Melton should be proud of the legions of kind and inspiring volunteers who give their time to help vulnerable members of our community.
That was the heartwarming message everyone took away from this year’s Make It Happen presentation night at Ragdale Hall Spa on Thursday.
This is the 13th year the Melton Times has teamed up with the spa to give away £10,000 to worthy causes across the borough.
Ragdale managing director David Hamdorff summed up the mood perfectly when he told successful applicants: “There is an incredible sense of community in Melton.
“Comparing it with down south, where I used to live, it is something we should all be very proud of.”
Judges had a very tough choice when it came to allocating the fund, which was once again generously put up by Ragdale, with more than 50 applications to sift through.
They decided to give it out to 20 different community groups, charities and sports organisations.
Representatives of each recipient were called up on stage to receive a cheque and a certificate from Ragdale co-owner Penny Nesbitt.
First up were the Drop-In Club, which has been running since 1976 for people aged 55 and over.
Doug Goss, Margaret Pedge and Maureen Farrow received a cheque for £300, which will pay for a coach to take the 54 members on excursions on top of their weekly meetings at Gloucester House in Melton.
Ivor Ruddle and Angela Dawson attended on behalf of the Melton and District Furniture Project, which takes in and repairs items and distributes them to those in need.
Their £134.94 donation will pay for three new trolleys to carry the furniture in.
Angela explained that volunteers, many of whom are retired, were struggling with ageing barrows which were in a bad state of repair.
Melton Child Contact Centre were given a donation of £500 to help with their annual rent cost at Sage Cross Methodist Church.
Valerie Ball and Pauline Christian collected a cheques on behalf of the organisation, which provides a safe, neutral venue for children to meet a parent who no longer lives with them.
Valerie said: “We are so grateful for this donation.
“This money is for all those babies and children to help them see their mum or dad who doesn’t live with them anymore.”
The Parish Community Hub received £275 to pay for volunteer drivers to transport more than 90 elderly members from 16 villages to the south of Melton to lunch events and outings.
Vic Allsop, who received the cheque with fellow organisers Janet Norburn and Pat Earl, said: “It’s very important that people have the confidence to break that cycle of being alone. Our members get the chance to get out once a month a make new friends.”
Julie Vickery and Janet Elmore were handed a cheque for £500 on behalf of The Lodge Trust, which supports adults with learning disabilites, with 30 living on site at Market Overton and 15 attending daily.
The money will pay for a carding machine to help members make art and craft products to sell at fairs and markets.
The Belvoir Cricket and Countryside Trust will buy a new sun shelter for their Knipton base so the hundreds of children they work with can get respite from the elements.
Eddie Pearson and John Mace collected a cheque for £447.96 on behalf of the organisation which inspires youngsters to lead healthy and active lives through sport and a love of the countryside.
Melton Mowbray Tennis Club picked up a cheque for £500 to help support the tennis sessions it gives for young people and adults with learning, sensory and physical disabilities, including pupils from Birch Wood Area Special School in Melton.
Coach Brent Horobin said: “I was a bit nervous when I started working with these young people but it has been so rewarding - it’s been absolutely brilliant.”
Melton’s Shout4Residents group made a successful application for £750 to pay for sports equipment, a karaoke machine, bean bags and snack bar stock for The Edge Youth Club. Ward borough councillors Alison Freer-Jones and Tom Greenow collected a cheque for the group.
A donation of £500 was made to Melton Mencap, which supports more than 50 people with learning disabilities, from mild to profound and multiple.
Kim Wilday and Mary Le-Fevre Smith explained that the money would fund sports activities such as archery, new age kurling, swimming, boccia and yoga for members.
The Melton Community Allotment scheme will benefit from the fund to the tune of £500. Volunteers work with people with learning difficulties and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds to give them the chance to learn how to grow food, nurture plants and be outside in a healthy environment.
Hilary Sharpe attended to receive a £300 donation on behalf of Melton Baptist Church and their scheme to provide Christmas lunches for solitary eldery people in the borough.
She said: “We started 10 years ago with only four people and lastvyear we had 60.”
Storehouse Melton will use their £500 cheque to buy two lockable filing cabinets to store records of the hundreds of disadvantaged people and families they support.
Caroline Stannard, from the charity, said many families were struggling in Melton because of benefits changes and they gave out 2,500 emergency food bags last year.
A network of school games organisers, head teachers and PE staff, known as Melton and Belvoir School Sport and Physical Activity Network, were given £500.
They organise sports sessions for young people who have self-esteeem issues and are reluctant to take part.
A specially-adapted saddle will be bought for children who attend The Mount Group Riding for the Disabled club with the £500 they received.
Caroline Hodges and Diana Poyser explained that the saddle would have Velcro blocks to secure the legs of youngsters with core problems to help them ride horses and ponies for therapeutic help.
Pablo’s Horse Sanctuary, which cares for more than 100 horses and ponies which are ill or unable to be looked after by their owners, received a donation of £600. Founder Carole Fielding was unable to attend because she was looking after a sick animal but her colleague John Brown explained the money would pay to repair guttering and the water system at the Long Clawson yard to save volunteers from using heavy buckets.
The Oasis Family Centre looks after dozens of young children from disadvantaged Melton families and they were grateful for a donation of £690 to pay for healthy, nutritional lunches and snacks for the youngsters.Vikki Houghton and Gemma Warrener picked up the cheque on behalf of the Nottingham Street centre.
Equipment for new age kurling and croquet will be bought for the 700 retired members of the Melton University of the Third Age group with their £908 cheque.
Sue Wright, who attended with Trevor Wright and Rosemary Barton, said: “One of the main aims of the U3A is to promote a healthy mind and body and this money will help us do that.”
Brenda Cox and Susan Gray attended on behalf of the Melton branch of the Royal Air Force Association (RAFA) to receive a cheques for £600.
The money will pay for a traffic management company to manager the road closure for September’s Battle of Britain parade.
Brenda said: “This money will help us run the parade this year because the police can no longer offer help with marshalling. It is a big year this year with it being the 100th anniversary of the formation of the RAF and it will be a parade as big as the one for Remembrance Sunday.”
Two of the recipient organisations were unable to attend the presentation but will pick up their cheques from Ragdale at a later date.
One was Parents’ Solution Circle, which received £500 to help pay their rent for support sessions at The Edge community centre for parents of children and young adults with special needs and/or behavioural problems.
The other was Melton Learning Hub, which offers alternative courses to young people who are disengaged from traditional education.
They get a £598 grant to pay for two SLR digital cameras for new media and photography programmes.
Melton Times editor, Mark Edwards, who introduced all the recipients on stage, said: “We would like to thank Ragdale Hall Spa for so generously putting up the £10,000 once again.
“We are very proud to work with them on Make It Happen and to be able to help so many important community organisations.”