It takes channelling children’s eco-ambitions

The Final Straw Foundation helps educate and inspire our next generation of climate champions through their network of Youth Eco Clubs.

These hugely popular clubs run fun and innovative activities to make children aware of the issues facing our planet, and ways that we can combat them. From planting and pollinators to upcycling and composting, the children learn many different ways we can all help our environment and wildlife.

Director of Operations Lizzie Pollard says, We wanted to engage the younger generation to really think about the environment in their day-to-day lives, and give them ideas of what they could do on a personal level to help tackle the climate crisis.”

With a focus on education, the clubs also encourage kids to think of their own ideas to help their local environment – like what they can plant in their gardens and what changes they can make at home to help combat climate change.

“The things we do are not sit-down, paperwork activities – they’re real get-your-hands-dirty, get-in-there stuff,” explains the charity’s CEO and Founder, Bianca Carr. “The kids are really keen and they’ve been carrying on lots of the work at home.”

And it’s clear the message is hitting home, as nine-year-old Billy – an enthusiastic Eco Club participant – confirms: “We can’t just stand and watch what’s happening to our environment. We need to try and help our animals – and Eco Club has inspired me to do that.”

With the help of Aviva funding, The Final Straw Foundation can help educate and inspire even more children from all walks of life. Together, we can make a brighter future happen. Getting there takes you. It takes Aviva.

Is your project creating change? Need support to make it happen?  Apply for the Aviva Community Fund today. 

You can follow The Final Straw Foundation to learn about their work on Facebook – or take a look at their website.

It takes fighting the rising tide of ocean plastic

[email protected] raised £5,000 to develop machines that will recycle ocean plastic picked up from local beaches and give it a second life.

Their Plastic Lab is developing machinery prototypes to make fence posts from waste plastic with the help of the Aviva Community Fund.

[email protected] cofounder Dr Joan D’Arcy says, “It’s important to give ocean plastic a second life because if we don’t recycle it, it ends up in landfill. We’re keeping what other people have thought of as waste and basically putting it back into circulation. When we recycle ocean plastic into a clock or a fence post, it’s something that’s going to be around for many, many more years.

As co-founder Julien Moreau explained, the intention of the project is to create value from waste. The organisation picks up between five and 10 tons of plastic waste from local beaches each year – and could pick up even more with additional helpers. Instead of just sending the waste plastic to landfill, for every fence post they make, the Plastic Lab could recycle around 16kg of ocean plastic. 

On top of reducing plastic pollution, products made from recycled plastic generally create up to 82% less carbon emissions than those made with virgin plastic. And [email protected] has a good market for the fence posts on their doorstep due to the farming community they are part of – keeping the carbon footprint even lower.

Importantly, by clearing plastic from local beaches, the team are also helping to prevent danger and death to wildlife and are playing a part in helping to prevent tiny plastic particles entering the food chain. So, with the help of Aviva’s funding, [email protected] can achieve more of their environmental aims. Together, we can make a brighter future happen. Getting there takes you. It takes Aviva.

Have you got a smart thinking project that needs support?  Apply for the Aviva Community Fund today. 

You can follow [email protected] to learn about their work on Facebook or take a look at their website.

It takes fighting ecological collapse, one bee at a time

Pollenize raised over £8,000 to fund an artificial intelligence beehive project that has the potential to save Britain’s native bees.

These Artificial Intelligence (AI) beehives are the beginning of a pioneering research and conservation plan to understand how factors like weather and climate impact bee behaviour and populations. 

Pollenize co-founder, Matthew Elmes says: “The waggle dance is how one bee communicates to another bee where the best flowers are. It’s a bit like a bee GPS system. We’re working on decoding this dance to work out where the bees are going in real time.”

By kitting out beehives with cameras, accelerometers and other sensors that feed into a machine-learning computer, Pollenize will build up a picture of how bees respond to changes to their environmental conditions. Alongside genetic analysis of the pollen collected, this will help Pollenize better understand the foraging behaviour of our native honey bees  and inform climate-resilient planting. This strategy will protect and boost populations of bees and other wild pollinators for years to come.

Of particular focus for Pollenize is encouraging the UK’s native dark honey bees – a population that has seen steep decline over the course of the 20th century. “Traditionally, beekeepers have imported bees from around Europe and this has caused hybridisation amongst populations,” says Matthew. “The native honey bee is adapted to this local climate, therefore it’s the best one to use.”

With the help of Aviva funding, Pollenize will be able to equip two of their reserves with the AI technology and further boost the numbers of Britain’s humble bee.

