Earlier this month we had bittersweet news hit our inbox; the Kent Community Foundation made an award of £5000 from the Lawson Endowment Fund for Kent after we had applied to the foundation's Children, Young People and Families Theme for funding Stem Hub.
The Foundation also awarded an additional £1000 from the Cost of Living Uplift Fund recognising the stress that rising costs are having on the charity and others like us. This double-whammy of amazing news helped kick off our long-anticipated mentoring programme for young people in Kent & Medway who remain adversely affected by the years of lockdown and disruption to their education and social development. We are so grateful to the Kent Community Foundation for continuing to see worth in what we do and for supporting us and more importantly the beneficiaries of this specific project. And before we have officially opened the virtual doors, we have three young people in the initial assessment phase. If everything goes to plan, we will begin the one of many mentoring sessions throughout the course of the year, This is such an exciting time for the charity and we can't wait to work with these young people.
Where does the 'bittersweet' fit in? Well not long after this good news we also heard from the National Lottery Community Fund. The £10k we had applied for had been turned down. The new computer for our studio which would have been utilised not just by us but also the young people referred to Stem Hub was deemed "not good use of public money". The acknowledgement from education professionals we surveyed that such a cohort of young people affected by Covid's disruption to their learning and social development is a very real issue and a one-to-one intervention like ours could make a big difference was deemed not to be sufficient evidence to warrant a grant. It baffles us to this day. We are hugely disappointed by the comments and how evidence was deemed to have no value. We've parked this under 'learning and moving on'!
With such a big gap in our project's budget, it was decided we would keep calm and just carry on, something we have always done and will continue to do. SWC private donors and company partners are helping us deal with some of the budget shortfall, but it's still going to be tight for us, so expect some banging of the drum and hopefully a few more donors helping us along the way.