Moving and inspirational speeches were made on Thursday by members of community groups, charities and sports organisations from across the Melton borough as they received cheques from the 2019 Make It Happen funding scheme at a presentation night at Ragdale Hall Spa.
The Melton Times joined forces again with the spa, which once again put up £10,000 to be shared among worthy causes, for an intiative which has now been running for 14 years.
Astonishingly, the scheme has now given out almost £150,000 to help volunteers continue to support disadvantaged, disabled and vulnerable adults and also help children and young people take part in activities they might not otherwise get the chance to do.
Our editor, Mark Edwards, announced all the beneficiaries and he was joined on stage by Penny Nesbitt, the co-owner of the spa, who presented the cheques.
Mark said: “I would like to thank Ragdale Hall Spa for again putting up the money which makes such a difference to the lives of so many people in the Melton borough.
“It was very humbling to hear the speeches from those who came up to get their cheques and to learn about the invaluable work they do.”
David Hamdorff, chairman of Ragdale Hall Spa, said: “It was another fantastic awards evening with a record number of recipients.
“Ragdale Hall are immensely proud to be able to play our small part in helping the various organisations with their amazing projects.
“It certainly makes you feel quite humble when you hear the great work that is being done in the Melton borough to make this such a vibrant and supportive community.”
These are the organisations which benefited this year, with the amount of the individual grant in brackets:
Melton Mencap (£750)
Supports 90 people across the borough with learning difficulties to take part in wellbeing and fitness activities. Will use the money to pay for clients to play a variety of sports and run cooking and healthy eating courses. Teenager Claudia Bishop attended the presentation night with parents Brett and Leanne.
Trustee Madeleine Smith said: “We have to seek funding where we can and this money will be so important for us. Our members love playing sports and we’ve just started a new group called ‘Move it and groove it’ which everyone enjoys.”
Drop-In Club (£300)
This is for people aged 55 and over who are isolated and lonely who meet every week at Gloucester House. The money will help pay for coach trips out of town.
One of the organisers, Doug Goss, said: “We feel lucky to receive this money. It has already paid for one trip this year and hopefully we’ll go on more now.”
Asfordby Amateurs Ladies Girls & Inclusive FC (£500)
This football club has 170 women and girls playing regularly for it. The club’s Sharon Reason said: “We are planning on using the money to fund some drop in football sessions at Hartopp Road and West Avenue in Melton using FA Level 1 coaches. It will be free of charge and offered to children of all ages, so they have a chance to have a kickabout in the local area.”
Melton and Belvoir School Sport & Physical Activity Network (£500)
This is a network of school games organisers, head teachers and members of the Melton Sport and Health Alliance which delivers sports leadership and competitions in schools across the borough. Clare Marlow, one of the organisers, said: “This money will provide opportunities for young people to access different coaching and leadership qualifications to help them take a first step towards a job in sport. Without developing young leaders like this we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.”
Melton Mowbray Toy Soldiers Band (£500)
This band is now 83-years-old, it is made up of children, young people and adults and has performed all over the UK as well as abroad. The money will help pay for renovations to their band room which is 40 years old. Honorary secretary, Brian Gordon, said: “Our band room started life in Coventry just after the war when it was a pre-fab which housed bombed-out families. It needs work doing to it and because we don’t get many donations this money will come in very useful.”
Shopmobility Melton Mowbray (£500)
A charity which hires out mobility scooters and wheelchairs to people with disabilities, the elderly and those with mobility issues. Jade Meads, one of the organisers, said: “The money means we can continue to hire out our scooters and help those who come into town to get about more easily so it is very welcome.”
Melton Mowbray Lifesaving Club (£500)
Trains young people adults to save lives including teaching the use of defibrillators. The money will be used to refurbish and upgrade equipment.
Honorary secretary, Alistair Nairn, said: “We’ve spent over 30 years teaching people and children aged eight upwards lifesaving skills. We really appreciate this money.”
The Parish Community Lunch (£250)
Provides communal lunches for isolated, lonely and vulnerable people living in villages to the south of Melton. The donation will help pay transport costs for volunteer drivers. Annette Piper said: “We organise these lunches for people who would normally eat a meal on their own. We have them often in interesting and exciting venues and we rely on our volunteers to get people there.”
Melton Learning Hub (£299)
Offers alternative learning courses to young people who are disengaged with mainstream education. The money will pay for a band saw to help students on construction courses. Lucie Larke, from the hub, said: “We believe all young people deserve opportunities to achieve in life. Some of our students now work at Ragdale Hall Spa. This will help those on construction courses, which are the most popular with the beauty courses as well.”
Mummy Meetups (£500)
A new Melton group which already has 100 members and which provides ‘pop-up’ events for mums, mums-to-be and grandparents. Baby books, toys and refreshments will be bought with the money and a new website will be launched. Founder Rochelle Roffe said: “Our aim is to provide the best possible support for babies and children and those who care for them.”
