Newham community groups hit the jackpot with funding through Aspers grants scheme

25 September 2015 in Business and Community neighbourhoods
Seventeen Newham community groups have hit the jackpot thanks to a fund created by Aspers Casino and Newham Council.
The Aspers Good Causes Fund was set up in 2012 to support community projects across the borough helping local residents build their confidence and skills.

It provides £100,000 a year to help organisations working in the fields of education, art, dance, music, sport and the environment, who demonstrate value for money and deliver inclusive projects.

A special event was held last night (Thursday 24 September) at Aspers Casino, Westfield, Stratford, to celebrate the groups who have received funding of between £800 and £8,000.

Around 65 groups applied for funding with The 17 successful organisations including:
  • Newham Swords Fencing Club who received £6,400 towards running sessions for children with disabilities or special needs and adults who want to improve their fencing skills
  • £805 for Monega Residents Association for a project to bringing residents in Forest Gate together in a celebration of music
  • Stratford Circus Arts Centre received £7,790 to develop a high quality multi-sensory theatre project for young people with profound or multiple learning difficulties
  • £5,310 for Newham Chinese Association for a year-long programme of twice weekly events for older people at Beckton Community Centre
  • The Drop in Bereavement Centre received £4,400 to provide of workshops, support sessions and outings for those struggling to cope with the loss of a loved one.
In total the groups received £80,000 between them. The remaining £20,000 will fund tickets for 2,000 children and young people to visit the Aspinall Foundation’s Port Lympne and Howlet Wildlife Park in Kent as part of their schools wildlife conservation projects.

The event also celebrated the work of the ten groups who received funding through the scheme in 2014.

These included:
  • £3,500 for the 282 East Ham Air Cadets Squadron to buy new instruments and equipment for their marching band. The funding helped around 130 young people, aged 13 to 20, to try out playing an instrument and the cadet band has doubled in size to 30 people who regularly perform at public events.
  • I Can Play received £1,000 to run a special three-day camping trip for Newham families with disabled children.
  • The Light Night Project run by The Brick Box CIC was awarded £9,960. The project helped develop a free multi-cultural festival in Canning Town which attracted up to 4,000 people. Twenty six local volunteers took part in a range of pre-event skills workshops which also worked with more than a hundred local children.
Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, said: “It is fantastic that together with Aspers we have been able to support a wide range of organisations who play a big part in helping improve the lives of our residents.

“These worthwhile causes do wonderful work in helping those who need support to develop their confidence or skills due to their age, disability or because they are facing difficult and traumatic times in their lives.

“I am delighted that we have been able to support these schemes and through the Aspers Good Causes Fund which by the end of the year will have provided local groups with a total of £400,000. I hope we will be able to support even more in years to come.”

Richard Smith, Operations Director of Aspers, said: “We are delighted that Aspers Stratford Casino is able to play an active role in supporting the local community. This year, as with the last two years, we have supported some very worthwhile causes and I am sure the Aspers Good Causes Fund will continue to go from strength to strength.”

Quotes from some of the groups receiving funding

Tania Wilmer, Director of Stratford Circus Arts Centre, said: “This funding will has allowed us to hold two high-quality, multi-sensory theatre shows specifically designed for young people with profound and multiple learning disabilities as well develop a scheme to support low income families in attending the theatre.”

Alex Oma-Pius FRSA, Artistic Director of IROKO Theatre Company, said: “We are thrilled to have received the support which will enable us to use creative, fun and interactive art forms to enhance the skills, confidence and self-esteem of Newham residents, particularly children and young people.”

Linda Strachan BEM, Club Manager and coach of Newham Swords Fencing Club, said: “This award will enable us to serve the community through extra provision for adults and children with disabilities. I am delighted our work has been recognised by the fund.”

Felix Joseph, Public Relations Officer for Newham Youth Steel Band, said: we teach people the art of playing the steel pan and the money will help us provide music therapy for people with learning and physical disabilities, dementia, stokes and those over 55 years old to help reduce isolation.”