Jane Claxton was a trustee of Worthing Community Chest for 14 years, she was also Chair for the majority of that time. This year she has stepped down from the board, but she has kindly written a blog the history of the charity.
In the 14 years I have been involved with Worthing Community Partnership I have seen it develop from a vehicle for delivering £850k of single regeneration budget (SRB) 6 programme monies into Worthing, which supported a myriad of projects from the CAB, Guildcare, Worthing Churches and many others into a self sustaining Charity in its own right which distributes monies into Worthing through the Community Chest.
The Partnership originally comprised all of those organisations who received money under the SRB programme. but has since developed into a grass roots organisation whose members consist of supporters of the Charity and those who have received Community Chest grants.
It has always been an integral part of the wider community being a key player in the West Sussex Strategic Partnership, the Local Strategic Partnership (LSP) helping it develop in Waves Ahead and playing a pivotal role in setting up the Sussex Credit Union.
Working in partnership with the NHS at the time, now the Western Sussex Hospital Trust, the Charity used SRB monies to purchase a building in Rowlands Road – Renaissance House – which it lets to Community and voluntary groups at below market rents to enable them to have a town centre presence. It continues to work closely with the Western Sussex Hospital Trust who use the ground floor of the building as a surgery and clinic.
Another key partner is Worthing Borough Council who provide office accommodation for the WCP in return for us donating the rental equivalent monies into the Community Chest. This enables the WCP to have an office as part of the community hub in the Town hall working alongside the CAB and VAWorthing. WBC also provide monies which we match fund for distribution to grass roots organisations through the Community Chest and we are grateful for their continued support and will be working with them to see if we can assist in the delivery of other targeted projects.
In 2014 we said goodbye to Jenni Pilgram, our Community Chest coordinator, who after many years of excellent work decided to move to the Isle of Wight taking our thanks and good wishes with her.
Over the past year, I and other members of the Board have strengthened and restructured the WCC so that we can grow and further develop our unique model for supporting local organisations. We have undergone a Governance review, finalised our re-branding, recruited new Board members, as well as staff to the office (including local volunteers) and are currently in the process of reviewing our Community Chest application process.
I am extremely proud to have been part of delivering over £250k of grants into Worthing. Supporting all manner of diverse organisations from Choirs, to dance troops and event the local scuba club!
After a fascinating, interesting and rewarding 14 years, I too am now leaving the Worthing Community Partnership. I leave it in very safe hands and in extremely good shape to face the challenges of the coming years. I would like to thank all of those who have worked with me in helping put in place, what I believe, is a dynamic and unique mechanism for supporting the grass roots organisations in Worthing in all that they do.