With the help of Aviva funding, Pollenize will be able to equip two of their reserves with the AI technology and further boost the numbers of Britain’s humble bee. Together, we can make a brighter future happen. Getting there takes you. It takes Aviva.

Would your project benefit from funding or support with how to generate a local buzz? Apply for the Aviva Community Fund today. Follow Pollenize Cornwall to learn about their work on FacebookTwitterInstagram.

Ensuring blind children aren’t left out of the picture

The Aviva Community Fund helped Living Paintings raise £10,000 for their innovative project for a brighter future.

Living Paintings creates Touch to See books, which use raised images and immersive audio recordings to help blind and partially sighted people understand the world around them. Through their free postal library service, these unique books reach 15,500 people across the UK – including 8,000 children.

In their aim to help more people access their groundbreaking work, the charity recognised the potential for virtual reality to change the way blind and partially sighted people experience the visual world. With the right resources, they could develop VR technology in never-before-seen ways, taking the Touch to See experience into the future. But it would take funding and technical expertise to make it happen.

Living Paintings applied to the Aviva Community Fund – and raised £10,000.

30 years ago, we completely broke new ground in making it possible for blind and partially sighted people to see pictures,” explains Camilla Oldland, CEO at Living Paintings, “and now this project is looking at how we can take the next step. I believe that the use of virtual reality could really revolutionise the way that images can be made accessible to all blind and partially sighted people.”

With the funding secured, the charity is now working with Sky Arts and Factory42 to explore the possibilities of virtual reality sensory gloves.

The Aviva Community Fund has made it possible for us now to take this step into a whole new world, so it’s really exciting and we couldn’t do it without them,” Camilla says.

This ambitious project could help blind and partially sighted children and adults become more included in our visual world – an incredible vision for the future.

Do you need funding or support to see your project become a success? Apply for the Aviva Community Fund today.

Follow Living Paintings to learn about their work on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Making kids’ first aid their first priority

Millie’s Trust raised over £10,000 through the Aviva Community Fund to provide mental health first aid training to people who work with children.

Based in Cheadle Hulme, Millie’s Trust is a charity with a special purpose.

Our daughter Millie passed away when she choked in her nursery,” says Joanne Thompson, CEO of Millie’s Trust. “We decided that we wanted to do something in her memory and the only thing we could think about was that she needed first aid that day.”

Joanne and her husband Dan founded Millie’s Trust to provide paediatric first aid training to parents and people who work with children. The charity then expanded its scope to include first aid in the workplace, and recently, they’ve moved into another area: mental health.

Following the death of my daughter, I suffered a lot with mental health problems. Having those problems and getting through them made me want to help other people as well,” Joanne says.

Millie’s Trust decided to offer youth mental health first aid courses, which are designed to give people who work with children the knowledge to spot the signs of mental health problems. It can make all the difference to children who are suffering in silence, meaning they get the help they need at an early stage.

But the charity knew it would be difficult for many people to raise the money to attend. They wanted to subsidise as many places as possible – so they applied to the Aviva Community Fund.

Through Crowdfunder, Millie’s Trust hit their £10,000 target. It’s enough money to train 140 people in youth mental health first aid. That’s 140 more teachers, youth workers, and healthcare workers who can help children with mental health problems – and potentially hundreds of children’s lives changed for the better.

Can we aid your project with funding or support? Apply for the Aviva Community Fund today.

Follow Millie’s Trust to learn about their work on FacebookTwitterInstagram.

Creating a recipe for turning lives around

Through the Aviva Community Fund, The Feed raised over £10,000 to provide therapy for the people in Norwich who need it the most.

The Feed isn’t just a café – it’s a social enterprise. All of its profits go towards training and support for people facing barriers to employment. Based entirely in their café and catering business, The Feed’s four-week training course provides key skills for working in the hospitality industry, as well as a sense of achievement.

Four weeks doesn’t seem like a long time, but we see a lot of changes in the people that come through our training,” says the Feed’s General Manager Lucy Parish. “Somebody might come in on day one frightened, anxious, and unsure – but by being somewhere that’s welcoming and supportive, we see them become such a different person.”

After the course, trainees receive a further four weeks of work experience, helping them take their next steps towards work and volunteering opportunities.

If I apply for a catering job now, I’ve got this on the record and it will help me on my CV,” says one of The Feed’s graduates.

Many trainees have experienced homelessness, substance misuse, and mental health problems – complex issues that can have a significant impact on their self-esteem. The Feed realised that to reach their goal of long-term employment, these people would need therapy as well as training.

The Feed applied to the Aviva Community Fund to raise the money for a specialist Trauma Therapist and raised over £10,000.

