“For me £2,000 was a life-changing amount.” So spoke Aran at the Warren Centre, Whitfield Place on 23 September, at the celebration of ten years of Open Wing Trust.
In a small gathering of trustees, past and present, and other supporters, two grant recipients spoke very movingly of the difference the grants had made to their lives. After a life full of difficulties, Aran is now a Gestalt therapist, Sally the newly appointed CEO of a youth work organisation. And we heard many more touching endorsements from those who were not able to be present.
We started Open Wing in 2012, with the first grants being given a year later. The aim of the charity, which operates in England and Wales, is to “enable the enablers”. We give grants to individuals in order to support them at a time of change and enable them to change the focus of their lives to working with those in need. Grants have been given for a wide range of activities, from preventing knife crime to becoming an end of life doula.
Our current maximum grant of £2,000 does not sound very much, but we heard how it has been a catalyst, the means by which recipients were able to access the rest of what they needed. Above all it is a sense of being trusted that has made all the difference to their lives. OWT provides not just money but ongoing support; it helps recipients to network, and even provides signposting for some unsuccessful candidates.
If you know someone who could benefit from such a grant, or you wish to donate, or are interested in becoming a trustee, do get in touch with us at openwing.org.uk
Jennifer Kavanagh lives in Fitzrovia, is a writer, and a trustee of the Open Wing Trust.