Posts by Louise Elliott
New Laptops in Time for Lockdown
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Thanks to a generous Christmas donation from Total Project Integration to our Computers for Kids appeal, we have been able to fund 30 new laptops and data packages for Bell Farm Primary School.

Through our recently launched appeal, we want to help local families who don’t have the IT equipment to support their children to access home learning during the new national lockdown.

Total Project Integration decided to donate the cost of their company Christmas drinks to help provide a level playing field for all children to access online learning, Zoom lessons and electronic homework.

Jane Hewitt, Managing Director of Total Project Integration, said, “We are absolutely delighted to be able to support local children and their teachers in their efforts to continue with their education through these unbelievably challenging times.”

The pool of laptops for Bell Farm School will not only equip students during the current national lockdown, but will help children long term as the ‘new normal’ will involve more and more online learning.

The school’s headteacher, Liz McAdoo, said “Bell Farm Primary School are so pleased to have been awarded this generous donation. It will have a huge impact on the pupils in our school. We are very grateful to have had the support of Walton Charity in order to help families who are most in need at this difficult time.”

Louise ElliottComment
Helping Three Rivers Tackle the Education Gap

As we come to the end of the autumn term, schools across Elmbridge and beyond have been focusing their attention on mitigating the long-term effects of the pandemic.  The prolonged closure of schools threatens to blight the life chances of children across the country and The Education Endowment Foundation suggests that the attainment gap between poor and non-poor students might have widened by as much as 36%.


At the start of the new autumn term at Three Rivers Academy, new COVID-19 rules meant that each year group is restricted to a specific ‘zone’ of the school, some of which had no access to computers. 

However, with the help of our substantial Community Grant of £31,000, the school has been able to purchase desktop computers to help equip all zones of the school.  These computers will particularly benefit the school’s most disadvantaged children, who could not access online learning during lockdown. Teachers will now be better able to supervise students’ homework and online learning. 

Mario Scannella, Deputy Headteacher of Three Rivers Academy said “We are absolutely delighted with not just one but two new computer suites as result of a very generous donation of £31,000 from Walton Charity. The 62 new computers will particularly have a positive impact on those students with limited or no access to ICT resources at home. These computers will further support our efforts to remove all barriers to learning and ensure that we bring out the best in all our students.”

We believe that this funding will play an important role in helping to reduce the attainment gap between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged children in Elmbridge. 

Louise ElliottComment
Bridge Funding to Support Vulnerable Young People

We are delighted to offer a £10,000 Bridge Funding Grant to local charity, Eikon, who have been working with vulnerable young people in the local community for over two decades.

Due to the pandemic, Eikon has been forced to cancel key fundraising events which has led to a significant loss of income. Our funding will help the charity to retain frontline staff and enable them to adapt their services to respond to the increase in demand they are experiencing during the second wave of Covid-19.

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Eikon provides long-term support to some of Surrey’s most vulnerable young people and their families through a range of mental health and emotional wellbeing programmes. Their award-winning Youth Specialist Programme also places highly qualified youth workers in schools across the county with the greatest need.

They are currently supporting over 2,500 children and young people across Surrey. As the pandemic continues to take its toll on young people’s mental health the services and support Eikon continues to offer will prove vital.

Chris Hickford, Chief Executive Officer of Eikon, says “We are incredibly grateful to Walton Charity for standing with us during this difficult period. They have continued to support and offer flexibility with existing commitments, but also provided us with additional income which is helping us remain strong, retain our excellent frontline staff and continue to meet the needs of vulnerable young people across Surrey during this very difficult time. Thank you!”

Louise ElliottComment
£15,000 Funding Boost to Support Elmbridge Carers
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Walton Charity has joined forces with Walsingham Care and Sherwood House Care Home (part of Asprey Healthcare) to support the funding of respite breaks for up to 32 unpaid carers in Elmbridge.

The £15,000 grant will help Crossroads Care Surrey to provide a much-needed break for people caring for elderly friends or relatives or someone with dementia.

Crossroads Care Surrey currently supports 125 adults and children living in Elmbridge though their respite service. The charity’s team of professional Carer Support Workers spend up to three and a half hours a week with the person being cared for.

As well as one-to-one care in the home, they also offer activities and outings like shopping, trips to the park, cinema visits or cheering on a local sports team.

This vital service gives carers time to relax, go out with friends, enjoy their hobbies or just chat, safe in the knowledge their loved one is being cared for.

Philip Connell of Sherwood House Care Home said “I’ve always felt it’s vital for Sherwood House Care Home to work in close partnership with local charities who do such valuable work supporting people in the community. I am delighted that the opportunity has arisen to sponsor the work of Crossroads.”

Debbie Beech of Walsingham Care added “As a charity that assists older unpaid carers, we are aware of the amazing support that Crossroads Care Surrey provides to our local families. The team at Walsingham Care are delighted to be able to work collaboratively with Walton Charity and Sherwood House Care Home in providing funds to help them continue their crucial work.”