It’s really exciting that we’ve been awarded this money, because we can now pay for the therapy that’s needed for quite a large percentage of our clients, so that they can move forward in their lives,” says Lucy.

The money from the Aviva Community Fund will cover therapeutic support for the next twelve months. It means The Feed can help more people overcome their challenges and move towards a more positive future – a real recipe for success.

Is your project hungry for funding or support? Apply for the Aviva Community Fund today.

Follow The Feed to learn about their work on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Making opportunities accessible to all

Topcats raised over £11,000 towards the cost of a minibus to help young people with complex needs access more opportunities.

Topcats runs activity programmes for children and young people with complex needs in Lowestoft. It’s a deprived area, where specialist support and equipment are not always accessible – meaning these young people can often miss out on opportunities available to their peers.

By providing access to fun, fulfilling and accessible opportunities, Topcats aims to help young people develop their confidence and independence. The specially developed ‘Topcats diploma’ helps young people build the skills they need to live independently, such as cooking and first aid.

But the charity didn’t have the use of accessible transport. Staff had to use their cars to take young people to activities, which incurred significant costs in insurance and mileage. What’s more, some young people with mobility needs could not get to Topcats at all. The charity needed an adapted minibus.

In need of funding, Topcats applied to the Aviva Community Fund – and raised over £11,000.

The difference that this funding is going to make is that we can purchase our own bus,” says Topcats’ Service Manager Anne Marie Battrick. “It’s going to widen the opportunities for the young people that attend our service and enable them to access more facilities.”

With a bus that everyone can access, Topcats’ young people can go further than ever before. It’ll mean more opportunities to learn and develop, from accessing work experience to attending field trips.

Does your project need funding or support to go the distance? Apply for the Aviva Community Fund today.

Follow Topcats to learn about their work on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Rising to the challenges of flood rescue

Thanks to the Aviva Community Fund, York Rescue Boat raised over £10,000 to buy essential equipment and expand their team.

York Rescue Boat is an independent lifeboat team based in the city of York. They’re on call 24/7 to assist local emergency services with search and rescue operations and can also be deployed nationally to flood-hit communities.

As a flood rescue team, we attend a number of different sorts of incidents,” explains Matthew, one of the water incident managers. “This could be rescuing people from houses or vehicles, as well as humanitarian relief, such as taking food, water, medication.”

The team are also trained to carry out animal rescue and help emergency workers such as nurses reach patients in flooded areas. They were heavily involved in the relief effort during the 2015 flooding of Cumbria and York, which saw over 250 people evacuated from their homes in central York.

Since I joined the Rescue Boat team, we’ve saved 23 lives,” says Matthew.

It’s vital work – and York Rescue Boat knew they needed to bring more people on board to help them do it. But they couldn’t expand their team without first purchasing the personal protective equipment to kit them with, such as boots, dry suits, helmets and lifejackets. This would be a significant cost, with around £1,500 needed to equip and train each new flood responder.

The charity is run entirely by volunteers and relies on donations from members of the public for most of its funding. So, they turned to the Aviva Community Fund to raise the money they needed.

We raised over £10,000 with the Aviva Community Fund,” says Matthew. “We’ve currently got eight persons on our flood team, and we’re hoping to increase this by another ten with the funding from Aviva.”

With more people trained and equipped, York and the surrounding area will be more resilient to flooding in the future. It’ll mean York Rescue Boat can better support their local community in a crisis – and maybe even save more lives.

Could funding or support help your project make waves? Apply for the Aviva Community Fund today.

Follow York Rescue Boat to learn about their work on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Helping the homeless build their own future

Through the Aviva Community Fund, Help Bristol’s Homeless raised over £11,500 for their innovative approach to getting rough sleepers off the streets.

The priority of Help Bristol’s Homeless is getting people off the streets and into safe, stable accommodation. They do this by taking shipping containers and transforming them into fully self-contained, insulated and heated micro flats.

It’s a process the residents are encouraged to get involved with themselves, so they come away with not just a home, but a sense of pride and accomplishment, alongside some valuable work experience and new skills.

As one resident attests, “It’s a confidence builder. I’ve ended up on the streets a few times throughout my life now, but now, at the age of 52, life on the streets is extremely hard. It’s a lifesaver, and I can see a future, where six weeks ago I didn’t have a future.”

To date, the project has completed 15 micro flats, which are arranged together with walkways and steps to create a community setting. They’ve also converted a bus as an emergency shelter and transformed other shipping containers to provide a shower block, laundry, kitchen, canteen and an office. 

The money raised through the Aviva Community Fund will go towards the creation of a 16th micro flat to continue their amazing work of helping the homeless build their own future.

