Hundreds of young, elderly and underprivileged islanders in Guernsey and Jersey will benefit this year from funds donated by The Channel Islands Co-operative Society’s Helping Hands initiative. This year’s fund donated more than £17,500 to 15 charities, four schools and nurseries, two residential homes, a church, a communal area and a social welfare provider. Helping Hands was set up to provide financial support to a variety of good causes across the Channel Islands. This year, there were 102 charities and organisations who applied to the scheme.

Jim Plumley, the Society’s Chief Commercial Officer, said it is always difficult to choose who should receive support.

‘We always want to help as many local initiatives as possible being a local community retailer in the Channel Islands. Every year there are so many deserving causes in need of help and we try to understand from each applicant how the money will be used to the maximum benefit of islanders,’ he said.

Among this year’s recipients is The Guernsey Bereavement Service, which received £1,000 to refurbish one of its consultation rooms.

‘We are delighted to have been chosen to receive funding from the Helping Hands fund. The Guernsey Bereavement Service provides emotional support for adults who are struggling to cope with the death of someone who was close to them. It can be difficult for people to make that first step to contact us and come for their first visit; to make this easier we aim to provide a calm, inviting and reassuring atmosphere where they will be comfortable and can concentrate on working with our volunteers,’ said the Service Coordinator, Linda Norman.

‘As well as one-to-one and group support we can provide books and leaflets that may be of help to our clients. The money we received through the fund will enable us to refurbish our counselling rooms, providing new chairs, storage and display facilities.’

In Jersey, Little Miracles received £1,500 to buy Cuskis – specially designed comforters for use in incubators – for their Little Miracle Boxes.

‘We are absolutely thrilled to be a recipient of this very generous donation towards our work. Little Miracles has only been formed for a year and we have been humbled by the support we have received from the local community and businesses,’ said Little Miracles’ Chairperson, Cirsty de Gruchy-Wilson.

‘No parent has in their birth plan for their newborn baby to be admitted to the special care baby unit and it can be a very stressful and traumatic experience. The money we have received from Helping Hands will enable us to continue to practically support these families by providing our Little Miracles boxes when they are most in need.’

Other Jersey Recipients this year include Brighter Futures, which received £500 towards its garden project, The Caesarean Association Residential Home, which was given £520 to buy an Invacare Softform Active cushion system which aids with discomfort in the less-able, and Durrell Wildlife Conservation, which was given £1,000 towards its outreach programme.

In Guernsey, other recipients include Guernsey Fairtrade, which received £2,000 towards the development of its online presence, St Sampson’s Baby and Toddler Group was given £450 towards the improvement of its facilities, and Maison Saint Pierre benefitted from £500 to go towards bedroom décor for its residents.