Grants – 2023

Wheelwrights’ Charity – Overview of Activity

 The Wheelwrights’ Charity raised £80,000 during 2023, of which about £60,400 came from donations and legacies, while the remaining £19,600 came from investment income. The donations provided by Liverymen of £43,450 and £17,000 from organisations in the motor and tyre industry are critical to the Charity achieving its objectives. Since 2016 the Charity has partnered with the National Tyre Distributors Association (“NTDA”) which this year generously donated £9,500, with £7,500 being given by other corporate partners.  The Company is most grateful to all of you for your ongoing support of our charitable works, particularly during these financially challenging times.

Total expenditure was £101,600 of which £13,600 relates to investment management cost and Governance and Support costs, with expenditure on  charitable activity totalling £88,000.  The causes supported are set out below.

The 2020 Appeal fund was closed for donations in 2023 and the remaining balance of £19,700 was mostly used to fund the 2023 WheelPower Inter Spinal Unit Games (£15,000).  A further grant of £3,500 was made to Coventry Rugby Community Foundation (CRCF) for a sports wheelchair as part of their wheelchair rugby project which will engage around 100 physically disabled young people. The small remaining balance in the fund was given as part of a larger grant to the Snowdon Trust.

Charity Fund-Raising – Several liverymen took part in the Bucks Radio ‘Tour de Vale’ charity bike ride, raising £2,410 for the Wheelwrights’ Charity that was donated to WheelPower.

Mobility and Access Grants

During 2023 £88,100 was spent on grants to a range of organisations.

Within this total £63,200 related to ‘mobility and access for the disabled’ (including WheelPower, CRCF and Snowdon Trust referred to above) of which £41,100 went to 15 organisations referred to below:

  • Aspire – Purchase of an electric changing table to be used by disabled people using the pool changing rooms.
  • Disabled Sailors’ Association – To enable around 22 of their sailors in wheelchairs to sail with their accompanying carer or family member.
  • Happy Days – To provide three professional visiting theatre performances for three groups of children with special needs, many of whom are in wheelchairs, from Nottingham, Sheffield and Stevenage. Improving for 357 children and young people aged 3-17.
  • 3H Foundation – To provide 6-10 people with a disability and their families with a means-tested grant towards a modest UK break/holiday
  • SHINE – Currently the only organisation in the UK offering spinal stimulation for spina bifida.  To provide funding to subsidise e-stimulation units for a further 16 families to enale daily spinal stimulation therapy sessions at home. Initial results indicate that it is having a measurable impact on their strength, circulation, sensation, mobility and continence.
  • Orchestra of the Swan (Alison Fox Bequest) – To provide funding towards their Sound Education project, through workshops, by offering primary age visually impaired children initial instrumental lessons on an instrument of their choice, and a composition project for secondary students. The music sessions are with young people at Priestley Smith Specialist School for the Blind.
  • Riding for the Disabled East Region – Funding a carriage driving demonstration day to increase participation of disabled people in future driving events.  This has resulted in the first ever East Region qualifier event for the national championships that is planned for 2024.
  • The Bike Experience – Provision of a gazebo and branding so the charity can provide the opportunity for disabled people to experience the thrill of riding an adapted motorcycle in a safe and supported environment at a number of track locations around the country.
  • Douglas Bader Foundation – A sailing day experience for disabled children aged 5-18 years from disability groups, organisations, individuals and SEND schools.
  • Brighton Buccaneers Wheelchair Rugby Club – For the purchase of a specialised wheelchair.
  • Marches Family Network – To provide part funding of a project that allows about 30 children and young people with the same experiences as their non-disabled peers. Through the project the young people develop positive friendships, try new things and take part in activities with their friends. It helps develop confidence, independence and social skills through interacting with the wider community and participating in new experiences, as well as promoting health and wellbeing. It included a visit to the Thinktank Science Museum in Birmingham.
  • Treloar Trust – Funding towards Treloar’s independent mobility programme to sustain and evolve their power wheelchair driving service by carrying out a service on the two Drive decks and re-laying the reflective floor tape to enable tracking.
  • Horatio’s Garden – To provide 8 ceramic workshops, 8 live music sessions, 4 photography workshops and 2 woodwork workshops for patients, their family and friends and volunteers in Horatio’s  garden for educational and recreational purposes.
  • Snowdon Trust – To assist with the purchase of a specific power assist wheelchair attachment for a student, so that she can more easily access her University Campus for her degree course.
  • St Joseph’s Hospice, Hackney – To provide funding towards building a new wooden ramp to give wheelchair users access to St Joseph’s Hospice’s garden.

Craft Funding

Grants from the Craft Fund – The Charity channels its ongoing support for the Wheelwrights’ craft through a separate Craft Fund which is principally funded by donations from the Worshipful Company of Wheelwrights’ 100 Club. To donate to the 100 Club contact Nick Dutt nickdutt60@gmail.com.  £4,100 was spent during the year on supporting two Wheelwright apprentices to complete their assessments and training, as well as provide them with some tools.

Other relevant charitable causes

Grants totalling £20,700 were made towards these other causes including:

Dogs for Good – A grant of £6,300 was made during the year to support the training of an assistance dog ‘Jimmy’, to enable a person with a disability to live independently.  This was funded from the money raised from a 500-mile sponsored bike ride in August 2021, The ‘Tour de Wheelwrights’, embarked upon by Liveryman Graham Ellis. The ride started from a wheelwright in Warkworth Northumberland and ended at Douglas Andrew’s workshop in Heathfield in Sussex, stopping at other wheelwrights along the way.

Woodland Heritage – As part of an initiative by the Liveries Wood Group (of which the Wheelwrights are a member) to support sustainable woodland, some members of the Court made donations of £2,500 to support tree planting by Woodland Heritage. This funding will help support the planting and management of some 30,000 trees at James Wood in Somerset, between the Quantock Hills and Exmoor National Park. The land comprises around 85 acres of former farmland and unmanaged woodland.

The remaining grants amount to £11,900 and include the following:

  • Paediatric research into disabling conditions through our award of The Geoffrey Udall Prize (Geoffrey Udall was Master of the Wheelwrights in 1970, our 300th year)
  • Support for the Royal Artillery Charitable Fund.
  • In common with other livery company charities, we supported a small number of City charities including the Lord Mayor’s Appeal
  • Grants for academic prizes continued to be made to students at Burnt Mill Academy, a secondary school in Harlow, Essex. Books and other media were provided to launch their Library which has had a very positive effect on students reading ability.