More than £100,000 up for grabs for region’s deserving groups
PUBLISHED: 06:54 24 March 2017 | UPDATED: 09:58 24 March 2017
Archant Norfolk 2017
A £105,000 fund to support community groups across Norfolk and Suffolk has been announced today.
And the Eastern Daily Press has again teamed up with Comic Relief and the Norfolk and Suffolk Community Foundations, to give deserving groups across the region a chance to get involved and bid for a share of the pot.
Community Cash grants of between £500 and £1,000 have helped with everything from purchasing new equipment to facilitating fun days out in the last few years,
Distributed by Comic Relief - with help from this newspaper - they have been the lifeblood of many groups which would struggle without this help.
Now, as the Red Nose Day fundraising frenzy sweeps the nation and donations for Comic Relief pour in, applications for local groups to benefit in 2017 have opened.
Groups which benefitted last time round included Norfolk SEN Network, the Mile Cross Playscheme and Time Norfolk.
Gilly Green, head of UK grants said: “The Comic Relief Community Cash initiative is extremely important and enables us to help more than a thousand smaller projects all across the UK.
“The grants can be used for a wide variety of needs, from equipment for disability sports clubs, to activities bringing communities together, to specialist training for volunteers providing essential support. We encourage any community group or project who are in need of some extra funding to apply for the grant through their local community foundation.”
For groups in Norfolk, a total of £60,000 is up for grabs. Graham Tuttle, from Norfolk Community Foundation, said: “These small grants really do transform the fortunes of the local organisations they benefit. There are so many groups in Norfolk which are a vital resource for the community and do a massive amount on very little money. These new Comic Relief Community Cash grants will provide a welcome boost.”
In Suffolk, there is £45,000 on offer, and Stephen Singleton from Suffolk Community Foundation also urged groups to apply.
Over the past few weeks, this newspaper has featured projects which have gained funding in the past:
Black Dog Music Project
One group which benefitted from Community Cash funding last year was the Black Dog Music Project, in Norwich.
The group has rocked its way to more members than ever, using music to help improve mental health.
For one member, 31-year-old Gareth Hopkins, it was not just about the music. He said: “It’s a really good project, they do help people and it gives you a sense of purpose - if I wasn’t here I’d probably just be in my room.”
Another service user, John Jolley, said he had started coming along for his own wellbeing, but ended up as a volunteer.
Chairman Colin Bain, 77, said Community Cash had allowed them to set up a website, raising much-needed awareness.
He added: “A lot of the music I can’t stand. But my payment is seeing the smiles on their faces.”
As well as learning to play and jamming, members also get the chance to perform live.
A £1,000 Community Cash grant meant charity Time Norfolk could continue to support people coping with pregnancy loss across the county.
It meant women like Valerie Waterfield, 38, could access help after she suffered four miscarriages over the space of 10 years.
“They saved my life,” Mrs Waterfield said. “I tried to take my own life because I felt there was no other way out.”
Mrs Waterfield now volunteers for the charity, which provides free, confidential support to those who have experienced pregnancy loss through miscarriage, termination or still birth.
Ruth Kettle, fundraising and events co-ordinator, said: “We can say that paid for around 25 face-to-face counselling sessions. On average, people take around eight to 10 sessions so that paid for two or three clients to complete their journey.
“Having money from Comic Relief coming in is a massive thing for us.”