Cash boost for Phoenix Project minibus fund

A Ryde-based project that provides activities and opportunities for people with learning disabilities is the latest organisation to be supported by the Isle of Wight Foundation.

The Phoenix Project has been awarded £16,000 by the charitable trust supported by the partners behind Island Roads. Each year grants of between £3,000 and £16,000 are awarded to Island charities, good causes and organisations working to tackle social exclusion and isolation. Since 2014, nearly half a million pounds has been given to such causes.

The Phoenix Project will use the money to help buy a new minibus to transport clients to its base in Salters Road, Haylands and also to take the 90 people using their services, to and from off-site activities. They are all adults aged between 19 and 82 with moderate to profound and multiple disabilities who live across the Island. They can choose between a selection of activities including cooking, art, gardening, woodwork, yoga, swimming, horse riding and dance. The project has also recently opened a unit in Newport where users can learn and develop skills in woodworking.

Louise Smith, fund raising co-ordinator at the Phoenix Project, said: “Transport is simply essential to us in order to achieve a high level of care and provision. For various reasons, public transport is often not available and suitable for our service users. We really do need our own transportation and having our own vehicles also gives us the opportunity to encourage interaction and friendship as our clients travel together.

“We are really, really grateful to Island Roads and the Isle of Wight Foundation for this fantastic donation. It will bring real benefit to the Phoenix Project and our service users.”

Under the foundation’s grant scheme, an Island Roads employee ‘sponsors’ the application from a group and then acts as a link to build an ongoing bond between the foundation and the recipient. Island Roads Asset Manager Mark Roberts who sponsored the successful project application said: “The Phoenix Project does a fantastic job in tackling social exclusion and isolation. We are so pleased to be supporting its work and in doing so opening opportunities for so many people.”