First grants from the Solihull Winter Wellbeing & Recovery Fund issued by Heart of England Community Foundation


The first two grants from the Solihull Winter Wellbeing & Recovery Fund were awarded last week by Heart of England Community Foundation to two local organisations.

The grants, which will hopefully be the first in a series of many, were awarded to Happy Mamas, Solihull and Balsall Common Methodist Church.

Happy Mamas, a newly formed peer support group for mums to share their experience of early motherhood during the pandemic, will use their £2,000 grant to continue their walk and talk sessions and to begin a coffee and craft session in April 2021.

Balsall Common Methodist Church were granted £3,000, which they will use to help more people in the local community who are vulnerable and have been impacted by COVID-19. This money is in addition to the Church’s existing Benevolent Fund which provides essentials that people may need including food and clothing.

The Winter Wellbeing & Recovery Fund was set up in partnership with Heart of England Community Foundation to award small grants to voluntary, community and social enterprise sector groups and organisations during the pandemic.

There are small grants of up to £5,000 available to support ideas and proposals which will contribute to the community response to COVID-19 within Solihull.

For more information about the fund and to find out how to apply at the Heart of England Community Foundation website.

Solihull Council is also providing additional support to families over the Christmas and new year period, to assist households with food, utility bills and other essentials up to the end of March 2021.

Information and advice on how to access local community support, food or financial assistance can be obtained by calling Solihull Connect on 0121 704 8100. Solihull Connect can also refer and connect families to local food networks, as well as to the Council’s Discretionary Crisis Fund (DCF). The DCF can provide financial and fuel assistance to any household experiencing severe financial hardship. This includes access to food, fuel top-ups and, if needed, essential white goods.

 Councillor Alison Rolf, Cabinet Member for Stronger and Safer Communities, said:

“Its fantastic news that after establishing this new fund just a few weeks ago, in partnership with Heart of England Community Foundation, we are already providing vital grants to some truly fantastic organisations who can help their local communities this winter. 

“Now more than ever we need to support our local residents who may be struggling. If your organisation is doing or looking to do something which will directly support Solihull residents in response to the pandemic, such as helping to promote physical and mental wellbeing, then I would encourage you to have a look at the eligibility criteria and apply.”

Tina Costello, Chief Executive, Heart of England Community Foundation Trust, said:

“We’re so pleased that the Foundation has been able to connect Solihull community groups with much needed support through The Solihull Winter Wellbeing & Recovery Fund. This financial support will go a long way into improving the lives of the local community during the difficult times ahead.

“I’m excited for what this partnership with Solihull Council will bring and look forward to helping those most in need.”

Henning Kleine, Treasurer, Balsall Common Methodist Church:

“We’ve had a Benevolent Fund in place for years, but it has really come into its own during this year, which has caused hardship for so many. 

“Rev’d Jane Braund is most grateful for all the help and donations offered up to now and sees it as a privilege to be able to respond to some of the immediate and pressing needs, this grant will enable us to continue to offer support to those in need within this community.”

Jemma Paterson, Chairwomen & Treasurer Jemma Paterson, Happy Mamas Solihull has said:

“We wanted to create sessions where mums could come with their young children, new-borns up to about four. It’s basically a support group that enables women to socially gather but also talk about issues they find particularly challenging when bringing up small children.

“There’s a lot of groups for the children but there isn’t a lot of support for the mums, now we’re doing park meetups as it’s the safest way to meet. We want to offer ‘coffee & craft’ mornings in the New Year where people can meet in an indoor setting.

“It’ll provide relief to mums that are feeling really isolated at home. A problem shared is a problem halved. The feedback we’ve had so far is that it’s been really useful especially over the lock-down period!

“At the moment the grant will mainly cover the marketing side, but it’ll help us extend our offering into an indoor setting. COVID-19 isn’t going away so we have to get on with life.”