LoveBrum, the charity launched earlier this year to unearth hidden gem projects in the city, has completed its first round of member voting and has awarded three causes a total of nearly £10,000. Homelands Festival, Ups and Downs, and Serve Our Brummies have been chosen by LoveBrum members, after the first online voting process for the charity.

The Homelands Festival aims to put on an event at Sanctuary’s Homelands retirement living scheme in Birmingham, bringing together residents with children from the Perry Beeches Academy, and other groups across Birmingham. The project has been awarded £1,000 to hire the event marquee and provide food and drink for the 150 guests attending. There will also be a selection of games, including traditional lawn games, that will be supported by the LoveBrum funding. Over the last few years students from Perry Beeches have attended Homelands to interact, eat with, build for and camp with the residents. Homelands Festival is the next step in promoting the value of inter-generational activities and the importance of combatting social isolation.

Ups and Downs is a support group for children with Downs Syndrome and their families; meeting regularly to help and support each other, as well as make new friends. The charity has been awarded just under £5,000 from LoveBrum, to help fulfill the needs of its rapidly growing membership. Speech and language is an area of development that often has significant delay in children with Downs Syndrome, and most children use Makaton as a way of communicating alongside speech. Some of the money from LoveBrum will go towards training a trustee to complete the Makaton tutor course so they can deliver training to parents at the earliest opportunity. Makaton resources can be expensive, so the money will also help the charity purchase books and DVDs to build up a resource library from which parents can borrow items. This will come in addition to paying a Speech and Language Therapist to provide Up and Downs with small group sessions to ensure the children are receiving some regular Speech Therapy.

The final project selected by LoveBrum members is Serve Our Brummies, which was set up to feed homeless people and those who have fallen on hard times in the city centre. It is run by volunteers who are on hand to give support and advice, as well as provide a sandwich, some soup, and a hot drink. It is part of a registered charity, which was created to provide the homeless with food and clothing, and the money awarded by LoveBrum will help to fund the ongoing services for 12 months.

“We had a phenomenal number of projects put forward for our first round of funding; all of which were very deserving. It was a difficult task but eight were put forward to our members to vote, and over the course of one month we saw the votes come in thick and fast,” said PJ Ellis, CEO of LoveBrum.

“After all of the planning and promotion that has gone into launching LoveBrum, I’m delighted that we’re finally at the stage of giving money to people who are doing amazing things for our city. In the charity’s first 12 months, we’ll promote 40 causes and raise a minimum of £120,000 to fund 12 projects. Even the projects that were unsuccessful this time round will be supported; the LoveBrum Academy providing advice and support to help them flourish and grow, which is what it’s all about,” he added.

LoveBrum is funded solely by its members and events; all individual memberships go into the funding pot to help projects like Homelands Festival, Ups and Downs, and Serve Our Brummies. Membership costs just £20 and gives you the chance to vote in each funding round. The charity boasts lean running costs but also relies on corporate support to help with every day overheads, so that every penny from fundraising goes directly to the causes. LoveBrum recently announced that Prologis, H-J Wealth Planning and FleetMilne had all signed up as corporate members, with an additional eight companies signing up as service patrons.

 “We still need more people to support LoveBrum; whether that be signing up as Patrons, Corporate Members or Individual Members. Whatever help you can give will help us raise more money for our causes. LoveBrum only supports local projects that deliver real change and together, we can really make a difference, and the best thing is that it’s our members who make the decisions so I would encourage everyone to get involved. Reading about our three winning projects gives you an idea of just how vital LoveBrum’s funding is,” Tim Andrews, LoveBrum chairman added.

To find out more about the charity and the three winning projects, visit www.lovebrum.org.uk.

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