Joy for community groups who win Christmas Cheer
THE festive spirit was brought to charities across north London when they were awarded a total of �5,500 as part of the 2009 Ham&High Christmas Cheer giveaway. At a special event on Tuesday nine charities shared the jackpot at an awards cer
THE festive spirit was brought to charities across north London when they were awarded a total of �5,500 as part of the 2009 Ham&High Christmas Cheer giveaway.
At a special event on Tuesday nine charities shared the jackpot at an awards ceremony at Barclays Bank in Hampstead, which ran the giveaway in association with the newspaper.
The three biggest winners, who were each awarded a cheque for �1,000, were The Winchester Pro-ject, a charity which works with disadvantaged young people in Camden; the Highgate Harriers youth section, which gives free running sessions to young people at Parliament Hill; and Cricklewood Homeless Concern, which provides a shelter for homeless people.
Danny Maher, chief executive of CHC, said: "The shelter requires funding for just the basic things like duvets and food for people who are on the streets.
"The Christmas Cheer grant means we will be able to provide the kind of things that will make it a bit more special for the homeless people in the shelter like socks, gloves and warm food which we would not have been able to do otherwise.
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"The grant is brilliant and will ensure people are not on the streets over Christmas."
And Paul Perkins, from the Winchester Project, said: "This is absolutely fantastic for us. People work really hard in the voluntary sector all year long and they often make huge sacrifices.
"It is really nice to be able to say thank you to all our and staff and volunteers with a Christmas party paid for with this grant. The grant also paid for a play party for all the children and their parents which was brilliant."
Four charities were awarded che-ques for �500. Hollickwood School gardening club plans to spend the grant converting a large tarmac area into a playground and garden.
Tottenham-based Haringey Shed Theatre Company will spend the money on a special needs support worker for the children's theatre workshops for a term.
Doorstep, a charity which supports vulnerable families in Camden, will spend the cash arranging an outing for residents and volunteers.
The Haringey Phoenix group works with blind and partially sighted people across north London.
Club manager Tom Stapleton said: "We are planning to spend the money on new computer equipment because we have had the current machines since 2001 and they keep breaking down so we want to buy some new ones.
"Teaching blind and partially sighted people how to use computers is really important for them because it enables them to communicate and use the internet.
"This money will really help us to continue the vital work we do with blind people in north London."
Finally a further two charities were awarded �250 each. Open Door, based in Crouch End, is a consultation service for young people with mental health issues and plans to spend the cash on new IT equipment.
Muswell Hill-based London Centre for Children with Cerebral Palsy is spending the grant on specialist equipment to help the children engage in more learning opportunities.
Ham&High editor Geoff Martin said: "These awards are a lovely way to end the year. It is great to see local organisations receiving some financial help in these cash strapped times when every penny can make a difference and help them to continue the great work they do.