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Words published in the Jersey Evening Post Tuesday 27 February, 2024.

Jersey Community Foundation’s vision is to ensure Islanders are healthy, included and engaged; and supported by a strong, efficient, impactful and thriving social community infrastructure.[HM1]

We are living in uncertain global times, and as an Island, we have faced many major events over the last few years.

When major events happen, it’s tempting to focus all our attention and resources on the short-term. However, Jersey Community Foundation (JCF) was established with the long-term in mind – To meet the growing and changing needs of the Island, it is vital that we target our limited resources towards the long-term needs and aspirations of our island community.

Jersey Community Fund

Our beautiful Island has so much to offer. But it also faces many challenges of disadvantage and social need, much of which is hidden.

In 2022, we compiled research to demonstrate the extent of community needs and social deprivation across Jersey. The published findings feature in JCF’s Local Needs Assessment Report available on the JCF website, and provide tangible, relevant and recent data that form the basis of a strong, evidence-based approach for our grant giving activity.

Through this rigorous data analysis and meaningful dialogues with stakeholders from the Third sector, wider community and local government, we have identified five key priority funding areas:

  1. Community inclusion and tackling inequality
  2. Caring for an ageing population
  3. Addressing the impact of the cost-of-living crisis and poverty
  4. Promoting mental health and wellbeing
  5. Encouraging healthy living, including combating obesity

Charitable organisations play a pivotal role in addressing these priority areas – as well as many other important areas – offering invaluable support, services and resources to those in need.

Recognising the indispensable role of the Third Sector in driving meaningful change, we have committed to a funding strategy that will help Jersey thrive.

As such, we have set up a fund called the ‘Jersey Community Fund’. This fund pools unrestricted donations from donors and allocates grants to impactful local charitable organisations and community groups, focusing on our five priority areas for funding.

Below, we delve into the significance of each priority area in Jersey, exposing the critical impact they have on our community’s wellbeing, and showcasing the tangible ways in which these priority areas are being addressed through the power of targeted investment and effective grant giving.

  1. Community inclusion and tackling inequality

Local facts and figures

Jersey faces a significant wealth gap, with 25% of children living in households with an income below 60% of the Jersey average. On average, state school graduates earn 27% less than their fee-paying counterparts. Lack of culture, arts and heritage (CAH) opportunities ranks as the third reason for Islanders considering leaving, with 29% citing affordability as a barrier. Additionally, 26% of local students have English as a second language. (JCF Local Needs Assessment 2022)

Where to allocate funding?

The disparities in Islanders’ wellbeing stem largely from variations in income and educational opportunities. Jersey’s Third sector plays a pivotal role in enhancing societal accessibility, extending vital assistance to caregivers, parents and children from diverse backgrounds and the elderly. Our aim is to bolster the Third sector, moving Jersey towards a more equitable society by tackling the underlying issues at their core.

Case study

Organisation: Jersey Childcare Trust

Project: Special Needs Inclusion Programme

Grant amount: £29,952

About: This project aims to provide specialist support for children living in low-income households to access nursery education and achieve developmental milestones. Early childhood experiences significantly shape future outcomes, with formal Early Childhood Education and Care associated with improved cognitive and socio-emotional development. However, poverty and disability often hinder access to these opportunities. By removing barriers, this initiative seeks to ensure all children have the chance to learn, grow and thrive.

  1. Caring for an ageing population

Local facts and figures

Jersey faces significant challenges due to its ageing population, with 18% of residents aged over 65 in 2021, up from 15% in 2011. The lack of carers and care packages exacerbates pressure on the Third sector, with over 1,000 Islanders already in care homes. Loneliness affects a quarter of those over 65, while health issues like obesity and dementia are prevalent. Additionally, nearly one in five pensioner households live on insufficient income, highlighting the urgency of addressing pensioner poverty. (JCF Local Needs Assessment 2022)

Where to allocate funding?

To address the needs of Jersey's ageing population, it’s vital to invest in preventative measures, such as tackling heart disease and diabetes, as well as help to address social isolation and loneliness. Equally important are interventions aimed at reducing fall risks among seniors, a significant factor in 18% of ambulance callouts for those over 65. By prioritising these areas, funding can profoundly improve the wellbeing of Jersey's elderly residents.

Case study

Organisation: Dementia Jersey

Project: Dementia Friendly Communities

Grant amount: £30,000

About: This project enhances community inclusivity by equipping businesses to better assist customers with dementia, aiming to enhance their quality of life. Individuals with dementia often express discomfort in commercial settings due to navigation challenges and unhelpful staff, emphasising the significance of this initiative.

