Here to help those who help others

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Rye Bay FC needed to replace equipment and Rye Fund helped with a grant of £500

A further £7,000 has been awarded by Rye Fund to local charitable groups. The grants, which are awarded annually, were agreed at a meeting earlier this month, but we can’t go into names and amounts as the recipients have yet to be informed.

The over-riding concern at the meeting was, however, how to attract new applicants; the panel that assesses applications would like to see the list of recipients grow. There are many small groups doing good in Rye and nearby villages, but few apply for financial help. While the bureaucracy might deter some, help can be given to fill out the forms.

If you run a small voluntary or community group that benefits local people and are looking for ways to raise additional funds, Rye Fund would like to hear from you. It could be a sports team, a playgroup, a mother and baby group, a market, a group that provides meals for the elderly. Raising money for such small enterprises can be hard so it would worthwhile doing a spot of form-filling: the awards can be anything from £100 to £1,000. The one proviso is that the money is for the benefit of people living in and around Rye.

The fund was started by four residents with an initial donation of £20,000 in conjunction with the Sussex Community Foundation, an independent charity that manages the investment and distributes grants on behalf of various donors within Sussex. This initial figure has grown to more than £100,000 and, while the capital sum remains invested, each year the interest/dividend earned is distributed among the groups that have applied for help. Over the past six years, grants have been made to more than 25 local voluntary groups and charities.

Of the 12 applications received this year, 10 were successful and £7,000 was divided between them. Each applicant has to specify the intended use for the grant and will be asked to provide feedback during the year to ensure funds are properly spent.

Last year, for example, Rye Community Transport received £1,000 towards the cost of two secondhand buses. Previously, Rye Bay Football Club – whose players can be as young as five – received £500 towards new equipment, and the Rye Methodist Choir received £200 to buy new anthem and carol books.

The other side of the coin is, of course, increasing the amount of money to be distributed and the fund is looking to increase its capital sum to £200,000 in the form of personal donations, legacies, bequests and support from the business community. Details on making a donation can be found on the website. This is also where those wanting to apply for a grant should look for information.

Photo: Sussex Community Foundation