Welcome to our series, ‘Meet the charity’, where we meet charities from the Channel Islands. We find out what they are doing, how they are helping others and how we can help them succeed.
Today, we meet the Sarah Groves Foundation.
Our mission statement is ‘Enhancing young lives’
The Sarah Groves Foundation was established in 2013 in memory of Sarah Groves, who was brutally murdered while travelling in Kashmir earlier that year. As a not-for-profit charitable trust, we aim to fulfil her ambition of helping young people. Our mission statement is ‘enhancing young lives’.
We mainly provide support to young people throughout the Bailiwick of Guernsey and, on occasions, in other places such as Tanzania, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, supporting some of the most vulnerable children in those countries. By doing this, we remain committed to keeping Sarah’s memory alive, and she remains at the heart of everything we do.
What are your key areas of focus?
The Foundation has developed four key focus areas that featured heavily in Sarah’s life: children, art, fitness, and adventure.
The four key focus areas featured heavily in Sarah’s life: children, art, fitness, and adventure
Sarah was an excellent artist and attended the Chelsea College of Art. Consequently, art and the arts figure strongly in our distribution of funds.Sarah loved children and she would have been a wonderful ‘mum’, hence the inclusion of children as a keyword that underlines everything we do.
Sarah was a qualified fitness instructor, hence including fitness and adventure. These two keywords have played a very active part in our fundraising activities and our distribution of funds. On the fundraising side, we have taken large groups of cyclists from Guernsey to Paris, Bilbao and Amsterdam, and 26 of Sarah’s nearest and dearest climbed Mt Kilimanjaro in 2014, retracing her exact footsteps two years earlier.
Our focus is and always will be young people, and we insist that everything we do must be ‘open to all’ and not restricted in any way.
How do you make people’s lives better?
The projects we have been and remain involved with have had a positive and uplifting effect on the young people involved.
- Since 2015 we have fully funded three ‘parent and toddler’ drop-in centres run by Home-Start Guernsey. Each year more than 300 families benefit from these centres.
- Every year at Christmas, we donate children’s bikes to less fortunate families via agencies such as Social Services, Home-Start, Help a Guernsey Child, and Safer. For Christmas 2021, we donated a record 39 bikes.
- In 2019 we were the primary sponsor for the redevelopment of the Guille-Allès Children’s Library. As a result, children’s book loans increased by a third in the first year after its redevelopment. The main room was named ‘The Sarah Groves Room’, a testament to Sarah’s lifelong love for art and children.
- In 2020 we were also the major sponsor for the refurbishment of the Story Tower at the Guille-Allès Library. In the pre and post-Christmas period in 2020, more than 3,000 children attended the Story Tower.
- In 2021 we were the primary sponsor for the first and only children’s playground in Sark.
- At the end of 2021, the Trustees agreed to work with Art for Guernsey as the main sponsor for the development of a significant new arts centre in St Peter Port, scheduled to open in 2022. It is designed to make art ‘available to all’ with a section devoted to young people, including a room named after Sarah in which her portrait, painted by one of her best friends from school, will be hung.
- We strongly embrace outdoor pursuits such as the biennial Magical Days in the Park, where almost 2,000 primary schoolchildren spend half a day learning about a host of outdoor activities. The next one will be held, Covid-permitting, in July 2022.
- We support the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in conjunction with Le Murier School. Sarah was herself the holder of the Gold Award under the programme.
- Every year we provide funds for children’s entertainment and activities in the St Peter Port Carnival.
Our four key focus areas, shown above, mean that we have truly enhanced many young lives.
How has the charity supported young islanders?
We have worked hard since the Sarah Groves Foundation was established to financially support many good causes, the majority of which are described above. However, these are great examples of how we have helped young islanders:
- By the end of 2022 we will have invested more than £140,000 in the three ‘parent and toddler’ drop-in centres in conjunction with Home-Start Guernsey.
- We donated £50,000 to the Trustees of the Guille-Allès Library to redevelop its Children’s Library. We made a further donation of approximately £20,000 to refurbish the Story Tower.
- On average, we provide approximately £7,500 each year to purchase children’s bikes at Christmas.
- In 2022 we will contribute £50,000 to the new Art Centre with a minimum onward commitment of £5,000 per annum for three years towards running costs.
These campaigns are just a taste of what the Foundation has achieved.
We’re very proud to continue Sarah’s legacy by supporting a diverse range of good causes, with more inspiring projects due to be announced this year.
How has Covid-19 affected your charity?
The pandemic has made life more difficult for everyone, and we are aware of the impact that lockdowns and isolation may have had on the wellbeing of the Bailiwick’s children.
We were very sad to have to withdraw our support for the fourth scheduled charity bike ride to Rome due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic. It is disappointing to lose what in the past has proved to be a major fundraising initiative, but we remain well-funded and able to continue our work.
We have a number of potential projects lined up that we would like to be associated with, so for the immediate future, our emphasis is on raising additional funds from new and creative sources. We remain confident in our ability to do this because of the generous level of support we have always enjoyed from the public, who identify with our tragic background and our future aims and ambitions.
Do you receive funding from the States of Guernsey?
How can people help your charity?
The Foundation raises money from official and unofficial fundraising events, personal and corporate donations, and sponsorships. If you would like to support us and have an idea for a fundraiser, please visit our website and fill out the form (click here).
We thrive on the ideas and ingenuity of our local community, and your idea could be a personal initiative, a small-scale group activity, or a major fundraising campaign. So if you want to help children around the Bailiwick and beyond and have a creative, adventurous idea, please get in touch.
How to contact the Sarah Groves Foundation:
Are you a Channel Islands charity who would like to be featured in Channel Eye? If so, please drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org