Social housing provider launches charitable foundation in response to welfare cuts

Written by Matt Ritchie

Social housing provider Stonewater is aiming to help those most affected by welfare cuts with its new independent national charity, the Longleigh Foundation.

Established with an endowment of £500,000, the foundation will focus on projects helping the elderly, young, women in crisis due to domestic abuse, and residents with physical or mental disabilities.

Longleigh’s grant-giving programme covers community projects aimed at health and well-being, isolation and inclusion, employment and training; individual hardship cases; and funding for strategic research.

The foundation has already agreed funding awards for a number of projects. In Southampton, Longleigh is financing a recovery toolkit programme at Stonewater’s Southampton Women’s Refuge, providing residents in crisis with specialist support and coping strategies for breaking the cycle of domestic abuse.

Longleigh is also grant-funding an IT equipment and digital ambassadors scheme to help tackle digital exclusion among older people in its communities, and a project for residents in Stonewater’s supported housing schemes, aimed at promoting healthier lifestyles.

The foundation will also fund individual hardship grants, and small project grants.

Stonewater is encouraging its more than 700 staff to help raise money for the new foundation, and will match fund the total raised up to £15,000.

Government budget and welfare cuts have placed immense pressure on Stonewater’s ability to provide enhanced services and support, the housing association’s chair George Blunden said

“Stonewater can provide a roof and a place to call home but many people need additional help beyond their initial housing needs,” Blunden said. “This is what inspired us to establish the Longleigh Foundation, which can work with our most vulnerable residents, supporting them with opportunities to create better lives.”

The charity was registered in September last year. It has objects for the relief of people in need though poverty, age, chronic sickness or disability, in particular relief through providing housing and associated facilities, amenities or services.

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