Dragon’s Den-style event sees charities share nearly £73k of National Lottery cash

PUBLISHED: 16:16 04 February 2018 | UPDATED: 16:27 04 February 2018

Community groups won nearly £73,000 at The Funding Den. Pictures: Richard Crease.

Community groups won nearly £73,000 at The Funding Den. Pictures: Richard Crease.

Richard Crease/Big Lottery Fund

A Dragons’ Den-style event saw nearly £73,000 in National Lottery grants awarded to 10 different charities.

Big winners at The Funding Den event included In Charley’s Memory, Hands of Change and Somerset Time for Youth which each received a £10,000 grant.

A packed audience in Burnham-On-Sea’s Princess Theatre, in Princess Street, were handed a ballot card upon arrival and of the 15 community groups pitching for funding, each audience member could cast four votes apiece.

A team of judges, which included councillors Mike Facey, Mike Cresswell, Kathy Pearce and the Big Lottery Fund’s Tom McCulloch, had the final say.

Burnham and Highbridge’s Men’s Sheds was one of the night’s winners and gained its requested amount of £9,300.

Burnham and District In Bloom.Burnham and District In Bloom.

Men’s Shed’s Mark Canfield said: “We are delighted to get such substantial funding.

“It means we can expand our group further and push on with our new project, Women’s Sheds.”

Hands of Change will use the money to launch a smiles for miles minibus scheme, which will deliver meals and other valuable items to vulnerable people in Burnham, Highbridge and the surrounding area.

MORE: Homeless charity Hands of Change wins community pride award.

Somerset Time for Youth.Somerset Time for Youth.

The group’s founder, Kay Barrett, said: “I cannot believe it, to think I started this group on Facebook two years ago, to where we are now is incredible.

“The money is vital to us and I cannot thank my team of volunteers enough.”

Compere Ade Bowden made sure the evening ran smoothly, while young singer Gracie Wickens-Sweet, of Brent Knoll, who featured in the semi-finals of ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent, provided live entertainment.

Thomas McCulloch, regional head of funding at the Big Lottery Fund, said: “It was inspiring to see the enthusiasm and passion of each of the pitches on the night, the majority of which were from organisations that haven’t applied for National Lottery funding before.”

Five community groups were unsuccessful - Burnham and District In Bloom, Burnham Pilot Gigs, Burnham Railway Heritage, Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership and Wembdon Parklands and Community Together – but the Big Lottery said that help and potential future funding would be given to them.

Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership.Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership.

Hands of Change demonstrating their smiles for miles minibus scheme.Hands of Change demonstrating their smiles for miles minibus scheme.

In Charley's Memory.In Charley's Memory.

The Funding Den at the Princess Theatre.The Funding Den at the Princess Theatre.

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