help with future employment opportunities.

Friends of Westfield Farm submitted a comprehensive project proposal on how the funding could support all areas of its work and would allow them to provide support for 500 additional local people, an increase from the 2,000 they currently work with, according to Managed Services.

Judges were impressed and awarded the organization the full £5,000 worth of funding.

The competition field was narrowed to 10 finalists, so it was a tough decision for the judging panel, which consisted of three independent judges. However, they felt Friends of Westfield Farm really was a standout project that covered all categories: Investing in your community; Employment, education, skills and training; Health and wellbeing; and Environment.

Samantha Cox of Groundwork UK, one of the judges on the panel, said: “As Groundwork is a charity that supports communities across the UK, I was delighted to be involved in the selection of a project to receive a grant through this scheme.

“Friends of Westfield Farm is delivering a range of opportunities including gardening and cookery skills and is a great project that I feel will make a massive difference in their community.”

Jenny Osbourne of the Tenant Empowerment Organisation (TPAS), and also a member of the judging panel, said: “Friends of Westfield farm was an outstanding application and is well deserving of its win - a well-designed project with scale and variety that is clearly having practical and long lasting positive effects on the community. I was particularly impressed with the work being undertaken on employment, skills and training.”

Barry McBride, Westfield Farm coordinator, said: “We’re really grateful for the funding from Travis Perkins Managed Services. It will allow us to build on our success by giving us the scope to expand and improve our current offerings, as well as to develop new programmes.

“Our community gardeners are really excited about the funding as it means they’ll be able to recover the poly tunnel, allowing them to continue to grow produce into the winter months.

“You don’t need to be a Coast & Country tenant to come and use our services. We are here for the entire community. If you want to learn new skills, gain new qualifications or volunteer on the Farm, please do in get in touch. We’re always happy to help.”

Chris Pentland, social housing specialist at Wickes for Business, said: “The Friends of Westfield Farm project will greatly benefit the local community - actively supporting and assisting those that are most in need. We are proud to have partnered with Travis Perkins on this worthy initiative and feel the £5,000 will go a long way."

Stuart Hough, managing director of Managed Services, said: “Community projects are a really important part of what we do here at Managed Services, and we are really pleased to be able to support Friends of Westfield Farm. We think the judges have made the right choice and look forward to seeing the project progress.”

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