Charities now facing tough decisions - Melanie Hill

The past 18 months have placed unprecedented financial strain on the third sector. Following the impact of the pandemic, many charitable organisations are now facing tough decisions about whether they can afford to continue providing invaluable services for the communities they support.

Fish swimming through the coral on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. ScottishPower Foundation has created a new Marine Biodiversity Fund to contribute to the global objectives of protecting our seas and enhancing marine biodiversity. (Photo: William West/AFP via Getty Images)
Fish swimming through the coral on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. ScottishPower Foundation has created a new Marine Biodiversity Fund to contribute to the global objectives of protecting our seas and enhancing marine biodiversity. (Photo: William West/AFP via Getty Images)

In a sector where every penny doesn’t just count – but makes a real difference – the ScottishPower Foundation has awarded more than £9 million over the past eight years to worthy causes that have a positive impact on people’s lives. And as society starts to reopen and we emerge from the pandemic, it’s more important than ever that we continue to support the third sector in this way and help them help others.

That’s why I’m proud the Foundation is sharing almost £1.2 million of funding with charities across the UK this year. The money will be used to support incredible projects that will help improve and change lives for people and communities across the country.

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Since it was established in 2013, the ScottishPower Foundation has been committed to supporting charities with vital funding and this year is no different. Despite the challenges and financial implications of the pandemic, it’s crucial that funders who are still able to support charities, continue to do so.

From Beith to Bournemouth, we’re funding 16 charities to help them deliver amazing projects that support the arts, education, citizenship and society as well as biodiversity and climate change.

Projects range from an initiative to provide opportunities for young people to learn more about their local heritage and gain vital employment qualifications in the process, to a musical education programme that transforms the way young people learn to play music.

We’re also proud to support a project that encourages school pupils to learn about climate change and develop their debating skills to educate their peers on the matter, as well a new project that helps families deal with the long-term effects of COVID-19 on mental health and wellbeing.

All the charities we’re supporting this year make a huge positive impact on people’s lives and it’s testament to the resilience and strength of these charities that they’ve been able to plan for and start to deliver such inspiring projects.

It’s not something we should take for granted – particularly in the current climate – and we were once again overwhelmed by the extraordinary work being carried out in communities by this year’s applicants.

We would love to help every applicant we get, so it’s hard to choose the ones that will have the greatest impact. The calibre of applications this year is testament to the hard work of charity workers across the UK, but also highlights the funding gap facing the third sector in the wake of the pandemic. It’s vital funding continues to allow charities to deliver amazing work in communities the length and breadth of our country.

As well as continuing our charitable support in 2021, this year marks an exciting new chapter for the ScottishPower Foundation. In the year of the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow, we’ve created a new Marine Biodiversity Fund to finance a multi-year project – up to £600,000 over three years – that contributes to the global objectives of protecting our seas and enhancing marine biodiversity.

Applications have now closed and details of the successful project will be announced later this year, but there’s no doubt what it delivers will leave a positive legacy for future generations. And that’s what the ScottishPower Foundation is all about – making a difference for others and supporting life-changing projects the length and breadth of the country – and we applaud all our charitable partners for the incredible work they do, day in and day out.

Melanie Hill is Executive Officer and Trustee at the ScottishPower Foundation

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