A Dereham charity has scooped the top prize in our £16,000 giveaway, helping it to carry on looking after some of the area's most vulnerable people. 

Dereham Meeting Point was one of 10 East Anglian nominees through to the final stage of the Readers’ Choice Cash for Charity campaign.

It fell to readers to determine the split of the pot by collecting tokens in the Dereham Times, Eastern Daily Press and the Norwich Evening News over four weeks. 

Eastern Daily Press: The Dereham Meeting Point off Saint Withburga LaneThe Dereham Meeting Point off Saint Withburga Lane (Image: Newsquest)

And this week, staff and service users at Meeting Point were delighted to discover their cause had finished top of the pile thanks to supporters.

The group amassed £3,772.98 worth of tokens, putting it ahead of fellow Norfolk charities North Walsham Play, Age UK Norwich, 1st Attleborough (St Mary's) Scout Group and Topcats. 

Shonette Mooney, manager of Meeting Point, called the result of the competition "absolutely amazing" and hailed the community's contribution. 

She said: "We only hoped for £1,000 and thought that would have been wonderful, so we're totally overwhelmed by this. It will make a huge difference.

Eastern Daily Press: Shonette Mooney, manager of Dereham Meeting PointShonette Mooney, manager of Dereham Meeting Point (Image: Newsquest)

"I didn't think a small charity like us would have a chance, but all our members were putting the word out to friends and people just kept coming in with tokens.

"I suppose it shows how well we are thought of here. We saw the community spirit a few years ago when we got broken into, and this has shown again what a tight community Dereham is."

Meeting Point, based off Saint Withburga Lane, supports over-55s, those living with dementia and younger members who have learning disabilities.

Locals are invited to meet, socialise and enjoy a range of activities from Monday to Friday.

Eastern Daily Press: Staff and members at Dereham Meeting PointStaff and members at Dereham Meeting Point (Image: Newsquest)

Miss Mooney said the charity's initial plan was to spend the winnings on upgrading old kitchen equipment, boosting its catering provision. 

Just last month, Meeting Point launched a new breakfast club to help members cope with the spiralling cost of living.

"We're in need of a new cooker and will convert from gas to electric," added Miss Mooney. 

"The breakfast club was only supposed to go on until March but, hopefully, we can now continue it beyond that."

Campaign cash may also help Meeting Point launch its own transport service for less mobile members. 

Eastern Daily Press: The Readers' Choice Cash for Charity campaign has been running i recent monthsThe Readers' Choice Cash for Charity campaign has been running i recent months