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Words published in the Jersey Evening Post Tuesday 02 January.

As 2024 begins, it’s timely to take a moment to look back on some of the impactful charitable projects that drive tangible change across our island community.

The past 12 months have been marked by notable achievements and transformation for numerous vital causes. From advancements in healthcare to addressing environmental sustainability, and from initiatives that support families struggling with the cost-of-living crisis to improving children and young people’s mental health, the collective efforts of individuals, organisations and voluntary groups have forged a path toward positive and meaningful change.

In 2023 alone, £2,477,616 was awarded by Jersey Community Foundation (JCF) to over 110 projects that aim to support vital causes. This is thanks to numerous donors, the Channel Islands Lottery, funds from Dormant Bank Accounts and contributions from members of the public who all give so generously.

This article aims to navigate the rich tapestry of funding awarded to essential causes this year – from some of the largest awards through to some of the smallest – celebrating the impact of these investments and shedding light on the stories that have inspired progress.

Family Nursing & Home Care - £177,560

Childhood obesity prevention

Jersey Community Fund & Greville Bathe Fund

Like with most western nations, addressing the growing concern of childhood obesity and its associated impacts on long-term health and mental wellbeing has become a pressing priority in Jersey.

Despite the perception that Jersey is affluent and the population is healthy, alarming statistics highlighted by JCF’s 2023 Local Needs Assessment and Public Health Jersey highlight a consistent rise in obesity among reception children (24% are overweight or obese) and year 6 children (32% are overweight or obese) (Public Health Jersey, 2023). There is also a significant correlation between poor mental health and obesity in Jersey’s children and adolescents.

In addition, Public Health Jersey’s 2023 report finds that there is a divide in the health of fee and non-fee-paying students. 28% of 4 to 5-year-olds attending non-fee paying schools are overweight or obese, compared with 22% who attend fee paying schools.

Children who are overweight or obese are more likely to suffer from lifestyle health issues into adulthood, like diabetes and obesity, which makes them more prone to health issues and places additional strain on our health service.

With mental health and obesity historically treated separately, a paradigm shift is needed.

Family Nursing & Home Care (FN&HC) is a charity that provides Island-wide community nursing and home care services from birth to end of life.

The charity’s project proposes a 15-month pilot that adopts a community-centred approach, recognising being very overweight as a societal issue, not an individual one. This is similar to other successful approaches elsewhere around the world. Bringing together essential community partners, the initiative focusses on tailored one-to-one support for children and their families.

Leading the pilot study are a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse and a Paediatric Therapist. They are closely connected to HENRY (Healthy Start, Brighter Future), a programme emphasising the lifelong impact of early experiences on health and wellbeing. HENRY aids families in giving infants and children an optimal start in life and is referenced in Public Health England commissioning documents.

This innovative project aims to enhance children’s long-term health by reducing weight-related diseases, improving mental health, addressing health inequalities and alleviating the burden on Jersey’s health services – all to create a healthier, equal, thriving and informed future workforce who have healthier habits and spend more time outdoors.

Jersey Music Service - £75,000

Introducing musical instruments as part of an enhanced music curriculum.

Jersey Community Fund

Jersey Music Service (JMS) is a charity that works with schools and young people to develop musical skills and learning. It provides specialist music teaching and curriculum support both through the curriculum and with extra-curricular activities.

Their one-year project will see all Year 2 students in Jersey receive a full school term of hands-on experience in performing, composing and listening to music led by specialist music staff. The initiative guarantees that every child learns to play an instrument and sing, providing them with a solid foundation in music. This opens opportunities for more children to explore playing musical instruments and pursue studies in music, whether academically or in performance arts, including BTec, GCSE and A Level.

Culminating in a lively concert, parents and peers will get to watch the impressive achievements of these young musicians, while boosting children’s confidence.

With ongoing opportunities for musical growth, this initiative aligns with the government’s vision for inclusive musical education. It’s an exciting step towards making music an integral part of every child’s educational journey.

Building on the success of prior projects with Years 4 and 7, it was realised that earlier intervention would benefit pupils in several ways. Firstly, pupils would develop a foundation in music theory and practical musical skills at an earlier age. Secondly, pupils would come into Year 4 and subsequently Year 7 with a better understanding of music and music making, and therefore progression in Year 4 and 7 would be greater.

