Voluntary groups win slice of £30k funding pot

Members of the Norwich Diocesan Play Van Baconsthorpe group celebrate the grant from the LB150 Fund.

Members of the Norwich Diocesan Play Van Baconsthorpe group celebrate the grant from the LB150 Fund. Front row, from left: Rebecca Mack with Amelie and baby Elliott; Ruth Swinbourne with Jonjo; Laura Khalil with Calvin; Arthur Betts with Miriam. Back row, from left: Rebecca Reynolds from Lovewell Blake and Play Van development worker Lesley Gurney. Photo: Andy Newman - Credit: Archant

Nineteen community groups from across Norfolk and Suffolk have each received an early Christmas present in the form of a share of a £30,000 funding pot.

Raised by the chartered accountancy firm Lovewell Blake through its LB150 Fund, the bumper amount of money has been raised by the firm's staff and partners.

Set up in 2008 to mark Lovewell Blake's 150th anniversary, the original aim of the LB150 Fund was to raise £150,000 for local charities and community groups in five years but once the target was reached the firm decided to continue fundraising and to date has raised more than £250,000.

Receiving grants ranging in size from £400 to £2,000, amongst the recipients from the 2018 funding pot - which is the largest to date- are variety of groups and organisations from all over Norfolk and north Suffolk.

In Norfolk, recipients include; Community Action Norfolk, Norwich Diocesan Play Van, Norwich Door to Door, REMAP, South West Norfolk Youth Opportunities Project, Time Norfolk, West Norfolk Riding for the Disabled, Norfolk Area LGBT Project, Mundesley PCC, Norfolk Family Mediation Service, Hickling Playing Field and Recreation Ground Charity, North Breckland Youth for Christ, Eastern Rivers Community Gym and Hope, Willow Tree Garden and Sunbeams Play which are based in Great Yarmouth.

While in north Suffolk, Step in Beccles and B&B Theatre Company in Waveney have both received a share of the 2018 fund.

Gary Flatt, Lovewell Blake's CSR partner, said: 'We are delighted to be able to support such a variety of fabulous organisations which are doing such great work in our communities,

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'These groups are what bind our communities together, and they are the inspiration for our staff and partners to undertake fundraising activities throughout the year.

'This year we have given out a bumper £30,000, thanks to the efforts of our staff, and to everyone who supported our fundraising efforts during the year.

'We are very proud that we have now given out over a quarter of a million pounds to local community groups in the ten years that the LB150 Fund has been in existence – that is a significant achievement.'

Norwich Diocesan Play Van

Serving five Norfolk communities, the Diocesan Play Van, which runs two-hour play sessions for babies and young children, has received £2,000 from the LB150 Fund.

The money will be used by the organisation to help it run its existing groups in north Norfolk and to enable it to set up a new group in Cley-next-the-Sea.

Lesley Gurney a development worker who leads The Play Van said the groups were as important for the children as they were for their parents or carers: 'New parents in small rural communities can be very isolated, especially people who up until their child is born have been at work and may not have a strong social network in that community,'

'That socialisation is very important for the children as well, because there is some evidence that children coming into reception classes at primary school who have not had the company of other children start their school career at a disadvantage.'

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