The money comes from VINCI, an international organisation that builds, equips and manages facilities such as factories, offices, schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, airports, telecommunications and energy networks. It is founded on the principle that sustainable economic success is linked to an ambitious social commitment.
The VINCI UK Foundation is one of 13 foundations and endowment funds across Europe that form the VINCI network. The umbrella organisation made €10m available in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, €400K of which was allocated to projects in the UK.
In April 2020, VINCI UK urged charities to get in touch to apply for funding to:
- Help medical staff with transport, accommodation and food
- Help schools continue to educate through equipment and learning materials
- Provide community welfare, such as shelter, food, cleaning and caring
In Sandwell, VINCI worked with Sandwell Council to identify local projects that would have the most impact, allocating a total of £5,000.
Dorothy Parkes Community Centre, based on Church Road in Smethwick, received nearly £3,000 to pay for workers to maintain its community allotment and classroom, where local people come to develop their skills and employability.
Another Smethwick organisation to benefit from the fund was St Albans Community Association on St Albans Road. It received £2,000 which will cover key worker salaries and enable the association to provide 200 meals a week to those in need of support.
Deputy Leader of Sandwell Council, Councillor Wasim Ali, said: "It's wonderful that these two very deserving organisations are able to benefit from the VINCI funding and continue to support our local community in meaningful ways at this difficult time."