Stone Town Council is giving out grants totalling almost £2,000 to local organisations – but declined a request from a Staffordshire hospice for £200.
Twice a year, the council gives out grants of up to £500 to charities and organisations that have requested financial support.
The latest round of funding was decided at a recent general purposes committee meeting – but not all applications were successful.
Douglas Macmillan Hospice’s bid for £200, towards proving specialist nursing care to patients at home or in the inpatient unit, was turned down.
Councillor Jill Hood said: “As much as I support the Douglas Macmillan Hospice, this is an enormous organisation supported throughout the UK. I think, without sounding churlish, that our funding is for Stone-based organisations.
“I know that this organisation does help people in Stone. I have had personal dealings with the Dougie Mac and what a wonderful job it does.
“But I think it’s outside of our realm – they are helped throughout the UK.”
Councillor Jim Davies said: “Every year, we get a very similar-looking application from the Dougie Mac for funding and it has been our custom and practice for the reasons that Councillor Hood has outlined to decline to support them. We should be spending the town’s money on things that are specifically for the town and that’s the way we always have in the past.”
Stone Lions Club, Kibblestone District Scout Council and 2352 (Stone) Squadron Air Training Corps will each receive £500.A £220 grant will go to granted to Stone Radio to support a gap in its finances caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and inability to carry out normal fundraising activities.
And Stafford Samaritans will receive £200 towards covering the costs of recruiting, training and retaining new volunteers.
Mr Davies said: “Samaritans is not based in Stone – in a sense we are being asked to support a charity which is outside the town. But under the current circumstances of Covid-19, and the current amount of ill mental health and suicidal thoughts, this is quite a modest application.
“I have every admiration for what Samaritans do and I believe this is to expand the number of people they have, which will help coverage which includes Stone.”
Councillor Ian Fordham said: “I know they do work with people in Stone and I think it’s commendable. I feel it’s something we should be supporting.”
Councillor Mark Green said: “The Samaritans, I’m led to believe, come to Stone once a week to have a surgery. I think they’re doing a fantastic job and we should wholeheartedly support their organisation.”
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Councillor Jonathan Powell said: “The mental health issues they have helped with over the last 10 months or so will never be able to be counted because their service is fully secret – they never divulge any information that they help people with. I think they are an overlooked charity as well in the grand scheme of things.”
The 2352 (Stone) Squadron Air Training Corps will put its £500 windfall towards buying air rifles for cadet weapon training. While Kibblestone District Scout Council’s grant will be used to fund the costs of maintaining and running Kibblestone International Scout Camp.
Stone Lions Club’s funding is for prostate screening. The annual event was due to be held at the Stonehouse Hotel on September 29 but, due to the coronavirus pandemic, home testing kits were bought instead and made available at a subsidised rate to men over 40 who applied for them.
Councillor Rob Kenney said: “It is an absolutely essential annual thing that many men throughout Stone have attended.”
Ms Hood added: “I personally know two men who probably had their lives saved by Stone Lions’ efforts and they have done it in a very different way this year.”
The town council’s grant funding budget for 2020/21 is £8,000 – meaning there is more than £6,000 still available for charities and organisations in the next distribution due to take place in February 2021.
The deadline for completed applications is January 15, 2021. For more information visit https://www.stonetowncouncil.gov.uk/grants/.