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Improving lives by encouraging philanthropy, the Community Foundation for Surrey is an amazing organisation that inspires local giving to support local need. Here, we meet three sets of Surrey donors and discover their inspirations

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Originally published in Surrey Life magazine June 2010


Improving lives by encouraging philanthropy, the Community Foundation for Surrey is an amazing organisation that inspires local giving to support local need. Here, we meet three sets of Surrey donors and discover their inspirations



Simon and Caroline Whalley


Owners of Birtley House in Bramley, Simon and Caroline Whalleys family business provides a nursing home, supported living and home support



What made you want to help others in Surrey?
As a family business with nearly 80 years and four generations of commitment to care, it has always been fundamental to our approach to engage with the community. It has also facilitated the opportunity for the residents in our care to maintain an involvement with community issues as they would have done in their own homes.


How did you hear about the foundation?
We got involved early on after attending one of their initial launch meetings four years ago. We were very impressed with their objectives. People dont appreciate the need that exists in Surrey and by getting involved we have been able to support smaller local groups than we would have found by ourselves.


What causes in Surrey have you helped so far?
We like to support local community activities, particularly those that support older people or help to improve our local environment. We have supported numerous groups including the Surrey Association for Visual Impairment, who do tremendous work helping over 6,000 blind and visually impaired people in Surrey; Sayers Croft Educational projects; Guildford Action; Age Concern Waverley; Walton Firs; and Bramley Parish Church.


What have you got out of philanthropy?
Our fund reflects the Birtley House values of care and support and aims to transfer these values into the wider community. The fund also aims to involve staff and residents in helping to generate funding through fundraising activities and in the grant decision making process. We all benefit enormously from the involvement.


What would you say to encourage others to do the same?
Where there is a wish to seek out local groups and build relationships with particular issues and organisations, the approach of the Community Foundation movement is uniquely capable of facilitating this. There is also a great deal of support and encouragement from the staff, trustees and other funders involved, which is very valuable to those who may not have previously attempted to support community projects with this kind of funding.

Angus and Wanda Lloyd


Having lived in Effingham for 37 years, Wanda and Angus Lloyd are enjoying their retirement with a spot of golf and a lot of help for the young and old



What made you want to help others in Surrey?
We particularly like to help locally because we can visit the charities and get to know the people involved.


How did you hear about the foundation?
We heard about it through a friend. The foundation researches all of the projects, so we are confident our money is going where it is most needed.


What causes in Surrey have you helped so far?
One of the core groups we have given to is the Leatherhead Youth Project, who do extraordinary work with young people in that area. At the other end of the scale, we support Age Concern in Merstham who run an excellent Befriending Scheme for elderly people who may be immobile and isolated.


What have you got out of philanthropy?
We get fulfilment from helping and getting to know people in need in our local area. Its more rewarding than simply handing out a cheque.


What would you say to encourage others to do the same?
Surrey is a very affluent county but there are areas of high deprivation that need our help. It is also humbling to meet the people working in the local charities, who are dedicated to improving the lives of many people in the county.

Helen and Matthew Bowcock


A resident of Haslemere, Helen Bowcock founded the Hazelhurst Trust, set up to support a wide range of charitable causes, with her husband Matthew. She is also the author of Hidden Surrey a recent report that uncovered overlooked pockets of deprivation in the county



What made you want to help others in Surrey?
It is more important to give in Surrey than in any other part of the country because we receive less per person from the government than any other county. Although most people earn above average income, it is harder for people on low incomes living here and harder for charities because there is a perception that there is no need here.


How did you hear about the foundation?
By word of mouth.


What causes in Surrey have you helped so far?
Our main focus is on providing educational and cultural opportunities for children and young people who may otherwise miss out.One example is a social enterprise called Peer Productions, a youth arts theatre company specialising in education through theatre and film. Another is an education programme called Opportunities that provides IT tuition and other vocational and life skills to young people who have not completed their educations to enable them to be eligible for employment.We are also funding an educational programme that aims to teach philanthropy to pupils in local independent schools.


What have you got out of philanthropy?
Meeting many fascinating people who are making a difference, feeling that you are doing something useful with your money and that in a small way you can help others.


What would you say to encourage others to do the same?
Give it a go. Perhaps start with one project, and get the Community Foundation to arrange a site visit so you can see the need for yourself. Or start a fund for the village or town in which you live to provide for your own immediate community.



Philanthropy in numbers...



  • The Community Foundation for Surrey was set up in 2005.

  • Since then, they have built up a 3.2 million endowment fund for Surrey from donors. This is permanently invested money and the interest from this will be available in perpetuity for Surrey organisations.

  • They grew the fund by 1million in 2009/10 and are on target to increase it by another 1million this financial year.

  • They have awarded 1.6 million in grants to 554 voluntary and charitable organisations in the county since they started.

  • They have over 40 different funds established by private donors. These trust funds cover a huge width of need throughout Surrey.


Visit www.surreycommunityfoundation.org.uk to learn more about the work of the Community Foundation for Surrey and how you can donate or request a grant

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