Open Sight (Eastleigh Branch)

HIWCF awards grants of over £61K from Action Hampshire Fund benefiting local children, young people and families in crisis

Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Foundation
(HIWCF) has awarded £61,982 in grants to 16 smaller charities and community groups to support vulnerable children, young people and families in crisis or living in poverty.

The Action Hampshire Fund, (created following the dissolution of the Hampshire Voluntary Sector Children and Young People’s Alliance) aims to empower people in disadvantaged communities by supporting family networks, building community cohesion and providing advice, information and counselling for those who are struggling with issues such as mental health problems or health and wellbeing.


Grant awards have been made to the following groups across Hampshire:

Grantee Local Authority Area
Home-Start North West Hampshire Basingstoke and Deane
Pod Charitable Trust Basingstoke and Deane
Basingstoke Voluntary Action Basingstoke and Deane
Citizens Advice Bureau Tadley & District Basingstoke and Deane
YPI Counselling Basingstoke and Deane
St Mark’s Church Bordon East Hampshire
Home-Start Butser East Hampshire
Open Sight (Eastleigh Branch) Eastleigh
Portchester Community Centre Fareham
Family Autistic Spectrum Support Gosport
Off The Record (South East Hampshire) Havant
Youth and Families Matter New Forest
Zone Rushmoor
Yellow Brick Road Projects (YBRP) Test Valley
Cot Project Winchester
Winchester & District Young Carers Project Winchester

Sue Dovey, Chief Executive at Action Hampshire

At Action Hampshire we are delighted that this money, a legacy from a charity that had focused on supporting children, young people and families, has been used to support so many good, local charities and groups working in this field.


Grant Cornwell MBE, Chief Executive at HIWCF said:

We are pleased to partner Action Hampshire on this Fund, set up to help vulnerable children, young people and families who are struggling with poverty or are in crisis. HIWCF is committed to helping disadvantaged people across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and this grant programme enables us to support a wide range of vital projects run by truly deserving charities and community groups working in our region.



The three case studies below for Home-Start North West Hampshire in Basingstoke, Open Sight (Eastleigh Branch) and Pod’s Children Charity working in Basingstoke Hospital show how grants are being put to great use:


Home-Start North West Hampshire volunteers
Home-Start North West Hampshire volunteers

Basingstoke – Home-Start North West Hampshire provides an essential service to families and parents, helping isolated families that lack the confidence to engage with mainstream services, assisting families living with debt and poverty resulting in poor nutrition for children and supporting parents suffering from depression and mental health issues resulting in lack of interaction, social skills, speech and language delay in children.


Janette Hewitt, Chair of Home-Start North West Hampshire said:

The grant to Home-Start of £4,750 will enable the organisation to train volunteers in safeguarding, confidentiality and practical ideas to help families, and upon completion of training, we match volunteers with a family and provide weekly visits to offer a parenting role model and practical support, to help resolve any issues the family is struggling to cope with. Volunteers also receive quarterly training to keep their skills up to date on topics such as paediatric first aid and mental health awareness. In 2017-18 Home-Start North West Hampshire volunteers were able to support 77 families in the home and a further 51 families in groups, with 305 children helped in total.



Open Sight Cycling
Open Sight Cycling

Open Sight (Eastleigh Branch)
has received a grant of £4,770 to run two family fun days for blind and visually impaired children, to be held at the Pavilion in the Park this coming Spring and Autumn. Approximately 100 young people, their sighted siblings and their parents will be able to enjoy a wide range of exciting and inclusive activities designed to inspire take up of new hobbies and the confidence to try new things. Activities include sports such as goalball, blind football, boccia, cricket and tennis as well as cycling on specially adapted bikes and tandems. Members will also be able to get creative in the arts room, with a sensory session for younger children, a magician, petting zoo and a face painter, while older children can participate in a computer music workshop to develop their IT skills.

Jenny Collins, Family Support Co-ordinator at Open Sight said:

Many children, young people and their families affected by sight loss report experiencing social isolation, and this grant means they will be able to mix with peers to build friendships and participate in activities with siblings in a safe environment. For parents it will mean a relaxed day out without having to explain why their child bumps into people or can’t join in all the activities and the opportunity to share useful information with other parents in a similar situation. We have an excellent relationship with our families and aim to help them with ongoing practical and emotional support as required across Hampshire, Southampton and Portsmouth. The value of having someone to talk to can never be underestimated.


Open Sight supports over 3,000 people in total through home visits, at their low vision centre and five sight hubs.



Pod - Basingstoke Hospital
Pod – Basingstoke Hospital

Pod Children’s Charity has received a grant of £600 for monthly entertainment sessions for children at Basingstoke Hospital. Knowing that the professional entertainer is coming to their ward or clinic gives the children something to look forward to, and when ‘Fred the Shed’ starts his magic, balloon modelling or puppetry show over a 40-50 minute session, they are distracted from being in hospital and have some fun. The result is a child who smiles for the first time in days or a child who stops crying and actually laughs, which can make all the difference for parents caring for their children and is also encouraging for hospital staff.


Pauline Bennett, Charity Co-ordinator at Pod Children’s Charity said:

Children may start off feeling a little quiet, anxious and scared of being in hospital, but by the end of the magic show will be happily joining in and interacting with the other children. Children may be in hospital as a result of an accident, illness, planned procedure or check-up, or be in and out  frequently due to a life altering condition. The entertainment means that some procedures can be carried out while the child is distracted causing less stress, such as need for a local anaesthetic as opposed to a general, meaning the child leaving hospital has had a positive experience and is less afraid if they need to return for more treatment.

Photo: Open Sight (Eastleigh Branch)


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