Brewery and hospitality business announces 16 worthy winners of 2023 Hall & Woodhouse Community Chest Awards

The independent family-owned brewery and hospitality business Hall & Woodhouse has announced 16 worthy recipients of the 2023 Hall & Woodhouse Community Chest Awards, all local volunteer-led organisations that serve their local communities.

The annual awards are run with the support of Sussex World and its weekly newspapers across East and West Sussex and have been since their inception 20 years ago.

Hall & Woodhouse, known for its award-winning Badger ales, established the awards in 2002 and offers an annual fund of £55,000 to provide help for local communities in the south of England trading area.

The original Ansty brewery in Blandford in Dorset, was founded in 1777 and goes back seven generations. Mark Woodhouse, the family director who created the initiative, said the aim was to provide long-term help for local people.

Speaking at the awards evening at The World's End in Patching on Friday, January 12, Mr Woodhouse said: "We exist to make people's day, enrich our communities and do it from generation to generation. We actually provide funds for local communities and our target is £1million by 2027.

"We are very much a values-led organisation and we live and breathe our values. We want to be cherished by our teams and cherished by our communities."

With a drinks business and hospitality business operating from Kent to Cornwall, he pointed out that pubs were the focal point of the community and so were the awards.

Mr Woodhouse added: "It is basically local help for local people. I don't believe any organisation can survive without the love and support of their local community.

"Any sort of voluntary organisation can apply. It is really about working together to improve the lives of local residents and about encouraging other organisations to support their community.

"It is about offering access to funds to support organisations that help themselves. These are small, local, volunteer-led, trustworthy organisations that are really needed and they make a real difference."

Award judges presented cheques to representatives from the 16 worthy winners in the area and a buffet was provided to give the volunteers an opportunity to network and share ideas.

Gary Shipton, Editor in Chief of Sussex World, who has been a judge throughout, thanked Mr Woodhouse on behalf of the recipients. He said: "I know the huge amount of time that Mark and the other judges put in, how thorough and forensic they are in assessing the groups, and how genuinely committed Hall & Woodhouse are in seeking to support their communities."

Among the recipients were:

Arun Counselling Centre in Littlehampton which offers low-cost individual counselling and therapy for adults. The £2,000 award will be used to provide free appointments for those who are unable to afford the cost of therapy.

Being Neighbourly in East Grinstead is a support group that helps with shopping, collecting prescriptions and befriending. The £1,500 award will be used to increase the range of services, including a new gardening service.

Care in the Garden CIC in Ryde on the Isle of Wight creates work opportunities for adults with additional needs, including horticulture and wood crafts. The £3,000 award will be used to purchase equipment for hospitality training.

Chattertots in Berkshire is a parents-run charity focused on speech and language therapy for children with Down Syndrome. The £1,000 award will support a school box project for children starting primary education.

Chichester & Arun Down Syndrome Group runs dance sessions for children and young adults, with the ethos of supporting the whole family. The £1,000 award will support the Dance Crew.

Children's BookFest in Chichester books authors into schools and provides books, so children can feel the joy of owning a book of their own. The £1,000 award will be used to fund books for the foodbank.

East Sussex Foster Care Association in Eastbourne looks after children who have to move in and out of foster care, and sometimes have nothing but a bin bag. The £2,500 award will be used to provide luggage and storage boxes.

Eastbourne Area Community First Responders will use the £1,000 award to update a defibrillator.

Chalk Farm Hotel Learning Disabilities Centre supports adults with learning disabilities in the Eastbourne area. The £3,000 award will be used towards training costs.

Fareham District Scout Band is traditional marching band and the £1,000 award will be used to fund a converted shipping container to store instruments.

Grandads Front Room CIC in Bognor Regis is a support group for the community, offering furniture, food and more for those in need. The £2,000 award will fund a warm space, pantry and outreach services.

JubyLee Bakes in Thakeham offers skills training through baking, including making cakes for Arundel Museum. The £3,000 award will go towards essential running costs.

Key Changes Music Therapy in Winchester offers music therapy to improve lives of the most vulnerable people. The £1,700 award will fund taster sessions and therapy for people with dementia.

Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association, a support association where families can play and learn together, received a £1,000 award.

Terry's Place in Chichester is a day care charity offering a sanctuary by providing a range of support and various activities for older people and their carers. The £1,500 award will help fund events for adults and their carers.

Worthing Table Tennis Club offers outreach in care homes and the £1,250 award will fund tables and equipment.

The judges were: Gary Shipton – Editor In Chief, Sussex World; Bex Bastable – Independent judge, former Editor of the Chichester Observer; Adrian Barrot – Former Grants Office at Sussex Community Foundation; Steve Young – General Manager of The Osborne View, Hill Head, Fareham; Susie Rees – H&W Shareholder; Tessa Woodhouse – H&W Shareholder; and Mark Woodhouse – Family Director.