Shuttle backs two good causes with £18,000 in grants

Kidderminster Shuttle: Cash boost: Fund-raising officer Val Hinton, left, and volunteer Denise Bedrock, with the old minibus currently used by the Wyre Forest MS branch. Buy this photo » Cash boost: Fund-raising officer Val Hinton, left, and volunteer Denise Bedrock, with the old minibus currently used by the Wyre Forest MS branch.

TWO lucky Wyre Forest groups will be bringing in the New Year with extra cheer after being handed thousands of pounds to boost their community work, courtesy of The Shuttle.

The 11th Kidderminster Harkaway Scout Group and the Wyre Forest MS Society have each scooped a large share of the Gannett Foundation Fund.

Gannett is the American owner of the Newsquest Media Group, which publishes The Shuttle, and its foundation gives hundreds of thousands of pounds to good causes in the UK every year.

The two Wyre Forest groups are now celebrating after receiving just over £18,000 between them to improve their facilities in coming new year.

A total of £6,292 was handed out to the Scout group for an indoor climbing wall, while the MS Society was given £12,000 towards a new mini - bus to ferry sufferers of the disease to social events and outings.

Val Hinton, the charity’s fund- raising officer, said the cash would make a huge difference to the group, which had already raised a large part of the cash needed for the £33,000 vehicle.

“It’s all our Christmases come at once, “ she said. “It will enable us to purchase the minibus without using our other funds, so it means we have still got grants for respite care and aids.”

She added their current 16-year- old minibus, also used to take the group’s 75 members to doctors’ appointments and branch meetings, desperately needed replacing as it had become “tired” and unreliable.

“The minibus gets people out into the community so they can socialise,” Mrs Hinton explained.

“The new bus will mean that we will be able to travel longer distances. In the summer months we could, perhaps, take people to the coast and they could have a day out by the sea, which would be absolutely lovely for them.

“At the moment we stick to shorter distances because with an old vehi - cle we don’t want to go too far.”

She added the group also desperately needed volunteer drivers for the new minibus, which it hoped to have in service by April.

Meanwhile, for the Harkaway Scout group, the Gannett cash will enable it to construct an indoor climbing wall at its headquarters in Broadwaters Drive.

The project will involve the con - struction of a plywood stud wall, which would provide a
climbing area of about 28 sq metres and four metres high at it highest point.

Marcus Hill, group chairman, said: “The wall will be a fantastic asset for us.

“It helps to strengthen a young person’s physical fitness, strength and ability and it’s a great confidence booster.

“We’re over the moon to have been successful in getting the money. It’s fantastic news.”

He added the wall would be installed by May. As well as being available for all members of the Hark away Scout group, made up of members from the Horsefair and Broadwaters areas, the wall will be also be opened up to the wider community.

It will be constructed by parents with experience in construction, while Beavers, Clubs and Scouts will be involved in the design, painting and fixing of the climbing holds.

The group hopes to have the wall constructed within nine months of receiving the cash, which will also be used to pay for safety equipment such as helmets and ropes.

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