Five lucky local projects are kick-starting 2018 with a cash boost, thanks to the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group’s popular Community Fund.

The company is starting the New Year by giving away more than £3,500 to five worthy good causes in West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

The latest donations come as Sam Hicks, from St Agnes, in the Isles of Scilly, is welcomed as the new Chairman of the Community Fund. He said: “We are delighted to celebrate the New Year by using the fund to support these projects.

“We are committed to making a real difference to our local communities and the Community Fund is a vital part of making that happen. I encourage all groups doing valuable voluntary work in Scilly and West Cornwall to consider applying for the next round of funding.”

The Community Fund, which has up to £30,000 to give away this financial year, was launched in 2016 and is part of an estimated £1 million that the Steamship Group returns to the community every year through subsidised travel for islanders, NHS flights, sponsorships and charitable donations.

This year the fund has four funding grant categories including an award of up to £10,000 for one lead project. The other categories are:

  • Two projects up to £5,000
  • Two projects up to £2,500
  • Four projects up to £1,250

The five community projects being supported are Scilly Kids Triathlon, the Isles of Scilly U3A, a scheme to provide WiFi at St Agnes Island Hall, Build a Bike in Redruth, and Drama Express.

In its first year the Community Fund awarded £22,000 to 18 different projects ranging from a new marquee for the Isles of Scilly Brownies and Guides Group, to a new CCTV camera to cover a blind spot at Cape Cornwall for the National Coastwatch Institution.

Bids to the Community Fund are open to voluntary groups or charities, schools and education establishments, community clubs or societies, and individuals undertaking not-for-profit projects for the benefit of the wider community.

In the first round awards of £6,750 were given to six different projects. Eight good causes received a share of more than £9,000 in the second round of awards, and £5,700 was given to three projects in the final round.

Full details, eligibility criteria and application forms are now available from the Steamship Group’s website. All projects are judged by members of an independent panel.

Sam Hicks is from a longstanding St Agnes family. He was educated in Scilly, and then graduated from the University of Bath in 2001 with a BSc Hons in Business Administration.

He worked in various commercial management roles on the mainland before returning home to help grow the family business. Together with his wife and parents he manages Troytown Farm dairy, self-catering cottages and campsite.

Fully engaged in the local community, Sam is Watch Manager of the island fire service, a coastguard officer, captain of the cricket team and a member of the Shah gig crew. He has three children at the Five Islands School.

Sam said: “I am delighted to chair the Community Fund and encourage local groups to keep submitting applications for the next round of funding which will be coming up soon.”