Cameron’s Coasters are simple drink mats that carry a powerful message. One side is inscribed with the words “don’t bottle it up”, and the contact details of mental health support groups are on the other.
Produced and distributed by Carol and Evan Grant, the goal of Cameron’s Coasters is encouraging young people to speak up and ask for help, rather than battling depression and mental health issues on their own.
“Our son Cameron suffered in silence with depression for seven years before he took his own life when he was in his final year at university, and we have set up a charity in his memory to help others in these circumstances,” the Grants wrote.
With the help of the Aviva Community Fund, Cameron’s Coasters are now in use at 37 universities and in many schools and colleges. The charity also hopes to expand its reach to businesses, placing coasters in offices and meeting rooms, and spreading their positive message even further.
2. A Songbook
It’s a songbook that brings together the members of Alzheimer Scotland’s Musical Memories project each week. For the last five years, the singing group has enabled people with dementia to live well within their communities, simply by having them sing together.
Open to people with dementia, as well as their family, friends, and carers, Musical Memories isn’t just about singing. It’s a safe environment for people to make friends, chat, and generally enjoy themselves in ways that everyday life doesn’t always allow.
One of the group's founders had this to say: “Even when someone with dementia may have difficulty communicating with their loved ones verbally, singing together can keep the path of communication and connection open. This can be invaluable both to the person with dementia and their carer.”
Through the Aviva Community Fund, Alzheimer Scotland have been able to give their volunteers special training in music making and dementia care. This, along with funding for portable therapeutic instruments, has taken their musical experience into care homes and housing complexes in and around Aberdeen and reached people with dementia who have mobility problems and need more support.
3. A Football
Farsley Celtic Girls U-12's is a newly formed team of enthusiastic, energetic, and talented girls who love playing and training together. While research has shown that girls drop out of the sport at a faster rate than boys, Farsley Celtic’s committed team of volunteer coaches and parents are getting young girls of all abilities playing and loving football.
“The emphasis from the coaching team is very much about fun and enjoyment, and they have created an extremely welcoming and inclusive environment in which the girls really support each other whatever the result. Given the focus on fun, the on-field success that the team is just starting to enjoy, having previously been on the wrong end of some big scorelines, is very much the cherry on the cake,” say the team's coaches.
With support from the Aviva Community Fund, the Farsley Celtic Girls will be able to get a new kit and expand their own fundraising activities within their local community in Yorkshire.
4. A Caravan
The Eve Merton Dreams Trust has been helping local families deal with the emotional strain of terrible illnesses since 2011. In recent years, their charity has grown and become an established fixture in the local community, raising money and running activities to help the dreams of terminally ill people and their families come true.
“This project will undoubtedly make a huge change to the lives of our local community. By enabling Eve’s Trust to purchase this static caravan, [we will] be able to provide a regular, reliable service to cancer victims in our area. It is hoped that a mini-break in the caravan will allow families to have a break from everything that is going on during and/or after treatment,” reads the charity's bio on the Aviva website.
After securing £25,000 in funding from the Aviva Community Fund, the Eve Merton Dreams Trust was able to purchase the Caravan of Dreams. It might seem like a simple static caravan at first, but the Caravan of Dreams is a safe, relaxing place where families can spend time together and take their minds off the emotional strain of terminal illness or a recent bereavement.
5. A Projector
A semi-rural village located near Redruth in Cornwall, Carnkie can sometimes feel quite isolated. With the loss of local shops, pubs, and other community hubs over the years, people in community were beginning to feel cut off from one another.
That was until the Carnkie Village Hall Film Nights became a thing. Once a month, local residents turn the local village hall into a makeshift cinema, allowing community members to get together, watch a film, and connect with one another.
Originally relying on rented equipment, the film night’s organizers have been able to use £1,000 from the Aviva Community Fund to buy their own projector, Blu-Ray player, amplifier, speakers, and screen. The film nights are a hit within the local community and will continue for many years to come!
6. A Trowel
Armed with garden trowels, Urban Buzz are on a mission to save the bees, butterflies, and pollinators in green areas across England and Wales. With a £25,000 boost from the Aviva Community Fund, they’re even closer to their goal.
Working together with communities in Birmingham, Cardiff, Plymouth, and York, Urban Buzz are transforming disused and neglected green spaces into inspiring, bright, and colourful spaces for everyone to enjoy.
The Aviva Community Fund allocation is going towards creating 100 “Buzzing Hotspots” that attract pollinators like bees and butterflies and allow the rejuvenated open spaces to blossom and flourish. These, along with innovative “bee hotels”, will have a positive effect on the local areas and the environment at large.