Wales Office Minister Baroness Randerson today (11th June) celebrated the Big Society spirit in Wales as she highlighted the work of a leading Welsh charity in helping some of the most vulnerable people in the country.
Baroness Randerson, who chairs the Wales Office Big Society Advisory Forum, praised Community Foundation in Wales for making more than £2million worth of grants to over 300 organisations last year.
She also hailed its success in passing the £1million milestone for their Fund for Wales, a national endowment fund which provides a sustainable source of funding for local communities.
In a keynote speech at The Foundation’s annual Westminster reception, Baroness Randerson said she was proud that Wales had a long history of volunteering and supporting others less fortunate than themselves.
Baroness Randerson said:
While charity relieves the pains of social problems, philanthropy attempts to solve those problems at their root causes - the difference between giving food and teaching someone how to grow food.
It is this ethos which is at the heart of the concept of the Big Society - a programme which helps people come together in communities to improve their own lives.
I was never in any doubt that it would be a huge success and people across Wales have stepped up to the challenge.
The UK government introduced the Big Society Awards to recognise the ethos and achievements of those people and organisations who do exceptional work in their community - and we have already had more than 100 award winners.
I had the great pleasure of presenting an award to one of Wales’ winners in January, Kelly Davies of Vi-Ability, and I am also delighted to see that she been a recipient of a grant from Community Foundation in Wales. I am sure this played no small part in helping her to achieve this accolade.
Next month, Baroness Randerson will bring together a range of experts to discuss the support needed by Armed Forces veterans at the next Wales Office Big Society Advisory Forum. This will be an important opportunity to highlight the support available for veterans across Wales and to encourage more organisations to get involved offer help.
Previous forums have focussed on how best to protect older people from financial scams and how to get more people involved in community energy groups to take control of their energy bills.
The Big Society Awards were set up by the Prime Minister in November 2010. The aim is to acknowledge individuals and organisations across the UK that demonstrate the Big Society in their work or activities. In so doing, the aim is also to galvanise others to follow.
In January, Kelly Davies, 29, who founded Conwy-based social enterprise Vi-Ability with the help and support of the Wales Co-operative Centre was recognised by the Prime Minister with a Big Society Award for her work in tackling youth unemployment and commercial sustainability in football clubs.
Established in 1999, Community Foundation in Wales is a charity which awards grants of more than £2 million each year to charities and community groups on behalf of their donors.
There are over 30,000 community groups and charities in Wales and the Foundation awards grants ranging from £500 to £150,000 to support more than 300 of these projects and organisations every year