Hospitality & Tourism

Published: October 31, 2019 | Updated: November 1, 2019

Good causes share more than £26,000 from family-owned brewer’s community chest

Recipients of the 18th annual Community Chest Awards at Hall & Woodhouse’s Crown Hotel in Blandford Forum.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

Twenty two good causes across the South West have been awarded more than £26,000 by Hall & Woodhouse (H&W) through its Community Chest Awards.

The annual awards are an initiative created by the independent family-owned Dorset brewer.

The aims are to improve both the facilities and the lives of people in the community by providing grants to local voluntary groups and causes that require financial support.

The 18th annual awards ceremony was held at H&W’s Crown Hotel in Blandford Forum.

The evening was supported by Blackmore Vale Media and the Dorset Community Foundation.

Mark Woodhouse, H&W’s Family Director, said: “We are tremendously proud of our Community Chest Awards and the thousands of people it has helped since it began 18 years ago.

“We wanted to create a grant-giving initiative that would support local worthy causes across the south and help make their visions become a reality.

“When we review the applications made to the Community Chest, it is always a very difficult process as there are so many worthy causes in need of aid. Ultimately, we select the charities that require our support to provide long-term benefits to the wider community.”

This year’s awards included:

  • £1,500 for Dorset Mind to provide a rain shelter and a compost toilet for the mental health charity’s ecotherapy group called the ‘GAP’. The project aims to help people develop positive mental health through therapeutic gardening.
  • £2,500 for Island Community Action to support local communities in Portland through its ‘Silver Island’ scheme that helps people aged 50 and over marginalised through poor physical and psychological health, social deprivation and poverty. The grant will also be used to fund the ‘Forget-Me-Not’ Songsters, a choir created to support those with all forms of memory loss including people with dementia. The money donated by H&W will fund an entire year of activity for the charity.
  • £3,000 for Luccombe Hub to allow the Milton Abbas-based charity to buy laptops and similar equipment for the children and young people that use the Hub’s services. The Hub provides a therapeutic, alternative form of education for children and young people who are unable to access mainstream education due to a range of social and communication problems, that can result in challenging behaviour.

Applications will open for the 2020 Community Chest awards in March when voluntary groups can request funding ranging from £300 to £3,000 to help them achieve their aims.

Grants could be awarded for new equipment, training, transport or running costs, and can be made towards youth services, the elderly, or any other projects that enhance the local community.

More details at

Hall & Woodhouse was founded in 1777 by Charles Hall, a Dorset farmer, who opened a brewery in the village of Ansty.

Mark Woodhouse and Anthony Woodhouse are the current seventh generation stewards of the family owned brewer which also has an estate of  180 pubs across the south of England.