  1. Addressing the impact of the cost-of-living crisis and poverty

Local facts and figures

Relative poverty is a hidden but significant problem in Jersey, with 24.2% of local students on pupil premium in 2020 (a funding programme to help students get the best out of their education) and over 10,000 people receiving income support in 2019. The average income of the bottom quintile of households in 2021 was £28,600, while 53% of Islanders struggle to meet living costs. Additionally, 27% received charitable services or assistance, and 61% would find it difficult to pay an unexpected £400 bill. Housing costs contribute significantly to poverty, with 10% of Islanders living in insecure housing. (JCF Local Needs Assessment 2022)

Where to allocate funding?

Initiatives to reduce the poverty gap, alleviate financial hardships, improve living standards and support those living in inadequate housing are crucial. By targeting these areas, funding can make a meaningful impact on reducing poverty and improving the overall wellbeing of Islanders.

Case study

Organisation: Caring Cooks of Jersey

Project: Winter Voucher Scheme

Grant amount: £15,000

About: With escalating food and fuel prices due to the cost-of-living crisis, families face unprecedented challenges. The surge in demand for assistance underscores the difficult choices between heating and eating. Recognising this, this project provides essential food, electricity and gas vouchers to alleviate the financial burden for struggling households.

An additional £1,866 was awarded to Caring Cooks to teach parents how to create nutritious and budget-friendly meals and lunchboxes to improve their children’s dietary habits, health and academic performance. Through practical demonstrations, educational workshops and a supportive toolkit, the course is providing parents with the skills to plan ahead more effectively, shop for and prepare wholesome meals. Building on the success of this pilot project, we hope that this initiative will be rolled out on a larger scale in future.

  1. Promoting mental health

Local facts and figures

Mental health is a huge challenge in Jersey, with 40% of respondents reporting high anxiety levels. This endemic affects Islanders of all ages, leading to increased mental health incidents including substance abuse. Mind Jersey indicates that many in need of support are falling out of the system, exacerbating the crisis. (JCF Local Needs Assessment 2022)

Where to allocate funding?

To address mental health challenges, funding will prioritise a range of support programmes, including art therapy, music therapy and physical activities. Peer support, counselling and preventative and rehabilitative care are also crucial. By investing in these areas, funding can help provide vital resources and support for individuals grappling with mental health issues in Jersey.

Case study

Organisation: Mind Jersey

Project: Mental Health Peer Support for Over 65s

Grant amount: £45,000

About: The project is about finding support from peers who share similar experiences, offering hope, help, learning and the ability to take control of their own lives. Peer support can be transformative in improving mental wellbeing, which was especially evident during lockdown where isolation hit older adults the hardest. Mind has expanded peer support to all age groups, witnessing positive impacts on health and wellbeing.

  1. Encouraging healthy living

Local facts and figures

Jersey faces significant challenges with obesity, with 30% of Year 6 students and 50% of adults overweight or obese. This not only leads to long-term health issues but also affects academic performance and mental health. Islanders are also not meeting recommended levels of daily exercise, impacting various aspects of health and community wellbeing. This is exacerbated by a lack of green spaces in town schools. (JCF Local Needs Assessment 2022)

Where to allocate funding?

To address obesity and promote healthy living, funding will focus on reducing obesity rates in both children and adults. Supporting innovative approaches to social care and non-acute healthcare, as well as investing in preventative care through healthy living campaigns, is crucial. Additionally, initiatives to encourage a more active population, promote participation in community-based projects and provide education to parents on healthy eating and exercise are essential. By targeting these areas, funding can make a meaningful impact on improving overall health and wellbeing in Jersey.

Case study

Organisation: Lifestyle Medicine

Project: Group Education Course to Reverse Pre-Diabetes

Grant amount: £6,820

About: This project aims to address pre-diabetes through a comprehensive nine-session intervention, including one-on-one appointments and group sessions. Pre-diabetes increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. This initiative empowers individuals to make necessary lifestyle changes, reversing pre-diabetes and enhancing overall health outcomes, lessening future health risks.

A stronger community

As Jersey moves forward, it's vital to allocate philanthropy and charitable funds wisely, focussing on our Island community’s overarching goals and needs. We are not just funding projects; we are collaborating with philanthropists and innovative charitable organisations to invest strategically in initiatives that promote a thriving, supported and more resilient future for all Islanders.

A Foundation for lasting change: Priorities for a thriving and resilient island

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