MHA Carpenter Box Limited is a firm of chartered accountants and chartered tax advisors, based in Worthing. Throughout its 90-year history, the firm has always been a great contributor to charitable causes and, in 2010, it set up the Carpenter Box Grassroots Fund at Sussex Community Foundation. An initial endowment donation of £25,000 was matched £1 for £1 through a Government match-funding scheme being run at the time, which brought the fund total up to £50,000. The Fund is invested and a proportion of the interest drawn down each year and given in grants to support small, local voluntary and community groups active in the Worthing & District area. A panel of MHA Carpenter Box Limited staff get involved in choosing which projects receive funding, with an emphasis on benefiting projects working with young people and older people.
“The match-funding was a definite incentive for us to set up the Fund when we did,” says MHA Carpenter Box Limited Partner, Chris Coopey, pictured above. “As accountants and tax advisers, maximising our charitable giving in this way, this kind of fiscal leverage, was a major plus. In terms of what else the Foundation does for us, their staff is hugely knowledgeable about what’s going on in Sussex and who needs what funding. They are able put us in touch with groups that, quite simply, we wouldn’t know existed but are exactly the kind of local community groups our staff wish to support. As an effective model of charitable giving, I would advise any business serious about giving something back to consider working with a community foundation.”
One group to have received a grant from the Carpenter Box Fund is the Angmering Youth Forum who received funding to employ qualified workers. The group provide a bus that as a meeting place for young people in an area where there are precious few places for them to meet and socialise safely. “90% of our volunteers all work during the day and we are finding it harder and harder to get more volunteers to help the workload,” says organiser Pat Turner. “Our only option is to pay for youth workers/helpers/drivers to man the bus on a regular basis to ensure the whole project can continue as needed. The young people need somewhere to go, which is off the streets to stop them getting bored and doing ‘silly things’.” The police say that since the project started, antisocial behaviour has gone down by 61%. “One of the most moving sights is when the bus drives down the long road to its parking place on a meeting night. As it drives down the road, youngsters appear from nowhere and run down behind the bus which has been described as like the Pied Piper of Hamelin. It is this atmosphere that keeps us all going,” says Pat.