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'Dragons' award £100k to three good causes

Greenham Trust's Pitch to the Panel event takes place at Corn Exchange

Charlotte Booth

Charlotte Booth

charlotte.booth@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886637

'Dragons' award £100k to three good causes

THREE local good causes have received a share of £100,000 thanks to Greenham Trust’s Pitch to the Panel initiative.

Pitch to the Panel is a Dragons’ Den-style event where local charitable organisations can bid for funding towards a capital project or ground-breaking new service.

The ‘Dragons’ – a panel of judges – then select who they think are the most worthy recipients.

Following months of rehearsals, the six shortlisted finalists took to the stage at the Corn Exchange in Newbury last Wednesday for the event finale.

Three winners were chosen by the panel of judges. 

Friends of Castle School received £30,000 for an all-weather outdoor sports track for children with complex learning difficulties.

Headteacher Jon Hewitt said: “We are absolutely thrilled that we were successful pitching to the panel for funding. 

“The track will not only benefit the children at our school, but also children in our wider community too and so we’re keen to see the sports track in action as soon as possible.

“It will make such a difference to our pupils.

“We will be able to introduce the Daily Mile initiative and provide a safe space for children to learn cycling skills.

“This event has surpassed our expectations and has meant that this life-changing project, has now moved from a possibility to a reality.

“A huge thank you to Greenham Trust.”

Age Concern Newbury & District – which runs the Fair Close Centre – was also awarded £30,000 towards the lease and costs of a driver for a new minibus.

Chairwoman Josie Reed said: “We are really thrilled to have been awarded £30,000 by Greenham Trust atPitch to the Panel 2019.

“It was a nail-biting affair and the competition was hot, so we are very happy to share the funding with two other great charities.

“The money will enable us to lease a new minibus so we can extend our reach into rural areas and give lonely senior citizens the chance to enjoy all the facilities the Fair Close Centre provides.”

The final winner was West Berkshire League of Friends, which received £40,000 towards a new portable liver scanner for the West Berkshire Community Hospital that will allow assessment of patients who are at risk of liver cirrhosis.

Chairman Stuart Stephens said: “Pitch the Panel has helped to raise the profile of our charity and reach new audiences via social media.

“It also offers a unique opportunity to access substantial funds that would otherwise take a very long time to fundraise independently.

“We can now buy an urgently-needed liver scanning machine, benefitting the local community and possibly saving lives.

“We are overwhelmed by the support we’ve received and would like to thank everyone who voted for us.”

Greenham Trust chief executive Chris Boulton said: “We are thrilled for the three winning projects.

“The Dragons had a really tough decision this year as all the projects were extremely deserving of the funding.”

While the judges deliberated on the successful finalists, the audience were treated to music by singer Nicole Johnson.

The judges included Newbury Building Society chief executive Roland Gardner,   Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group chairman and locality lead (Newbury and District) Dr Abid Irfan, Berkshire Community Foundation chief executive Gerry Lejeune and Oxfordshire Community Foundation chief executive Jayne Woodley,

During the evening, Greenham Trust’s golden ticket also made its debut, where a member of the audience won £5,000 to donate to a project of their choice within Greenham Trust’s area of operation via The Good Exchange.

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