Newham

Community groups win stake in Aspers Good Causes Fund

2 November 2017 in 2012 Games and legacy and Mayor and Regeneration
Nineteen Newham groups have celebrated securing funding for inclusive sports training, music making and counselling projects in the latest round of the Aspers Good Causes fund.
The fund was set up in 2012 by Aspers Casino and Newham Council to support community projects based in the borough which aim to help local residents build their confidence and skills. Arts, dance, music, sport and charity organisations are able to bid for a slice of a £100,000 pot if they provide schemes which are inclusive for all.

This year’s grants have been given to 19 organisations for projects including outreach activities for isolated residents, music workshops for people living with dementia, sports clubs for young people and performing arts sessions for women living with learning disabilities.

A special celebration event took place yesterday (Wednesday 1 November) at Aspers Casino where the lucky groups accepted cheques of between £1,000 to £7,126 for their work.

Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, said: “The Aspers Good Causes fund makes a big difference to the lives of our residents, funding projects designed to boost their confidence and skills. Many of these schemes help to address inequalities in society and would not be possible without this funding, the experience our residents gain is invaluable.”

Meaghan, 17, took part in the Ursuline Links’ London Social Justice Project over the summer. Young adults volunteered at homeless shelters, food banks and elderly day care centres. She said: “It was a very fulfilling experience. I met some amazing people, including the other volunteers on the project, the people we were helping and the kind hearted people who serve tirelessly everyday. The leaders were so lovely, helpful and welcoming.

“It opened up my eyes to those who are less fortunate than me, and gave me the passion to want to help others in the future.”

Theatre Royal Stratford East (TRSE) secured £4,046 to put on 11 youth theatre workshops for 80 young people in the borough. Following the sessions 82 per cent of the young people said they felt their confidence had improved and 75 per cent felt that their language, literacy, numeracy and communication and presentation skills had been enhanced.

Chris Alexander, development officer for TRSE said: “This funding allowed us to put on an series of workshops which helped to engage some of the borough’s youngsters who would not necessarily come into contact with the theatre industry.

“The impact the sessions had on the young people were phenomenal. Many of the youngsters left the course with a completely different attitude towards the arts and their school work.”

In total, the 19 groups received almost £80,000 in funding. The remaining money will be spent on funding to enable 2,000 children and young people to visit the Aspinall Foundation’s Port Lympne and Howlet Wildlife Park in Kent, as well as the 3,000 food hampers which are given to the borough’s elderly residents who are living alone, on a low income, at Christmas time.

Sir Robin added: “We know that many of our elderly residents really enjoy the Christmas hamper that they receive, the few extra treats including vouchers for our leisure centres make a time of year which can be quite isolating, feel sweeter.”

Richard Smith, our Group Operations Director at Aspers Casino, said: “The Aspers Good Causes Fund is something that we deem a privilege to orchestrate. We feel honoured that our partnership with the council means that so many local community groups are given financial support and that local schoolchildren and elderly residents benefit as well.”

A full list of all the schemes supported through the fund since it started can be found at www.newham.gov.uk/Pages/Services/Aspers-Good-Causes-Fund.aspx​