Your vote decides £1,000 Community Fund winner

Idlewells �1,000 giveaway to a deserving community group.''Assistant Manager Chloe O'Donnell holds �1,000 in cash at the stall where people can vote.''Picture by Dan Westwell
Idlewells �1,000 giveaway to a deserving community group.''Assistant Manager Chloe O'Donnell holds �1,000 in cash at the stall where people can vote.''Picture by Dan Westwell
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Five good causes have been shortlisted from among dozens of contenders for the chance of a £1,000 cash donation from Idlewells Shopping Centre’s Community Fund.

And criteria set out was that the groups or organisations applying should positively affect communities local to the Idlewells.

The first Community Fund of £1,000 was awarded to Ashfield Community First Responders in the summer but this time the public has been invited to choose the most worthy.

Chloe O’Donnell, Assistant Manager at Idlewells, said: “We had a number of high quality applications for our £1,000 donation and have had to go through an extremely difficult task in whittling them down to five.

“We hope that local people will understand just how much a £1,000 donation could help people to carry on doing invaluable work in our communities - and take the time to come to the centre and vote.”

Details of the five finalists are as below:

l Patches Heart Group, based in Sutton, supports children with congenital heart defects and acquired heart conditions and their families with parent-to-parent support and information and signposting.

It was nominated by Sarah Milner (37), of Mansfield, who found Patches invaluable when her son, Ben (3), was diagnosed with Shrones Complex - which affects the left side of his heart.

She said: “When he was diagnosed we felt quite alone but then we found Patches and went to some of their groups - it was just nice to talk with others in a similar position.

“We feel less on our own now and are grateful to have been put in touch with people going through something similar to us.”

l Skegby-based Supporting Parents In Crisis provides practical help and support for parents with a number of different problems.

They include dealing with social services intervention, disabled children, benefits problems, food bank referrals, autism in children, behavioural problems, and bullying.

Chairman Sheila Riley said: “A lot of what we do is signposting to other services because it can be so disjointed.

“We try and pull all the services together for our clients because it can be a lot of legwork and phone calls getting round all the different agencies for them to get what they need, so we do that for them.

“I would say we are pretty elated that we have been shortlisted because we are self-funded. This grant will help pay for the rent on the room we use for our coffee chat sessions.”

l Kirkby-based Our Centre recruits and supports volunteers to provide services for elderly people in the community who may be ill, disabled, vulnerable or isolated, and provides them a community transport service to improve their quality of life.

Assistant manager Angie Peppard said: “This will make such a difference because we have a lot of volunteers - about 60 - and we would not be able to do this without them.

“But we are looking at training to improve their skills and they have expenses which have to be paid for.

“Our service is so important because it stops people getting isolated.

“People living on their own and not in the best of health, particularly in the long winter months, can go for days without seeing anyone.”

l Nottinghamshire Blood Bikes, which has 43 riders and has been in existence for 18 months, provides voluntary emergency transport services for King’s Mill Hospital.

If successful, the organisation would use cash to buy 25 high-visibility jackets for the riders’ safety and to provide a recognisable uniform.

At present, Nottinghamshire Blood Bikes transports frozen breast milk to the hospital but when the group is tasked with delivering blood it will be all the more important that its riders are recognisable to other motorists.

l Sutton’s Jimmy Beans children’s indoor play centre is organising a Christmas Party for around 60 terminally ill children and their families and raising money for The Children’s Bereavement Centre and Patches.

If the centre wins the £1,000 donation it will be used to make the party bigger and even more memorable than already planned and include Santa, a brass band, presents, food, sweet carts, hand castings and a professional photographer.

Owner Craig James said: “Last year we raised over £2,000 pounds and this year we are setting our sights higher.

“We would love to raise more to really make a once in a lifetime Christmas experience for both the children and their parents and to make a real difference for these incredibly brave and inspiring children.”

Voting closes on Monday and you can back your winner by voting at a special booth set up at the Idlewells, opposite Specsavers, next to Massarella’s Cafe.