The Zurich Community Trust (ZCT) has announced it has donated £360,000 to Swindon-based charities as part of a package worth more than £2m to regional organisations around the UK.
Zurich's Swindon-based employees chose various charities with a focus on poverty, dementia, domestic abuse, and mental health.
New charity partners Big Breakfast Plus, which provides free cooked breakfasts to the homeless in Swindon, and The Harbour Project for Swindon Refugees and Asylum Seekers, have received £20,000 each.
Charlotte Mannion, Chair of Trustees of Big Breakfast Plus, said: “It is hard to express in words the joy we felt on learning that we are to be one of Zurich Community Trust’s charity partners. We are in the business of feeding hungry people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
"Now we have more guests than ever experiencing the impact of the cost-of-living crisis in our community. With this partnership, we can be there for them all. To know we can continue to offer our 35 to 50 guests a choice of freshly cooked breakfast five mornings a week in a warm and inviting environment is gratifying.”
The existing charity partners, The Recovery Tree, which provides work opportunities for people recovering from mental illness, has been awarded £35,000.
A spokesperson at The Recovery Tree, said: “Everyone at The Recovery Tree Charity is really heartened to be one of the Zurich Community Trust’s charity partners. Our projects – the Olive Tree Café and TWIGS Community Gardens – support the mental health of local people.
"It is partnerships like this that really ensure lasting change for the local community, and without the support of Zurich Community Trust some help just wouldn’t be available for those that need it most. It means a lot that local people, working for a local firm, also want to help.”
Funding totalling £35,000 has also been donated to Swindon Carers Centre to help deliver one-to-one support and counselling to those living with dementia. Swindon and Gloucestershire Mind havr too received £35,000, which is said to be going towards paying for a new member of staff to lead on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Susanna Jones, Chief Executive of Swindon Carers Centre, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen by Zurich Community Trust as a Charity Partner. In Swindon there are more than 2,500 people living with dementia, and therefore, there are also thousands of people caring, unpaid, for a family member, partner or friend with dementia.
"Caring for someone with dementia can be physically and emotionally exhausting at times. Thanks to this new partnership we will be able to fund a range of dementia friendly groups and activities allowing unpaid carers to take a break and access peer support.”
Yazmin Taylor, Service Lead for Swindon and Gloucestershire Mind, said: “Through the support of incredible partners, just like Zurich Community Trust, Swindon and Gloucestershire Mind can lead in the delivery and development of compassionate, effective and person-centred support in our local areas, so more people than ever are living the best quality of life regardless of their mental health problem.
"Giving back helps us to move forward so your support is helping more than ever. This partnership will make a huge difference to reach people who are not currently accessing our services.”
Existing partners Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service say they will use part of their £35,000 of funding to continue their preventative work in schools.
Jo Eamey, CEO of Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service, said: “Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service is honoured to have been chosen as a charity partner by Zurich staff in Swindon. The support that Zurich Community Trust are offering is fantastic, giving us not only funding but practical support to help our charity offer the highest quality support to people affected by domestic abuse in Swindon. We look forward to continuing our relationship in the coming years.”
ZCT has also integrated a charity donation platform, MyImpact, which allows employees to make regular or one-off donations to partner charities. Each donation will be matched by 100% by the Trust. For every 10 hours of volunteering recorded on the platform, employees will receive £100 to donate to their favourite charity partner.
Steve Grimmett, Head of Zurich Community Trust, said: “The cost-of-living crisis is affecting both households and charitable organisations, with inflation and high energy costs meaning budgets must now stretch further. Zurich Community Trust is proud that these donations will help to ease the pressure for charities in Swindon, picked by Zurich’s employees.”
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