• Diogo Rodrigues

Bridgwater Town Council has a meaningful role to play

Businesses in and around our Town are desperate to help those who need help as a result of the coronavirus. Whether it is people suffering from mental health issues and those neglecting themselves, people in isolation and suffering from loneliness or people who need a bit of help and guidance on how to prepare health meals.

There are some voluntary and charitable organisations doing great work in helping some of the most vulnerable people within our town right now. But there are also many people that are falling through the cracks and need extra support.

I’ve been approached by one local businesses who is looking at ways to help by providing a healthy wholesome lunch every day to isolated, vulnerable people who are shielding - particularly those suffering from mental health issues, and then once a week a whole pack to include some self-care items and some literature (like tips on managing stress and where to get help in a crisis, like a type of newsletter). However they are finding it extremely difficult to access any funding because of their business status.

Grant funding is available to help many community support initiatives but most of the funding opportunities are only available to voluntary organisations, community groups, charities and social enterprises, not businesses.

We must to be bold in our thinking

Bridgwater Town Council has a history of supporting our communities whether that’s with our community centre grants, our ward grants, sports sponsorship or the youth support grants that I initiated. Many of these schemes have been temporarily put on pause which frees up the potential to support our community in different ways.

As circumstances change and our communities adapt to the situations around them, so should we. We must to be bold in our thinking and resolute in our approach to offer meaningful assistance.

Now is the time for Bridgwater Town Council to step up and create a Community Coronavirus Support Grant Scheme which would enable organisations, whether a businesses or charity, to apply for funding to fill the gaps and provide support to the people who need it most in our Town.

There is little reason as to why this could not be almost immediately possible. And the benefits are huge to not only the people who would be in receipt of the support, but for the businesses who would provide the support too.

Let us have courage in our conviction and, instead of offering hollow words, let’s work to deliver a scheme which will truly make a difference for many of our townspeople In this challenging time.


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