Last year, The Gazette helped give away £25,000 to deserving community organisations.
It came as part of a partnership with the Swallowdale Children’s Trust, which was set up 120 years ago to help young people.
The group and its trustees wanted to reach a new set of causes, and so appealed through The Gazette to find groups it could assist financially.
We were inundated with applications, and it was a tough choice for The Gazette and Swallowdale as we selected the 11 community groups and 13 individuals for a share of the cash.
The giveaway was hailed a success by the Swallowdale trustees, and we are delighted to announce it will return again this year, when Swallowdale and The Gazette team up again to give away £10,000.
Before next week’s official launch we thought it would be a good opportunity to look back on those groups and individuals helped in 2013 – and find out where they have used the money.
Chairman Nigel Law said: “The Community Giveaway was clearly extremely successful, with a wonderful presentation evening, which reassured the trustees that the Swallowdale Children’s Trust had reached areas of the Fylde coast and young people that it had not reached previously.
“We were also encouraged by the number of direct thank you letters sent by the recipients.”
Gazette Editor Jon Rhodes added: “The presentation evening we held last year, when Swallowdale trustees so kindly gave £25,000 to Fylde coast community groups, was wonderful.
“You could really see how much this meant to the youngsters and volunteers.
“We are delighted to be able to join forces with Swallowdale again this year and once again look forward to helping young people and the community.”
Carters Charity School
Carters Charity School in Preesall was given £1,000, which will be put towards a new kitchen for pupils.
Headteacher Brendan Hassett said the work had still not been carried out, as it required to closure of a school area.
Instead, the school is looking into further fund-raising to carry out other changes around the school, on Pilling Lane, at the same time.
He said: “We’re hoping to combine this with other changes in the school over the next year, and we’re looking to have the new kitchen fully working for September 2014 for the new curriculum.
“At the moment we have two cookery clubs a week, one for infants and the other for juniors, and they use cooking equipment which is basically wheeled around the school.”
Mr Hassett said cooking skills were to be introduced in the national curriculum next year, incorporating English, science and maths.
He added: “Having a kitchen with different level hobs, ovens and sinks will help us develop life skills for pupils.
“If we hadn’t been given the money from The Gazette’s Community Giveaway, this would not be possible.
“Thanks to The Gazette and Swallowdale, we have been enabled to provide something that completely enhances our curriculum.”
Children’s Independent Domestic Violence Advisor Service
Children’s IDVA (Independent Domestic Violence Advisor) service, known as The Den, in Blackpool, offers support for children and young people in the town who have been affected by domestic abuse.
It was awarded £4,000 to help it maintain regular contact with a large number of children and young people, and offer a range of summer activities.
The Den’s senior practitioner Sarah Midgley said: “The summer holiday period can be an isolating and vulnerable time for some young people, as they may not have contact with friends or support networks.
“The grant that was awarded by the The Gazette and Swallowdale has enabled us to provide a range of activities over last summer, allowing them to meet new friends, learn new skills and have fun in a safe environment.
“The programme of activities was chosen by the children we work with.”
Sarah said the children were able to take part in activities they might not have otherwise had the opportunity to participate in, such as ice skating, going to the cinema, street dancing and cooking.
Children also went to Blackpool Zoo, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, the circus and enjoyed a trip to see the Wizard of Oz.
Sarah added: “We are extremely grateful to The Gazette and Swallowdale for enabling us to provide these activities, which were a huge success and received lots of positive feedback from the young people.”
Blackpool Boys and Girls Club
Blackpool Boys and Girls Club was awarded the highest amount through our Community Giveaway – £5,000.
And it couldn’t have come at a better time, as the club, based at Laycock Gate in North Shore, was looking at closing if funds weren’t made available.
Chairman Shirley Green said: “We weren’t going to be able to carry on.
“Thanks to The Gazette and Swallowdale, as well as other funding we have been able to secure, our funds are now able to see us through certainly for the next 12 months, possibly another three years. The future is definitely looking a lot rosier than it was.”
Shirley said that, as well as being able to put more events on for the club’s children, it was a huge morale boost for the people who are dedicated to running it.
She said: “When it was announced we had got £5,000, I was just trying not to cry and I think the other members were too.
“We were so desperate for it – the money was a real lifeline for is and a huge boost to us all.
“It meant we could see a future for ourselves and carry on fund-raising knowing we had the money to carry on.
“We’re not going to rest on our laurels, and we knew there is more hard work to be done. We’re not at full strength yet – we used to run five days a week and at the moment we’re running three days a week.
“But I’d rather do three days for three years than five days for 12 months.”
The Swallowdale cash has been used to take children ice skating, on a trip to the pantomime, and has ensured that every child has a Christmas present this year.
It has also helped pay for letters to be sent to the South African embassy following the death of Nelson Mandela, and helped further fund-raising efforts to help the victims of the Philippines typhoon.
Our giveaway has also allowed the Boys and Girls Club to take on new staff members.
Shirley added: “We are so grateful to The Gazette and Swallowdale for giving us this bright future.”
The Swallowdale Children’s Trust
The Swallowdale Children’s Trust dates back to 1894, when a woman called Sarah Massey left money in her will to be spent on an orphanage for Blackpool.
Twenty years later, the Blackpool Orphanage was opened on Talbot Road, and in 1960 a purpose-built orphanage was created on Hornby Road, Blackpool, called the Swallowdale Children’s home.
By 1980, Swallowdale Children’s Trust was created to help disadvantaged young people in Blackpool and the Fylde to overcome their social and financial difficulties, and when, 18 years later, the home went into the ownership of Blackpool Council, the trust’s prime purpose became helping children and young people up the age of 25.
The money used to help local young people comes from grants and bequests, and applications are considered by the Swallowdale trustees every eight weeks.
n Anyone who wants to make a request for funding to Swallowdale can write to Swallowdale Children’s Trust, PO Box 1301, Blackpool, FY1 9HD