Louise ElliottComment
Bridge Funding Grant For Home Start Elmbridge
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The £15,000 Bridge Funding grant is our largest to date and will assist local charity, Home-Start Elmbridge, who have experienced a severe loss of income, coupled with an increase in demand for their services, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

When the Covid-19 crisis hit, it affected every area of a Home-Start Elmbridge’s income. Their revenue from community events, corporate sponsorship, individual donations and sporting events, have all been severely impacted.  This income would normally cover the charity’s core costs which underpin the vital work they do.

Around 140 local families rely on the charity each year. Some are experiencing poor mental or physical health, others are being supported to cope with bereavement, postnatal depression, anxiety and social isolation. Practical help is provided for families on low incomes, those in debt and those who are experiencing domestic abuse or drug and alcohol dependency. They also support children who have physical or learning disabilities.

Parenthood is challenging in normal times, but social distancing and isolation have placed enormous strain on the families already struggling to cope.  Home-Start Elmbridge has been there for these families and they’ve moved essential support services on-line to stay connected with families through their locally based staff and volunteers.

Carol Hodges, Scheme Director for Home-Start Elmbridge saidWithout this bridge funding, we just wouldn’t have been able to continue offering the range of services we do. So many charities have had to cut back, or even close, because of the effect of the pandemic on their income. The funding from Walton Charity has been a lifeline for us and many other local organisations.” 

Louise ElliottComment
Funding to help Citizens Advice with 'tsunami’ of new enquiries

Volunteers are the lifeblood of many organisations, including Citizens Advice Elmbridge (West).  Before lockdown, Citizens Advice were fortunate to have 50 active volunteers but now COVID-19 has reduced these numbers and more are needed to meet ever increasing demand. 

They needed to recruit a Training and Development Manager to build up the volunteer team whilst also increasing the diversity of the volunteer team to reflect the demographics of the local community. We are delighted to award a large grant of £40,000 over two years to enable them to do this.

The volunteers will play a vital role in helping the large number of people in our community who will be experiencing hardship for the first time as the full economic effect of the COVID-19 pandemic takes hold.  The volunteers will offer much-needed advice on issues such as employment, debt, benefits or housing. 

Margaret Bourne, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Elmbridge (West) says: “The number of queries relating to Universal Credit alone are up 34% from last year and up by 30% for Employment queries alone”.

Margaret adds “From the first lockdown in March this year we have seen a huge increase in demand for our services with so many Elmbridge residents losing their jobs as an impact of the pandemic, this in turn results in problems with debt, housing and people suffering real hardship. We anticipate that this will continue to rise as we move through a second wave of Covid 19. We are so grateful to Walton Charity for the funding for our Training and Development Manager, who is now in post and is working hard to recruit additional volunteers”.

If you are interested in learning more about volunteering with the Citizens Advice Elmbridge (West), contact them on 01932 248670. They are particularly keen to hear from young people or anyone who has lost their job and who may want to become an adviser. Volunteers can increase their career aspirations through participating in accredited training from Citizens Advice.

Louise ElliottComment
Our Community Allotment - an oasis during the pandemic
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When Covid-19 forced the Thames Ditton Men in Sheds to stop meeting in their usual workshop at Thames Ditton Centre for the Community, they went online but it wasn’t the same as meeting up and, of course, it was impossible to make anything.

The shed is staffed by experienced woodwork leaders and they come together to make garden planters, garden furniture, dolls houses, children’s toys and more for the local community on a voluntary basis.

When our Land and Estates Manager, Karen Heynike, heard of their dilemma she suggested that they should meet at our Community Allotment.  This proved ideal and the group have been meeting weekly ever since, enjoying a coffee and good banter.

During their time at our allotment, the Men in Sheds team have been able to make seventeen planters which will take pride of place at Thames Ditton station; two potting benches for our Community Allotment and Karen has even been able to get various maintenance jobs around the Community Allotment ticked off her list!

Elmbridge Community Link, a local charity for adults with autism and/or learning disabilities, also became weekly visitors to our Community Allotment. Having found themselves unable to meet at their usual venue indoors, they managed to make the most of the good weather and meet at our Community Allotment instead, sharing a picnic and enjoying the beautiful peaceful setting. ELC’s

Co-ordinator, Pier Markham, said “Our members have told us that this contact has proved invaluable to them.”

Louise ElliottComment
Silver Sunday Celebrations for our Sheltered Residents
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Silver Sunday is a day in the national calendar, the first Sunday in October, when we can pause and think about older people and celebrate their contribution to society.

Residents at our Fenner House and Mayfield sheltered accommodation (for over 55s) each received a cream tea and gift bag with goodies in celebration of Silver Sunday on Sunday 4th October 2020.

The packs were a lovely, uplifting surprise and John said “ That was a really nice touch, thank you.”

With more than 1/5th of the UK population saying they are often or always lonely, we know just how important creating community connections is to address this challenge with all ages.

Louise ElliottComment
COVID-19 Grant for Local Sensory Impairment Charity

There has been much criticism over the lack of support for disabled charities during the Covid-19 pandemic. Leading charities claim that essential services for those with physical disability have been hit especially hard, having missed out on any government emergency funding so far.

We were therefore delighted to agree our first COVID-19 Community Grant* to a charity supporting disabled people. Our grant will enable Sight for Surrey to support 728 vulnerable Elmbridge clients living with sensory impairment.

