Grants totalling more than £130,000 have been given to voluntary groups and small charities in Swindon by Wiltshire Community Foundation.
Many of the Community Grants awarded by the charity are phased over three years, giving recipients the security of knowing community projects have guaranteed funding.
Among the recipients of the latest round of Community Grants is Wiltshire Women Empowerment Programme in Swindon, which has been awarded £5,000 a year for the next three years to run training courses and support for women from ethnic minority backgrounds.
The charity, which has offices and a drop-in at The Parade, supports women from the Afro-Caribbean and Asian communities who want to find independence or a route out of poverty through education or need help with mental health issues, domestic abuse or isolation.
Chair Nokuthula Ndebele said: “This grant will benefit women from disadvantaged communities, particularly from black and ethnic minorities and their families. Services that will be delivered for them have been designed to address their issues relating to access to statutory services, rights and entitlements, quality of lives, confidence, participation in the wider community and health and well-being.”
The group runs courses including sewing and arts and crafts for members, and helps with information and applications for education and training and issues including health and housing.
It also works alongside other Swindon groups and bodies including Swindon Borough Council, Swindon Live Well Hub, VAS, The Harbour Project, foodbanks, MIND and Swindon Sisters Alliance.
Uplands Enterprise Trust has been awarded £5,000 for a multi-sensory projection system. The trust, based at Upper Shaw Ridge Farm, provides life and work skills for young people and adults with special educational needs.
Fundraising co-ordinator Caroline Dent said the projector would assist young people with multiple and complex disabilities to improve their communication, interaction and decision making skills.
“We hope to open up a new inclusive sensory world to our user group,” she said. “The projection can be based on the floor for those with limited abilities and they can appear to swim in the sea, be on a beach, city or outer space allowing them freedom to move and experiencing the world around them.
"Many cannot physically hold a paint brush but the slightest touch movement they can 'paint' a picture which will enable them to become aware of conscious movements when repeating patterns of behaviour and improve hand eye coordination.”
Wiltshire and Swindon Credit Union has been awarded £5,000 to upgrade its IT to allow it to expand its service across the county. At present it offers low-cost loans to help stop people in debt being drawn to payday loans or loan sharks.
It is currently restricted to working with families in receipt of Child Benefit but new technology will allow it to work with those receiving Universal Credit. It also plans to launch its own debit card and a service to prevent tenants in rent arrears from being evicted.
Wiltshire Community Foundation joint chief executive Fiona Oliver said: “We are only able to provide these grants because of the generosity of our donors. They trust us to use their donations to make the greatest impact with causes or places that matter most to them.
“We know the brilliant groups we fund will deliver on that and use the grants to make real improvements to the lives of local people who depend on them.”
The deadline for applications for the next round of Community Grants, which will be awarded in March, is 28 January. More details on eligibility and how to apply can be found at wiltshirecf.org.uk