Watchet community makers upgrade school ICT suite with funding from the Santander foundation

A group of Watchet Community Makers has finished work building a bespoke information and communications technology (ICT) suite at the Knights Templar First School in Watchet, thanks to a £5,000 grant from the Santander Foundation. Watchet Community Makers is a scheme developed by the Onion Collective CIC which aims to upskill volunteers to work on local projects, for the wider benefit of the community.

Five brightly coloured hexagonal tables, designed by Knights Templar's digital lead, Kate Bradford, have now been completed for the school. The clever design means that 30 children can now sit together in groups at their computers, with walking space between each and all wiring carefully boxed in.

The Watchet Community Makers project seeks to teach local people trade skills such as carpentry or plastering. This also means community organisations in Watchet are able to upgrade or develop facilities without major financial investment, creating a dual benefit for the people of Watchet.

As well as meeting the cost of materials for the ICT suite, the grant has enabled Onion Collective to employ a skilled tradesperson to run weekly sessions with local volunteers, rent workshop space and pay for insurance. 

Sally Lowndes, Director at Onion Collective, said: “We're delighted to have been awarded this grant from Santander. Watchet Community Makers is such a positive scheme for everyone involved. Participants gain skills and friendships, while local organisations get to improve their facilities.”

Mark Costello, Branch Manager at Santander's Minehead branch, said: “The Santander Foundation makes hundreds of donations to local projects every year with the aim of assisting organisations, communities and vulnerable people throughout the UK. The staff at our branch know the great work Onion Collective does in our community and we hope this grant will help them in their support for local people.”

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Notes to Editors:

Media Contact
Leonora Burtenshaw at Santander      Tel: 020 7756 4543

About Onion Collective
Onion Collective is a Social Enterprise founded by a group of ambitious but socially-minded citizens who all live in West Somerset. It aims to harness and develop the collective expertise built-up during their various career paths and bring it to bear for social and community benefit. Onion Collective is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company with the goal of operating a portfolio of exciting, successful, sustainable and mutually supporting projects - all for community benefit. 

For more information please visit:

Santander Foundation
The Santander Foundation is at the heart of the Bank’s community activities, providing grants to small charities and social enterprises working with disadvantaged people to fund skills, knowledge and innovation projects across the UK. Discovery Grants of up to £5,000 are available to support three types of activity:

  • Explorer: improving people's knowledge
  • Transformer: supporting skills and experience
  • Changemaker: innovative solutions to social challenges

Over the last five years, the Santander Foundation has provided £26 million in funding to 13,914 UK charities through Discovery Grants and Staff Matched Donations. For more information please visit:

Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. It has brought real competition to the UK, through its innovative products for retail customers and relationship banking model for UK SMEs. At 30 June 2018, the bank has c24,200 employees. It serves around 15 million active customers, via a nationwide branch network, telephone, mobile and online banking; and 64 regional Corporate Business Centres. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.