In response to an application from a kinship carer of children at Ridgeway Primary School, Trustees agreed to support equipping a classroom for children with special educational needs.
Previously the children had been taught in the school library, but the new classroom will provide a dedicated space for them. Trustees noted that families were collecting items to equip the space and agreed a grant of £1,000 (September 2023).
Market Harborough Sea Cadet Corps lost the use of their previous premises in September 2023. Whilst they found a new base in the town, they needed to purchase two containers to store equipment. The group provides opportunities for young people aged between 9 – 17 years in its Cadet training programme and the Duke of Edinburgh awards.
Trustees were pleased to grant £5,000 towards purchase of the storage containers, to help the group continue and extend its work with young people in the area (August 2023).
Trustees continued to support Arts Fresco, the not-for-profit free street theatre event that attracts large crowds to the town. They awarded a grant of £5,000 towards the event which was held in September 2023 (August 2023).
Trustees agreed a grant of £2,000 towards a group scout camp at Rhyd Covert to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the 3rd Market Harborough Scouts. Approximately 120 children aged between 6 – 13 attended from the Squirrels, Beavers, Cubs and Scout groups. They enjoyed outdoor activities and a visit to the West Midlands Safari Park (June 2023).
Trustees awarded a grant of £500 to a student undertaking a sponsored bike ride to help fund his participation in a charitable expedition to support a local community abroad. They noted that the expedition would offer him a range of personal development opportunities. They were impressed by his fundraising and sponsorship activities, which have since resulted in him achieving his financial goal ahead of schedule (May 2023).
In recognition of the impacts of Covid on children’s mental health, Trustees supported the initiative by Ridgeway Primary Academy and Great Bowden Academy to create a sensory garden at each school. The gardens will offer a calm space for pupils and provide an outdoor learning space. Trustees were pleased to see the fund raising already underway and awarded a grant of £5,000, to be split between the two schools (Spring 2023).
The Sensory Garden at Ridgeway Primary Academy was completed in June 2023, and has been in near-daily use by the pupils and staff. It is a versatile space for the children to enjoy, play, draw, collect materials for lessons, listen to stories, and help with the care of the plants. The school was awarded the title of ‘Best Ornamental School Garden’ by East Midlands in Bloom in 2023.
Market Harborough Swimming Club was awarded a grant of £1,000 to subsidise training courses for volunteers. It has been used to subsidise swim teacher and coaching qualifications which support the work of the club and benefit its members (April 2023).
Trustees awarded a grant of £6,000 to Harborough District Scouts towards the cost of six scouts in its area of benefit attending the World Scout Jamboree in South Korea. It will enable the scouts to meet others from around the world and to develop skills for life. The group had already undertaken fundraising at community events and individuals were fundraising on their own initiative to contribute to the cost of attending the event (March 2023).
Trustees supported a proposal from Great Bowden Academy PTA to raise funds for sports equipment, to include basketball posts and balls, hockey sticks, netballs and cricket equipment. The equipment will support participation in sports and enhance extra-curricular sports clubs and physical education lessons.
The fact that the PTA was raising funds from other sources and that the equipment would improve extra-curricular sports was taken into account in awarding a grant of £500 (February 2023).
The Charity marked its 75th anniversary in 2021. In reviewing progress since its re-launch in 2017, the Trustees decided to take a more proactive approach to delivering the aims of the Charity, alongside the consideration of applications for assistance.
In 2021/22 Trustees agreed to prioritise ways to support children affected by school closures and restrictions on outdoor activities, resulting from the covid lockdowns. During 2022 they developed and promoted two schemes that have been rolled out in primary schools in the area – book vouchers and Forest Schools.
Initiatives developed in 2023 responded to the impact of increases in the cost of living. TOGS supermarket vouchers were offered through a scheme with HFM and a donation was made to support the work of the Harborough Hygiene Bank.
As a response to the increase in the cost of living in 2022/23 Trustees decided to make a financial donation of £7,320 to the Harborough Hygiene Bank in December 2023. This will assist its valuable work in meeting the rising need in the area for personal hygiene and cleaning products.
The Harborough Hygiene Bank was set up in 2020 and is run entirely by volunteers. It collects donations of products from the community for distribution to people in need. The Charity’s donation will enable the Hygiene Bank to purchase products that are less frequently donated and to respond to changing needs in 2024.
We have introduced a scheme of TOGS (The Old Grammar School) vouchers to help people struggling with high inflation and increased living costs. The first scheme was run in partnership with local radio station HfM during September 2023.
The scheme offered a £75 Aldi gift card for groceries or other household products to people who successfully applied for the scheme through HfM. 132 people living in Market Harborough, Great Bowden or Little Bowden received a gift card under the scheme.
The Trustees are grateful to HFM and Aldi for their participation in launching the TOGS scheme.
Trustees awarded a grant of £3,200 towards the cost of the 1st Bowden Scout Group’s visit to the International Scout Centre in Switzerland.
They noted that this had been delayed due to covid and lockdown restrictions and recognised the benefits to the participants, particularly following the restrictions of the past two years. Forty-four youth members had the opportunity to meet scouts from all around the world, learning new life skills and exploring the possibilities that Scouting provides (October 2022).
Trustees agreed a grant of £900 towards the annual Great Bowden Recital Trust Junior X-Factor competition. It aims to nurture musical talent by providing opportunities for young singers, instrumentalists, groups and composers to perform in front of a panel of expert judges and receive constructive feedback to help them progress. The Trust received 35 entries in the 2023 competition and 17 talented young people performed in the Finals concert.
Trustees liked the fact that the competition was free to enter for young people, in line with the Trust’s view that an individual’s financial circumstances should never be a barrier for progressing and developing their skills (September 2022).
Trustees approved a grant for a table and chairs for a family with multiple needs. The family were living in open plan housing with a small living area and nowhere to sit and eat meals together.
The new table has given the family a space to eat together in comfort and a space for the children to do homework and craft activities (July 2022).