Melton Marvels Netball Club (£600)
Has three senior teams playing in local leagues and sessions recently started for girls aged eight to 16. This money will pay for team kit, hoodies and training T-shirts for the youngsters. The club’s Faye Meakin said: “Our junior section has grown much more rapidly than we expected. The money allows us to provide them with kit to give them a real sense of belonging to our club.”
Pablo’s Horse Sanctuary (£500)
Gives a home to 90 horses and ponies which would otherwise have nowhere else to live. The grant will pay for a new CCTV system to protect the animals, staff, food stocks and equipment. Sue Grogan, from the sanctuary, said: “We look after horses and ponies who are homeless through no fault of their own. This last year has been one of our toughest because no grass has grown and we’ve had to buy in hay and food for the animals. We are so grateful for this donation.”
Wellbeing Arts Group (£500)
Runs art sessions at Kathryn Saunby’s Melton studio every week for people with mental health issues as a form of therapy and to give them social interaction.
The group’s Chelsea Burgin said: “This will help us provide subsidised sessions so more people can afford to come. Please let us know if you know anyone who would benefit from what we do.”
A self-funded group which looks after the interests of residents living in the south of Melton. The grant will help pay for coach outings for families and older people. Chairman John Bellamy said: “The cost of hiring buses has gone up - we were quoted £600 for one for a day and that was with a discount. We can afford to take residents out on trips now with this donation.”
The Melton Gig Guide (£250)
An online guide to the local music scene which started as a weekly column in the Melton Times. Founder Pete Wilkinson now runs it online and will use the money to upgrade coverage. He said; “This will help us launch Melton Gig Guide TV through You Tube so we can showcase all the acts and gigs more effectively for music fans.”
Melton In Bloom (£500)
A dedicated band of around 20 volunteers who make the town more attractive with floral displays and who are hoping to win Melton’s first Royal Horticultural Society’s gold award this year. Chairman Brian Hodder said: “One of things we are doing at the moment is going into local schools with a wheelbarrow of soils and teaching the children how to plant herbs and show them how they can be used in the kitchen. The money will really help with everything we do.”
Runfit Melton & Belvoir (£300)
This group organises fitness and running sessions mainly for primary school children from all over the borough. The money wil pay for medals. merit cards and leadership courses for youngsters. Organiser Vicky Adkins said: “We have up to 50 children attending some of our sessions. We also have a core group of older teenagers and we’ll use the money to put them through leadership courses so they can take the sessions.”
Paint The Town Red (£500)
This is an annual family entertainment event which wll be held for the third time in Melton town centre on Sunday June 30. The donation will help maintain the standard of acts and activities. Organiser Sharon Astill said: “It’s always been well attended and it showcases lots of the great things which going on in Melton Mowbray.”
Storehouse Melton Vineyard (£500)
Provides a food and clothes bank for disadvantaged and homeless people in Melton from The Fox pub. The money will help pay for a new cooker to enable users to cook better and healthier meals. Co-ordinator Phil Johnson said: “Currently we can only offer cheese toasties and soup with our cooking facilities as they are but this will buy us a six-ring cooker which will jump us up to another level so we are vert grateful.”
Belvoir Cricket & Countryside Trust (£365)
Organises cricket sessions to promote health and fitness for youngsters. The money will pay for a tournament for schools which coaches go into to hire the pitch at Knipton, pay for medals and a trophy. The trust’s Michael Cooke said: “This will give around 150 children a day to remember and encourage them to keep fit out of school and perhaps join local cricket clubs.”
Melton Basketball Club (£270)
This club runs Saturday coaching sessions for up to 60 youngsters and the money will be used to take the game to children from low income families.
Coach Neil Atkins said: “We are targeting two particular schools and providing subsidised sessions so the children can play for only £1 a session.”
Parkinsons UK - Melton Support Group (£200)
They support around 40 members and the money will pay for a speaker system and microphone to help everyone communicate. Member Christine Radford said: “The condition affects the voice and makes it much quieter so some members can’t hear a word said. This money will come in very handy for us.”
Belvoir Wassailers (£500)
This choir, based at Knipton, has raised nearly £50,000 for charities both locally and further afield. The money will help members buy portable staging, a conductor rostrum and LED lights. Member Graham Allen said: “We can only do what we do thanks to grants like this. We focus on local communities and helping raise money for them with our performances.”
Residents Action Group Egerton (RAGE) (£200)
This group looks after the interests of people living in the Egerton ward area of Melton. The money will pay for a coach day trip for families and older people. Committee member Carol Pick said: “We like to put on an annual trip but buses are becoming more expensive. We have to look at extra funding and we are thankful for this money.”
Judges had also originally allocated £600 to Oasis Family Centre but the Melton pre-school unfortunately had to decline the donation because of uncertainty about its future.