Groups in pitch battle for funding

TEENAGERS looking for financial support for their groups and projects faced a Dragon s Den-style session last week – and came away with high hopes of cash, after their ideas were well received. The youngsters were invited to make their pitches to members

TEENAGERS looking for financial support for their groups and projects faced a Dragon's Den-style session last week - and came away with high hopes of cash, after their ideas were well received.

The youngsters were invited to make their pitches to members of a Youth Bank - a charity that allows young people to allocate funds to other teenagers.

At the Commemoration Hall on Thursday, Huntingdon Youth Centre came away with high hopes of support for six separate schemes. After an earlier application to the Youth Bank, the centre had already heard that it had received £3,393 to buy instruments for its Live Music project. This means it will continue offering free music tuition after school on Wednesday afternoons.

Now the group is also hoping to get cash support to:


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* Restore old bicycles to give to deserving people in Oxmoor.

* Offer free dance lessons to young people on Wednesday evenings.

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* Open a Juicy Café project with fruit juice and internet access.

* Send young motorcylists to the Gauntlet Project in Ramsey, a course that provides motorcycling tuition and mechanics classes.

* Take five coaches of youngsters on a day trip to Hunstanton in the summer holidays

* Send 15 trainee youth workers on courses at Grafham Water.

Youth worker Steph Webb said: "The place is buzzing with activity. We now have so many new projects to work on. We are delighted."

The Youth Bank, which distributes cash from the Government's Youth Opportunities Fund and Youth Capital Fund, has just announced that other Huntingdonshire groups have received grants after applications earlier this month.

Ramsey Mereside Youth Group - which has spent the past four years trying to raise £58,000 for a games pitch - now has the final piece of funding. The group received 10,000 from the Youth Bank. Work to build the pitch, suitable for football, basket ball and other games, will start this spring. John Chrisp, president of Ramsey Mereside Association, said: "We asked for £5,000 and they gave us £10,000. We did rather well.

"This has made it possible for the scheme to go ahead. We were worried that the other funders may not be prepared to wait for ever and might withdraw their pledges of money. This has freed us up to go forward."

The charity Speaking Up received £4,825 to support a project called Getting a Life. This is a group of eight teenage pupils at Spring Common School in Huntingdon who want to form a club for people with disabilities to access social events, such as outings to the cinema, horse riding and youth clubs.

Broad Leys Football Club in St Ives received £1,480 to buy equipment. There was also £1,721 for young people working on Ramsey's Community Garden at the Community Information Centre on the Great Whyte. The money will be used to buy benches, tools, trellis and pots. The organisers are hoping the garden will be formally opened this month.

INFORMATION: The grants were allocated by the Youth Bank that covers Huntingdonshire. The panel consists of six to 10 young people, aged 13-19, who review applications from other young people and decided whether to fund them. To find out how to apply for cash, contact Marion Branch on 01223 421588 or e-mail marion@cambscf.org

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