Sight for Surrey is a registered charity, offering a lifetime of support to people who are blind or partially sighted, deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing. They assist people to overcome their day-to-day challenges, achieve their potential and lead independent lives.

The strategies and techniques they teach will enable these people to manage their daily tasks independently, empowering them to learn tasks like crossing roads, managing public transport, cooking food, managing

household tasks and personal care, hearing in a different way, learning British Sign Language etc.

During the crisis, like many organisations, the charity has adapted its services by providing an essential shopping service, arranging volunteer befriending for 80 clients, making more than 2,000 calls to their most vulnerable users, posting three British Sign Language posts a week with updates on Government guidelines and providing ‘zoom’ cafes to help with deaf isolation.

Lisa Fletcher, Head of Fundraising, Sight for Surrey, said, “As all of our fundraising events and talks were sadly cancelled, we had to quickly look at other income streams to help us continue supporting all the people in Surrey with a sensory loss, especially the deafblind. Walton Charity’s COVID-19 Appeal Fund has been of great support to us at this difficult time.”

Louise ElliottComment
Another Laptop Donation Enables Lockdown Learning

Technology to learn from home is vital and without access to computers, local school children are missing out. In September, schools will be expected to have plans in place to offer remote education to pupils who are self isolating too. To bridge the gap, we partnered with local company, The Recruitment Consultancy, in order to help these children keep up with their studies and stay in touch with family and friends.


Two local primary schools, Walton Oak and Bell Farm, recently took delivery of five new laptops each and, just last week, we made a further joint donation with The Recruitment Consultancy of four new laptops to Grovelands Primary School.

We recently launched our COVID-19 Response Appeal and pledged to match fund donations received (up to £100,000). We are relying on the generosity of local companies and our community to donate whatever they can to our appeal and reach more local families who urgently need our support and have been hardest hit by the crisis. Our joint support will also ensure local organisations can keep providing essential services for children, young people and their families.

Louise ElliottComment
Our First COVID-19 Bridge Funding Grants

We are delighted to announce our first two grants under our Bridge Funding stream.

Bridge Funding is awarded to small or medium-sized, well-governed charities to support them with the short-term challenges of declining income and increasing service demand due to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

Surrey Family and Mediation Services

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SFMS is the only not-for-profit family mediation service in Surrey. They provide a subsidised service which is accessible for those on a low income.

When the Covid-19 crisis hit, they quickly moved to an online service, training their mediators on online video conferencing and providing them with laptops so that they can work remotely from home.

Like many local charities, they have experienced a substantial drop in income over the last six months. Our £10,000 grant will fund core costs and enable them to support more clients needing their services due to the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on relationships.

North West Surrey Samaritans


North West Surrey Samaritans provide emotional support to people who are struggling to cope or experiencing feelings of emotional distress, including those that might lead to suicide.

During the pandemic, they have received a large number of calls from people whose well-being has been negatively affected by COVID-19. Many calls have been from people trapped at home either alone in self-isolation or in unhappy, stressful or abusive family situations.

While demand for their services has been high, they have experienced a sudden and substantial drop in income due to the cancellation of all fundraising events.

We are pleased to award a grant £5,000 to support the core costs of the organisation at this difficult time.

Branch Director, Catherine Silk, said "We have always relied entirely upon donations to maintain our service, so not being able to run fundraising events has been very concerning for us. We are so grateful for the generous grant from Walton Charity to help us to train new volunteers and keep our phone lines open, so we can make sure we are here to support people who need someone to talk to."

Louise ElliottComment
Laptops Help Elmbridge Children Access Home Learning

Since schools closed in late March, Elmbridge children without access to a computer or tablet have found themselves unable to engage in online schoolwork. They also struggle to keep in touch with family and friends.

Local company, The Recruitment Consultancy, made a generous donation of 5 new laptops which we matched with a further 5 new laptops. Two local primary schools, Bell Farm and Walton Oak have received these laptops and they will loan them to the children who need them most.

Dan Sorling, Headteacher of Walton Oak School says “We can sometimes forget just how powerful the technology of today is. During lockdown months, access to technology has been a lifeline in terms of keeping in touch with friends and loved ones, accessing learning resources and being creative generally. Those children who have not had access to tablets and computers have clearly had additional challenges to overcome and will have found it significantly harder to establish a consistent, reliable routine to progress their learning. These 5 laptops will be allocated to pupils/families who are likely to have been most affected. I know they will be greatly appreciated and have a positive effect on both learning and wellbeing.”

Recent research by the Education Endowment Foundation suggests current school closures will widen the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their peers by an average of 36% and will reverse any progress made to narrow the gap since 2011. Supporting effective remote learning is one of the best ways to ensure this gap doesn’t widen further. *

Our priority has been to make sure that all children at Bell Farm Primary School have had the opportunity to get the education they deserve. Unfortunately, many of our children have not had access to laptops. The generous donation from Walton Charity and The Recruitment Consultancy will help the children who need it most to thrive and succeed. We are extremely grateful for their kind support.
— Karen Boulton, Bell Farm Primary School
Louise ElliottComment