Last week, Hannah Clay, our Head of Grant Programmes was pleased to join Rother District Action for their AGM, Volunteer Awards and Resilience Workshops.
The event brought together voluntary sector groups from across Sussex to celebrate the achievements of Rother District over the past year and to recognise the amazing work carried out by the local voluntary and community sector.
After the AGM’s official business, there was a celebration of volunteers from across Rother, representing a diverse range of volunteer-led initiatives. The awards were presented by the High Sheriff of East Sussex, Richard Bickersteth. The High Sheriff serves as The King’s representative for law and order in the county and actively engages with the voluntary sector during his shrieval year.
The Volunteer Awards are a brilliant way of recognising the time and commitment of the tireless efforts of individuals who often work quietly in the background to make a difference in their communities. From Breast Mates, a breastfeeding support group, to the Pelham, an established community hub and café, and many in between, there was a lot to celebrate.
It was a great opportunity to meet some groups new to Sussex Community Foundation’s funding too. Hannah joined the National Lottery Community Fund and RVA’s ESCC commissioned Make it Happen project for a workshop on, ‘Funding in a challenging climate’. There was recognition of the high demand for funding with many organisations desperately in need of sustainable funding for running costs. The panel acknowledged the need to support core costs, particularly in relation to cost of living challenges, as increased energy, staffing and building costs create additional pressure for organisations.
“The event was really inspiring, bringing together a diverse group of individuals who were keen to share their ideas and knowledge. It was great to have an opportunity to celebrate the remarkable work of volunteers in our community.”
Hannah chatted with Roger who runs Robertsbridge and Brightling Repair café, whose initiative is going from strength to strength. The monthly cafes help people restore precious items such as clocks, clothing and essential equipment and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. This illustrates perfectly the themes of resilience and community participation.
Hannah also met with a local Ukranian support group who are keen on expanding their services to support more Ukranian families living in this area of Sussex.