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Bentley Helps Crewe to Come Back Stronger

Local charities who received support from Bentley through Cheshire Community Foundation’s Covid Impact Fund earlier this year, worked to support the community in Crewe in the run up to Christmas.

The essential funding made available earlier in 2021 has helped to enhance local charities’ support on food poverty, mental health and debt advice during the Covid 19 Pandemic.

Beyond 100 community funding has a meaningful impact, and advances local life chances – and injects further boost into the Crewe Fund.

Having listened to the needs of their local community, Bentley Motors has now seen first-hand how their Covid Impact Fund has helped to support vital services provided by local organisations and ensure the delivery of real impact to people in need across the Crewe community. The donations were granted to 11 organisations with a combined anticipated reach of over 5000 people who will directly benefit from the fund.

In May 2021 a number of the one-off grants ranging from £7,800-£25,000 were awarded to projects tackling food poverty; mental health and wellbeing; debt relief and financial education, recognising that these issues will have been immensely heightened due to the Covid Pandemic. Successful applicants include Body Positive, Chance Changing Lives and St. Pauls Centre.

Chance Changing Lives provide a holistic range of services, including a community pantry. The service supports over 150 local families and distributes around 1,700 items in a week in addition to their fresh goods deliveries. Members contribute £3 a week and in exchange receive up to £20 of food, toiletries and household products.

Having seen a decline in donations during the pandemic, the funding from the Covid Impact Fund has allowed them to not only keep their doors open, but ensure that a diverse range of stock remains available, despite the number of referrals rising by 43% in the last 3-4 months.

St. Pauls Centre offer a food bank, café on the corner and other essential community services. The Covid Impact Fund grant has made a particular difference to support the delivery of 200 food parcels to people affected by homelessness this Christmas.

Having forged an even closer working relationship through the pandemic, Chance Changing Lives and St. Pauls have pioneered a joint initiative to drive down poverty together. A home delivery service is now offered for people who find it hard to access services in person, with St. Pauls picking up the food from the Chance Changing Lives Pantry and delivering to house bound or isolating members alongside their own delivery services.

St. Pauls equally refer back into Chance’s services from their food bank to provide a longer-term solution to food poverty at their local Community Pantry.

Richard Holmes, CEO of St. Pauls Centre explains “Bentley Motors has reacted to the needs of the community from the ground up. The integration of these services has created an essential loop so that no one falls into food crisis”.

Sally Hepton, Director of Government Relations and CSR explains:

“This funding is a fundamental part of Bentley’s Beyond100 Strategy, which sees us increasing our focus on social impact and advancing life chances in our local area. People and community are integral to our long-term success and we want to ensure the business works to better the lives of the communities we operate in. We are delighted to hear that the Covid Impact Fund we established with our long-term partners CCF is helping to accelerate meaningful change and enhance the vital services necessary to protect the vulnerable”

“There continues to be a wide range of support needs in Crewe. Following the work that we did in partnership with CCF in establishing the Covid Impact Fund, they established a group fund for the town. We are pleased to be part of the new “Crewe Fund”, which extended further support in a recent round of funding, to seven more community projects helping to develop sustainable and self-reliant communities by focusing on health and wellbeing; education and employment and improved neighbourhoods”

Another project supported by the Covid Impact Fund, which reflects good collaboration between local partners is Body Positive, who offer high-quality, innovative services for sexual health and LGBT+ Communities. The funding they have received from the Covid Impact Fund has allowed them to upskill and train volunteer counsellors to enhance support and extend their reach of people in need, especially those struggling with isolation as a result of the pandemic. Support is being further extended with help from local volunteers, including new recruits from Bentley’s Be-Proud colleague network.