Charities thank Sun readers for cash boost from our £1million 50th birthday fund

CHARITIES across Britain have been saying thanks a million to The Sun for grants from our special 50th birthday fund.

We launched our £1million giveaway last year and asked YOU to nominate causes close to your heart for a cash boost of between £2,000 and £20,000.

Applications are judged by our panel including Sun Agony Aunt Deidre Sanders.

Many charities have seen fundraising decimated during the Covid pandemic so our grants have been a lifeline.

Martin Phillips brings you the stories of the amazing work carried out by our latest recipients.

Dunfermline Foodbank

Health and Wellbeing, £2,600

THE foodbank, which serves those in need throughout West Fife, has seen a constant growth in demand ever since it opened in 2012, but never more than at the height of the Coronavirus lockdown.

The charity last year issued 64 tonnes of food to more than 7,500 people, including more than 3,000 children.

Yet Project Manager Sandra Beveridge explained: “The number of people we help virtually doubled in April.

“A lot of it, I think, was because people were scared and fearing food shortages.”

A huge bonus was that local people and firms stepped up with donations to make sure there was food available for families in the Dunfermline, Rosyth, Inverkeithing, Benarty and Cowdenbeath areas.

Also, though the charity had to close its food issue points and many volunteers were themselves shielding because of their age or health issues, more volunteers came forward to make sure vulnerable families got a home delivery service.

The grant on behalf of The Sun’s readers has helped to keep the charity going, and Sandra said: “We are very grateful.”

Give A Dog A Bone

Animals and the Environment, £10,000

WHY try to tackle one of society’s problems when you can combat two? Give A Dog A Bone addresses loneliness among the elderly by providing the companionship of a pet in need of a loving home.

Founder Louise Russell explains: “If your neighbour is lonely and would love to have a pet but can’t afford one, we can help on three conditions.

"First the person must be 60 or older; secondly, money must be a barrier to them getting a pet and thirdly it must be a rescue animal.

“It’s a win-win. The person gets a friend and the animal gets a home.” The charity is based in Glasgow but the scheme is available across the UK.

Even so, the over-60s don’t have to take on a pet to enjoy the companionship of animals.

Retired people can make new friends, learn new skills and perhaps pet the dogs at the HW. It offers free activities for the over-60s, from yoga to learning new languages or having reflexology treatments.

Louise said: “We have big dreams to grow the charity to reach more people, and rescue animals, who need our help, and to bring about real change in local communities.”

Spitalfields City Farm

Animals and the Environment, £10,000

WHILE children and teachers up and down the country have been busily preparing for a return to lessons, staff and animals at the Spitalfields City Farm have been doing the same.

For more than 40 years the farm and its residents – including donkeys, sheep, goats, chickens, rabbits – have been a valuable community learning resource in the heart of Tower Hamlets, East London, one of the most deprived boroughs in the UK.

While a core of staff have carried on tending to the animals and growing the vegetables, the gates have sadly been closed to visitors for months because of Covid-19.

Now staff are getting ready to re-open the farm to coincide with the new school term.

Jenny Bettenson, the Farmyard Co-ordinator, said: “For teachers bringing their pupils to the farm, the animals are a valuable asset to support learning in all areas of the curriculum – from literacy, numeracy and science to art.

“So much of that good work has been put on hold because of the lockdown.

“But the cost of looking after the animals and running the farm has continued, which is why a donation from The Sun Readers’ Fund has been so valuable.”

British Lung Foundation

Health and Wellbeing, £20,000

THE 12million Brits affected by lung conditions are more at risk of severe illness caused by Covid-19, so pressure on the Foundation’s services has hugely increased.

Money from The Sun’s fund enabled the BLF to recruit an additional information assistant and build a befriending scheme, whereby staff and volunteers call those who are isolated because of shielding.

Andy Jackson, from the BLF’s fundraising team, said: “The money from The Sun helped us to increase the helpline team so we were able to answer as many calls and social media messages as possible.

“Your help has provided invaluable emotional support and up-to-date information and advice to a lot of people at a worrying and challenging time.”

West Bromwich Royal Navy Association

Veterans, £6,000

THE isolation of social distancing has been tough for veterans and local residents, who would normally have met up at the Royal Navy Association club in West Bromwich, in the West Midlands.

Now, as restrictions are eased, the ex-military men and women will be perfectly placed to make the most of the new freedoms, thanks to a grant from our fund to make their club’s run-down galley ship-shape.

The kitchenette had been used to provide free snacks for veterans but it had become run down and un-usable.

Chairman Graham Smith said: “Now we will be able to cater for charity events and for members as they begin to return. We are eternally grateful to The Sun.”

Stick n Step

Children and Young People, £10,000

ONE in 400 children in the UK has cerebral palsy.

The Wallasey and Runcorn-based Stick ’n’ Step supports children and young people with the condition from Merseyside, Cheshire, Manchester and North Wales in an effort to improve their mobility and confidence by providing conductive education (CE), which has been found to be highly effective.

More than 100 children are provided with a specialised programme of activity-based tasks designed to help them learn key skills.

Fundraiser Janet Ratcliffe said: “It is a very special place to work.

"We thank The Sun for helping us to continue inspiring and enabling children with cerebral palsy to lead a more independent life.”

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