A CHARITY is calling on Hunts Post readers to help young people with disabilities take part in an exciting and innovative project by simply going online and making a pledge from tomorrow (March 1).

The Get Creative, Get Afloat multimedia barge is set to be unveiled in April, but before it makes its maiden voyage on Cambridgeshire's waterways organisers want to kit it out with specialist equipment to ensure the vessel is disabled-friendly.

St Ives-based charity Young Lives was awarded £60,000 from the Jubilee People's Millions competition for the Get Creative, Get Afloat project following a televised phone vote in June last year.

Half of the money was used to buy the 50ft-long widebeam vessel, and the rest used to kit it out with the latest music technology for a recording and editing suite.

Since September volunteers have worked tirelessly after-work and at weekends to give the barge a complete make-over. Painting inside the barge is due to be completed over the next week, with the first on-board taster sessions scheduled for April.

But in order to make the boat ship-shape for young people with disabilities as well as able-bodied teenagers, the charity needs another £8,000 for a hoist or a ramp.

A £3,000 donation from one organisation has been pledged for the kit, but is yet to be confirmed.

Kevin Burke, a fundraiser with Young Lives said: "Get Creative Get Afloat is a new, exciting and innovative project for young people by young people.

"This project offers all the benefits of a static creative facility but with the flexibility to move from place to place via the rivers network.

"We want to offer this opportunity to the wider community by raising £5,000 towards the purchase of specialist equipment to give access to young people with disabilities so that they too can share in the experience."

Young Lives are calling on as many people as possible to sign up to Localgiving's Love Your Community Challenge. Every donation made to Young Lives through the Localgiving.com website from March 1 over the next three weeks will be match-funded.

If the charity can secure £2,500 worth of pledges by March 21, it will see them walk away with £5,000.

Kevin said: "The challenge is a fantastic opportunity for us to gain extra funding for projects that benefit young people and lets you give locally to your community.

"The Get Creation Get Afloat boat will provide young people with the opportunity to explore their skills and natural abilities by providing a venue that can physically get them about in the places they live.

"One of the biggest barriers to young people with disabilities historically is accessibility. By providing the means necessary, young people will be physically able to integrate with their peers on projects which will enable them to just be a teenager. This way it is the teenager that is seen and not the disability."

INFORMATION: Localgiving.com is a social enterprise owned by the Community Foundation Network (CFN) and the Ardbrack Foundation, both registered charities. The suggested minimum donation for the business community is £100. To donate or for more details on the Love Your Community Challenge call Kevin on 01480 494333 or go to https://localgiving.com/charity/younglives