THE High Sherriff of Shropshire, who comes from Ludlow, has launched a new community fund.

It is an initiative to support small community groups and charities in the county.

The Shropshire Community Fund will help a variety of organisations across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

It is to be grown as an endowment so the interest from can be shared in small grants for years to come.

The fund will be managed by Shropshire Rural Communities Charity and builds on the work it currently does helping charities and voluntary groups access funding available.

Ludlow-based Rhoderick Swire, who took up office as High Sheriff of Shropshire in March this year, has committed to using his time in office to shine a light on the smaller organisations that may be struggling to survive.

“The demands and pressures on small charities have risen significantly, and funding available to help them deliver their work has not kept pace,” he said.

“Shropshire is a very special county with a proud history covering thousands of years. But we must look to the future and ensure that our people are looked after.”

There are an estimated 2,300 community groups and voluntary organisations in Shropshire. Around 80 per cent have an income of less than £60,000 a year and almost half run on less than £10,000 a year.

“Small groups are the bedrock of community life in Shropshire,” said Julia Baron, chief executive of the Rural Community Council.

“They organise activities for people who may be lonely or isolated. They look after the local environment and heritage sights, provide entertainment for local residents and ensure that village halls and community buildings stay viable.

“They are run by incredibly hard-working people who are often volunteers. They might not be that well-known across the county, but it would be a massive loss to the communities they help if they disappear.”

As well as administering grants, the Shropshire Community Fund will support smaller trusts with their own money to distribute, offering advice on how to manage any specific requirements and helping find potential applicants.

For more information on the Shropshire Community Fund, visit