Says trustee Zoradi Tucker, “One case that really struck home with me was a young lad, only 18, and he’d found himself booted out of his family home. He just needed somewhere to go, somewhere to get his mind together. He just needed a safe space, and we were able to provide him with that.”

Could funding or support help your project build something great? Apply for the Aviva Community Fund today.

Follow Help Bristol’s Homeless to learn about their work on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

What types of insurance should I consider for my charity?

Let’s make this simple! Here are the various insurances you might need as a charity and why…

Running a charity or voluntary organisation takes a very special set of skills, devotion, passion and a lot of heart. Charities, especially in their infancy stages, are often working with tight budgets and valuable but limited resources. It’s for these reasons you need to think about insurance for your organisation – though you may assume no one would see the appeal in targeting your organisation for financial gain, Charities and other not for profit organisations are the subject of legal action more commonly than you would expect.

Insurance for your charity or voluntary group is a key tool in protecting your organisation, your events, your reputation and your people.  In many respects your insurance requirements may be similar to other types of organisations although you will also need to balance your potential risk exposures against the costs of certain covers and limits.

However, we understand that with so many options, choosing the correct insurances can be tricky – so we have created a simple Q&A to help and guide you through some of the common insurance covers available and help you understand what insurance is right for your charity or voluntary organisation.

Do you interact with the public?

If your organisation comes into contact with third parties such as the public, other organisations and/or volunteers, then you should consider Public Liability cover. This type of insurance covers you against claims for any accidental injuries or any damage that is caused to third parties or their property which are due to your negligence.

For example, if an attendee at one of your events injures themselves or a venue is damaged as a result of carelessness or negligence by your organisation, Public Liability would cover the legal costs to defend claims made against your organisation, and any damages which may be awarded against you.

Specialist charity insurance policies should provide cover for a broad range of practical care, support and promotional activities but always check that you have provided insurers with enough information about what you do.

Do you have a board of trustees, committee members or directors?

The trustees, committee members and/or directors of your charitable organisation are often the decision makers and if a mistake is made, they could be held personally responsible for financial loss or reputational damage to your organisation. You should ensure Trustee’s liability insurance protects your organisation as well as individual trustees from the costs of legal disputes and investigations.

Do you have employees or volunteers?

If you employ an individual to work for your organisation, whether they are temporary, part time and/or full-time, it is your responsibility to protect them. This also extends to anyone volunteering on behalf of your charity or voluntary organisation. If you have any paid employees, it’s also a legal requirement for you to provide Employers Liability with heavy fines for organisations which fail to do so.

Employers’ liability cover will protect employers from claims arising from employees alleging that they have suffered injury or disease, (or potentially claims from dependents if the accident has resulted in a fatality) as a result of your negligence whilst carrying out their duties. If you’ve taken out Employers’ Liability insurance for staff, it’s likely that anyone who volunteers for you will be covered under this policy, although you should double check with your insurer/broker.

Do you give advice?

When a charity provides a professional service, they could be held legally liable for any financial loss, injury or damage that occurs if the charity is alleged to provide inadequate advice or a quality of service which falls below standard. Professional Indemnity insurance, often referred to as PI insurance, can cover any legal costs and expenses incurred in your defence against claims, as well as any damages or costs incurred as a result of following the advice or service.

Also bear in mind that if you are engaged in certain regulated activities such as legal or financial advice then more specialist cover may be necessary.

Do you own buildings or other property?

Trustees of charities are expected to safeguard the organisation’s assets and in the event of a fire, flood, or other physical damage, the organisation may need to rely on an insurance policy to cover the cost to rebuild, repair or replace damaged property.

Where your organisation is reliant on the property for your trading activities, you may also want to consider Business Interruption which will replace any lost income or additional costs whilst repairs or rebuilding is underway

Are such covers available under one policy?

The answer is yes. Ideally, you should ask your insurance broker about specialist combined policies which will not only provide cost-effective cover for a broad range of activities but also ease your own administration by covering as much as possible with one schedule and a single renewal date.

Where can I go for more information?

This article has been kindly contributed by Aviva’s charity insurance brokers BHIB Insurance, Allied Westminster, and charity specialist MGA, aQmen Underwriting

Are you looking for specialist insurance or need advice on your charity’s requirements? Our Aviva products are available via insurance brokers across the UK. If you already have an insurance broker, please contact them for guidance and to get a quote.

If you need to find a broker, this look up tool from the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) will help you locate one local to you.

Alternatively, we work with three brokers who specialise in charity insurance products. Please feel free to contact them directly to receive their expert advice.