An Island charity which has used council grants to support children and families struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic is urging others to follow their example and apply for funding before it’s too late.  

Since the Isle of Wight Council launched the ‘connect4communities’ programme last December, more than £113,000 has been distributed to fund voluntary, charity and community groups to provide valuable help for vulnerable families and individuals in need.

Among those to successfully apply to the scheme was the Aspire Ryde charity which continues to use the money to provide a helping hand to around 600 people a week with food and other support.

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It’s chief executive, Trevor Nicholas, said:

“connect4communities funding enabled us to provide bags of warmth and food parcels to people over the Christmas period and allows us to continue to provide meals to local residents in need.

“Through our free food provision, we support around 500 to 600 people a week, providing a bit of extra food during the pandemic which has been vital for them.

“This has been a really beneficial programme to us; really amazing funding to keep us going through the crisis and allowing us to do this great work in the local community.

“The good news is there’s still some of that funding available but you need to be quick to get it. If you’re a local charity, community or voluntary group providing support to your local community and not yet applied then, please, really consider doing so. Please don’t miss out!”

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connect4communities community grants are specifically intended to support families in need with food, energy and water bills. They can also be used for essential items such as warm clothing and bedding. The programme is funded by the COVID Winter Grant Scheme, awarded to the authority by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Last week it was announced the council had been awarded an extra £158,821 to support the programme which will be used to:

  • extend the school holiday food voucher scheme to cover the 2-week Easter break — ensuring children do not go hungry over the holidays
  • further bolster the community grant scheme which has already handed out 23 grants totalling £113,000
  • provide care leaver vouchers
  • support young carers through the YMCA
  • provide discretionary grants for schools and early years settings to distribute to their families and individuals in need
  • provide additional fuel support and white goods to households in need, working with local charities
  • fund Easter cookery programmes and set up mobile and ‘edible kitchens’ in selected schools.

For more information on how to apply for a ‘connect4communities’ community grant, visit

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