Regional publisher Newsquest has unveiled £140,000 worth of donations to local charities and community groups funded by the charitable arm of its US parent company.
The awards are made annually through the Gannett Foundation UK which every year supports charitable community projects all over the UK.
Applications for the funding are initially submitted through Newsquest’s 200-plus local titles and magazines, with final decisions being made by a board of trustees.
Unveiling the list of recipients today, the publisher said some of the successful applications reflected the “challenging social problems affecting our towns and cities.”
These included the ‘Creative Kids’ project in Bournemouth, Dorset, intended to fill the hole left by the decimation of town centre retailing with opportunities for disadvantaged local youth.
Project leaders want to create a community cinema and Gannett is paying for the projector, screen and theatre curtains they need to get started.
In Newport, South Wales, a charity called ‘Amazing Grace Spaces,’ which offers accommodation for homeless women, has been awarded a grant to buy bedroom furniture.
And in Salisbury, funds are being used to furnish a house run by Salisbury Trust for the Homeless.
Three special awards of £10,000 each also went to a number of charities connected with the news industry.
The recipients were the Journalists Charity, the NCTJ’s Journalism Diversity Fund, and the Newstraid Benevolent Fund, for people from retailing and distribution businesses who have fallen on hard times.
Chairman of the trustees, Simon Westrop, said: “It really is a pleasure for us to find and help people who are giving up their own free time to help others in inventive ways that answer very specific local needs in the community, because this is where our newspapers are too and we want to support what is good about the places we live in and make them even better if we can.”
“Most of the successful applications are not necessarily big projects or headline-grabbers, but rather smaller ones that meet a particular need and instantly improve daily life. For instance, that new fridge or kettle the community centre has been wanting for ages.”