A charity which has created 19 community projects in just a year since it was formed, is planning a festival to celebrate the end of lockdown and bring communities back together.
The Rochester-based Paramount Foundation is the charitable arm of leading temporary housing provider Paramount Independent Property Services, and was set up by the firm which prides itself on the quality of its support and accommodation for homeless people.
In its first year it has funded sports activities and helped more than 400 people improve their skills ready for employment as well as helping young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) gain qualifications.
The foundation, which has a mission to improve the lives and wellbeing of vulnerable people by investing in its communities, plans to hold its Sticks and Stones festival to promote wellbeing and celebrate the end of lockdown when it happens, and bring communities separated in isolation back together.
Last year’s inaugural festival, held at Fort Amherst, attracted some 500 people to enjoy activities such as street soccer, wild art, meditation tents and live bands as well as Olympia Boxing and Sunlight Radio, plus a Q&A with mental health and wellbeing experts.
The foundation, which plans to expand its reach further in 2020/21, has been working hard to support communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, including using some Kent Community Foundation and Lawson Endowment for Kent funding to provide online courses and equipment for those whose work has been affected by the outbreak or are unemployed.
They have also devised a competition to encourage children and young people to get creative and feel optimistic about the future. The “Grant a Wish” competition challenges contestants to design a wish jar to put in all the activities they miss from the outside world. Two winners will receive a fully-funded day trip to an exciting mystery location.
During its first year the foundation has also set up a hairdressing course with Medway Youth Service, where NEET young people can work in a salon and with qualified tutors to gain qualifications, while its Youth Against Crime Group, funded by Safer Kent, has seen young people, under the guidance of the Foundation Manager, create a campaign to reduce youth crime, and make a series of short films highlighting the effects of youth crime.
Its Active Community Unit, funded by Street Games, has also been engaging with vulnerable people in low income areas, giving them sports equipment as well as a vehicle to deliver doorstep sports and activities.
The foundation's launch was spearheaded by PIPS managing director, Grant De-Negri, who felt the Paramount ethos and community work should be given its own platform to invest in communities. A community interest company (CIC), it is led by Foundation Manager Matt Salisbury, who has worked in the charity sector and youth work for 10 years.
To get involved and make a donation go to http://easydonate.org/PFACTIVE. You can also donate by text message.
To donate £1, text PFACTIVE to 70201; £3, text PFACTIVE to 70331; £5 text PFACTIVE to 70970 or £10, text PFACTIVE to 70191.
Find out more about the Paramount Foundation and the competition at theparamountfoundation.org