Milestone for Community Fund

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Ray Mears with members of Cosmos, which was supported by the Community Fund

A milestone £50k has been donated to local groups and good causes over the past three years by the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company’s Community Fund.

The total was revealed this week as the company announced it has more money to give away in 2019, with applications for the next round now open.

This year has seen the Community Fund’s single biggest donation yet – £5k to the Cornish Pilot Gig Association towards its project Pulling Together the Past, which aims to preserve irreplaceable historical data on the sport.

Now the Community Fund is inviting applications for further grants, with a potential top gift of £10k.

Sam Hicks, chairman of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group’s Community Fund, said: “I hope those organisations that have received funding have found it helped them sustain and grow the good work they were already doing.

“It is most heartening to read the applications from so many worthy causes, often run by enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers for the good of our communities.

“Reaching this level of funding is very pleasing, but more importantly, the intention of the Steamship Company to sustain this fund represents a positive outlook for future projects. Please feel welcome to apply for any you may be involved in.”

In 2018 alone, the fund donated in excess of £23k to 12 different projects. It was praised as “a force for good” by TV presenter and bushcraft expert Ray Mears, after he visited several island beneficiaries earlier in the year.

Mears, Patron of the Steamship Group for 2018, said: “Even small sums can transform lives, especially on an island community like Scilly. I have seen first-hand what these grants can mean to small, rural groups, many of which often struggle for funding and support. I can’t praise the Community Fund highly enough, it’s a fantastic scheme giving back to the islands.”

Full details, eligibility criteria and application forms are now available from the Steamship Group’s website. All projects are judged by members of an independent panel.