Phillip Bates stood outside smiling

Neston & District Community Fund backs Close to Home project

The Neston and District Community Fund is backing a vital project to improve the lives of vulnerable older people.

The Fund is giving a grant of £2,100 to support the Neston element of the Close to Home initiative which is run by Ellesmere Port and Neston Association of Voluntary and Community Organisations (EPNAVCO).

Around 20 older people within the Neston area will benefit from the funding of the volunteer befriending programme.

The project is a crucial lifeline for vulnerable older adults – often the volunteer is the only person they see all week.

Volunteers are also trained to identify issues such as failing health, confusion or environmental problems such as their home being too cold or in need of urgent repairs.

The grant provided by the Fund will help to reduce the length of time between a referral being made and a volunteer befriender being matched with the service user.

Phil Bates, Principal at Phillip Bates & Co Chartered Accountants, one of the founders of the Neston and District Community Fund, said: “As soon as we heard about the Close to Home project, we had no hesitation in agreeing to fund the initiative.

“It is a fantastic example of why we decided to launch the Neston and District Community Fund. Hopefully, other similar projects committed to tackling social isolation and deprivation will come forward and tell us about their work and funding requirements.”

Set up in January last year, the Fund supports community and voluntary groups in Neston, Little Neston, Parkgate, Burton, Ness, Willaston and Puddington.

The other three founding partners are Clive Watkin Partnership, Rightway and G Tilby Engineering.

Phil Bates added: “We will consider all community projects but are particularly keen to hear from groups who are tackling some of the biggest issues facing our community including social deprivation, social isolation, drug avoidance and drug rehabilitation.”

David Clarke, Managing Director of Rightway, said: “The Neston & District Community Fund ensures local money goes towards tackling some of the deep-seated social issues in our community.”

The fund is administered by Cheshire Community Foundation, which connects charitable donors, including business owners and private individuals, with the causes that matter in Cheshire and Warrington.

Applicants can apply for funding from the Neston & District Community Fund but, if additional funding is needed, other CCF-managed funds may also be able to assist.

Zoe Sheppard, CEO of Cheshire Community Foundation, said: “This is a terrific example of a charitable fund making a very real difference in their immediate local area. The Close to Home project is an extremely important programme which significantly improves the lives of vulnerable older people.”

  • If you would like to apply for a grant, please visit,uk or call 01606 330607.

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