FIVE local charities have been awarded a share of £100,000 from Greenham Common Trust after impressing judges with a Dragon’s Den-style pitch.
The charities were invited to give a 10-minute presentation stating why they were deserving of the funds and what the money would be used for, at the Pitch to the Panel event at Newbury’s Corn Exchange theatre last week.
In total, three charities received all of the funding they needed, while the other two were awarded some of the money requested.
Newbury Tennis Club received £9,747, which will cover the costs of new floodlights for the courts.
Speaking on behalf of the club, Sheila Colman said: “We are over the moon to receive the full amount that we needed to install floodlights on the remaining two courts at the club.
“This will double the capacity of courts available [at night] from two to four and means that we can reach out to more of the community.
“With four floodlit courts we can now accommodate 500 members.
“It was a great event organised by the Greenham Common Trust and we would like to thank them for all of their hard work and congratulate the other finalists who received funds for their causes.”
Fair Close Day Centre, in Newbury, received £40,000 for the renovations and repairs needed to make the centre fit for all, andto make it a more welcoming and versatile environment.
Age Concern Newbury & District trustee Gordon Montgomery said: “It was a thrilling evening, brilliantly organised with some really deserving causes pitching and we felt lucky to be part of it.
“The building works we want to do are estimated at £96,000 so, together with the monies already raised, we are well over half-way to reaching our target.”
The Newbury Community Resource Centre – which runs the Growing 2Gether project – was awarded £16,216, which gives it 20 per cent of the funding needed to adapt and refurbish a self-contained unit and toilets.
Growing 2Gether offers horticultural therapy for adults with learning disabilities, as well as being a food-growing and educational centre for all members of the local community.
Chief executive Kelvin Hughes said: “Being able to Pitch to the Panel not only enabled us to secure much-needed funding but also provided us with a platform to promote the work of our project to a large and supportive local audience.”
Crossroads Care Oxfordshire/ West Berkshire/Windsor/Maidenhead pitched for £54,000 to enable children living with complex care needs or behavioural issues and their families to have a holiday at a mobile home at Butlins.
They were awarded £19,836 towards their goal.
Last to present were chairman of 1st Burghfield and Sulhamstead Scouts, Mark Penston and Scout group leader Andy Hodgson.
They explained the Scouts’ toilets, which dated back to the 1970s, needed an urgent upgrade, and they received £15,204 towards their final fundraising target of £25,670.
The audience then heard from guest speaker, Paralympian Danny Crates, who described his accident which eventually put him on the path to Paralympic glory and forged a desire to continually set and achieve his goals.
Greenham Common Trust chief executive Chris Boulton, who hosted the evening, said: “This is an opportunity for us to showcase what the trust can do for charities, which have difficulty raising funds.
“The finalists really made their cases for vital funds, which will make a difference across West Berkshire.”
The ‘Dragons’ were Newbury Weekly News editor Andy Murrill, The Vineyard Group managing director Andrew McKenzie, principal and chief executive of Newbury College Dr Anne Murdoch OBE, and businessman David Bailey, of David Bailey Enterprises Ltd.