Importantly, engaging in music education not only develops musical skills but also strengthens cognitive abilities such as concentration, creativity and problem-solving. These enhanced cognitive skills can positively impact a student's overall academic performance, making learning in other subjects more effective and enjoyable.

Ocean Culture Life - £10,000

Educational initiatives to create a generation of ‘Ocean Guardians’.

Environment Fund: Private Donor

With over 70% of our planet covered by oceans and facing unprecedented threats from pollution, overfishing, habitat destruction and climate change, urgent action is imperative. Jersey is no exception to these challenges.

Ocean Culture Life, driven by their mission to give a voice to the ocean, unveils a visionary project rooted in deepening public awareness of life below water through storytelling. Recognising storytelling as a powerful tool, the charity bridges the wide gap between scientific knowledge and public awareness, emphasising the urgency of conservation and nurturing a deeper connection to the ocean.

This project aims to empower people through educational initiatives, cultivating a generation of ‘Ocean Guardians’ through relatable narratives and accessible stories that translate complex scientific insights. By uniting diverse stakeholders from around the world and creating a shared narrative, Ocean Culture Life seeks to transcend geographic and cultural boundaries in a collective effort for ocean conservation.

Crucially, the initiative also focuses on mobilising resources, attracting donors, grants and partnerships to ensure the financial sustainability of conservation efforts.

At its core, Ocean Culture Life's project emerges as a commitment to addressing the escalating challenges faced by our oceans, using storytelling to inspire action and make a lasting positive impact on the health and future of our planet's oceans.

Brighter Futures - £5,000

Sponsorship of one family for one year.

WO Street Fund

Brighter Futures is a charity that offers support and services to individuals and families facing difficulties in family life. This includes poverty, financial difficulties, physical ill health and mental health challenges. They also support families with high-risk and complex issues, including child protection concerns. Since opening in 2008, Brighter Future has supported more than 3,100 families in Jersey.

All families who access Brighter Futures do so on a voluntary basis; they can either self-refer or are referred by a range of agencies and health professionals. This grant helps the charity to assist families through the provision of courses and groups focussing on the wellbeing of the parent or primary carer – support that more and more families are seeking due to the current cost-of-living crisis.

Financial hardship, even in the short-term, but in particular persistent and entrenched poverty, has a significant and detrimental impact on children often resulting in poorer life outcomes. If experienced over a sustained period it can often lead to lifelong difficulties and health issues such as diabetes, obesity, mental ill health, substance misuse, alcohol and drug addiction, domestic violence and encounters with the criminal justice system.

Acknowledging the need to build the primary carer’s self-confidence, self-esteem and quality of life, the focus is on working closely with the primary caregiver(s). The aim is to equip parents and carers with new strategies and tools to thrive through personalised one-to-one keyworker support. Together, they identify priorities and needs, set goals and open the doors to a range of other valuable and beneficial services and programmes.

The overarching goal is to break the cycle of disadvantage, providing children with a positive foundation for life and nurturing the potential for a brighter future. This collaborative effort makes a positive difference in the lives of families navigating challenging circumstances.

JCF has previously also awarded Brighter Futures a further £30,000 to support another six families (Greville Bathe Fund); £4,600 to support the charity’s ‘Drawing and Talking’ programme for children experiencing emotional trauma (Kezia’s Fund); £62,300 to support key worker salaries for two years who provide one-to-one support for parents and carers (Jersey Community Fund); and £25,120 towards a hub at First Tower (Jersey Community Fund).

Final thoughts

The support from generous donations via Jersey Community Foundation has made a real difference for these charities, and many more. Whether it's improving children’s health, nurturing musical talents, safeguarding our environment or helping struggling families, each initiative shows how giving back can create positive change.

As we look back on these impactful grants, it's clear that every donation, big or small, contributes to building a stronger community and a more caring future. By embracing kindness, compassion and generosity – qualities sometimes seen as weaknesses in our culture – we can collectively shape meaningful change and a brighter tomorrow for our Island, paving the way for a community that not only survives but thrives.

Find the full list of beneficiaries for 2023 at https://www.jerseycommunityfou...

In 2023, Jersey Community Foundation awarded a total of £2,477,616 to over 110 charitable causes.[HM1]


Weaving a Rich Tapestry of Funds for Essential Causes

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