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Seeing is Believing in Falmouth

1 April 2014

Seeing is Believing is the CCF’s regular event to give the opportunity to donors and supporters to visit projects where our grants have made a difference to the community.  The Falmouth event on 1 April first visited the Dracaena Centre and then continued with a presentation by the Helford River Children’s Sailing Trust kindly hosted by Piers and Tessa Phipps. The visits were organised by Friend of the Foundation Tessa Phipps who has been running the CCF’s popular Seeing is Believing events for the last five years.


Despite its traditional reputation as a popular tourist destination, Falmouth faces considerable socio-economic issues with many members of the community handicapped by limited means and lack of opportunities. The Dracaena Centre was created five years ago to meet these needs and has since engaged with over 24,000 individuals. The Centre has been awarded three grants from the CCF, totalling £24,466 towards a range of activities including a project called 'SWIFT' which was designed to inspire, motivate and challenge those in the community aged between 16-25 years that are not in employment, education or training (NEET).

CCF's Seeing is Believing at the Dracaena Centre.jpg

Richard May, Centre Manager, gave an insight into the work of the Centre that delivers programmes of sport, fitness, healthy living, first aid training and Community Sports Leader Awards. They offer the opportunity for the beneficiaries to enrol on other courses to support their ongoing learning in areas such as ICT, literacy, numeracy etc. and also give them the opportunity of becoming a Dracaena Centre volunteer. Richard May said ‘We are incredibly fortunate to have individuals, groups, sponsors and investors, whose help enables us to do what we do. Whilst we are able to generate a certain level of income through our programmes, activities, partnerships, service agreements and venue hire, we are still in the position where we depend on a range of sponsors to support our core delivery and allow us to grow. The Cornwall Community Foundation has been of great support to the Dracaena Centre - not only through the funding applications have we been successful with but also through its ambassadorship for what we are doing for the people in our community.’

George Carlton-Smith from Cornwall 100 Club member Carlton Smith Private Wealth said: ‘It was great to hear how the Dracaena Centre was started and how it has grown to become a community hub serving the Falmouth and Penryn area. A vast number of people of all ages use the Centre and it makes a real difference to them. The Dracaena Centre really does manage to make any income they receive go a very long way. It’s great to be able to support such a hard working group of people who really believe in what they are doing within their community and making such a difference.’

The Helford River Children’s Sailing Trust’s mission is driven by the need to build stronger communities with healthier, more active people and to give volunteers, children and young people, who either come from deprived communities from the Lizard and/or have special needs, a better chance in life. Christopher Fawell and Richard Nathan, Joint Chairmen, explained that the Helford River Children’s Sailing Trust builds self confidence in children of all ages and backgrounds, including a very significant proportion with Special Educational Needs (SEN) – the majority of whom come from very deprived areas particularly on the Lizard. This process is accomplished through a programme of teaching the children and young people to learn to row and sail single-handed which, as a multi-disciplined activity, challenges, inspires and motivates all who participate and offers them a life changing experience.

CCF's Seeing is Believing, presentation by the Helford River Children’s Sailing Trust.jpg

The majority of this work is achieved through training volunteers from these local communities to work with the RYA professionally qualified Senior Instructors who work for the HRCST. Helford River Sailing Trust has been awarded six grants by the CCF, totalling £42,000 since 2004, including £10,000 from the Goonhilly Wind Farm Community Fund towards instructor fees.