Pitch to the Panel event hailed a success

Six local groups take a slice of £100,000 funding




Pitch to the Panel event hailed a success

Representatives from six worthy causes in West Berkshire are celebrating after scooping a slice of £100,000 from Greenham Common Trust.

Last Thursday’s Pitch to the Panel event saw six charities pitch for a share of £100,000 in the trust’s first Dragons’ Den- style community event.

Pitch to the Panel formed part of The Greenham Exchange – Getting the Community Together and combined an evening of celebration with a chance for charities to network at the Corn Exchange, in Newbury.

Applications were first registered on findmeagrant.org, and charities had the opportunity to learn more about the possible funding streams available before a shortlist of six finalists was drawn up.

Each was invited to pitch for a slice of the £100,000.

Representatives used powerful and moving testimonials to convince the panel of judges of the worth of their individual causes.

Including the results of online and text voting, all three in the minor grant category were awarded the amount of money they needed.

Dingley Family and Specialist Early Years received a total of £13,252.92 to pay for a family support worker.

The Five a Day Market Garden was given £5,946 to fund its ‘Big Carrot’ project, and West Berks Rapid Response Cars (WBRRC) got £4,733 to pay for its ‘winter-safety’ package.

The WBRRC is a small, local charity and receives no government funding.

It pitched for essential winter protection like tyre grips and hi-vis jackets.

After the event, Andrew Sharp from WBRRC said: “We were genuinely excited to be listed as finalists, and went in to this with no expectations.

“We are absolutely delighted to get all of our required funding.

“Without this, we would not have been able to supply the kits for our responders.”

In the major category, West Berkshire Therapy Centre, received a total of £29,395 to pay for five additional power-assisted machines to help give patients a comprehensive range of bodily movements and tone muscle.

After the event, the charity’s John Holt said: “We were all absolutely over the moon.

“It will allow us to do what we need to do and provide more capacity during ‘disabled-friendly’ hours’.

“We were pitching on behalf of our clients and we were very pleased with the result we got for them.”

The final two charities received a portion of what they needed and, when questioned by the judges, seemed confident of raising the remaining funds.

On the panel, Andrew McKenzie, the managing director of the Vineyard Group, said: “It’s a difficult decision that had to be made and we felt that both charities would be successful in further funding.”

Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, and Oxon Wildlife Trust gained £10,098, leaving just under £10,000 to find for its project to pay for an access audits officer to manage a community project aimed at enhancing the visitor experience to five nature reserves in West Berkshire.

After the event, Wendy Tobitt, the charity’s media and campaigns manager, said: “We will work even harder to secure that shortfall because this is an extremely worthwhile project which will benefit the entire community, and people who visit.”

The Trust for Sustainable Living needed £47,122 for its additional glasshouse exhibition, which they hope to open in 2016, and received £37,807.

Ruth Larkin, director of development for the Trust for Sustainable Living, said after the event: “We are absolutely delighted to have secured funding of £37,000 to open an island rainforest glasshouse.

“Thanks to the Greenham Common Trust we’ll be able to bring the magic of the rainforest to thousands more local school children and families.”

The public’s opportunity to help these causes is not over as they can help them reach their targets by donating via www.findmeagrant.org.  

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