Pitch to the Panel shortlist face the dragons and have won a share of a £100,000 prize fund.

Six local charitable organisations from across West Berkshire entered Greenham Trust’s ‘Pitch to the Panel’ event in a bid to win a share of the grant funding. After rigorous shortlisting, the six finalists took to the stage to pitch for a share of the £100,000 prize fund at the Corn Exchange finale on Thursday 9 November.

Now in its third year, the free to attend event, hosted by Greenham Trust, celebrates and raises awareness of the excellent work being done by local good causes.

The ‘dragons’, made up of editor of Newbury Weekly News Andy Murrill, managing director of
the Vineyard Group Andrew McKenzie, principal and chief executive of Newbury College Anne Murdoch and David Bailey non-executive director of Greenham Trust, quizzed the organisations on their business plans before awarding the grant funding.

£20,910 was received by Dingley’s Promise. Catherine McLeod, chief executive said, “We are ecstatic to have been granted the full amount we needed to deliver 80 training courses to mainstream nursery staff across West Berkshire and North Hampshire to build wider inclusion.

“The pitch itself was nerve wracking, but there was so much support in the room and we were touched by the comments of the panel and those who voted for us. We are so grateful to Greenham Trust for organising this special event that allows us to showcase what we do as well as receiving an amazing amount of money to deliver transformational work for Dingley’s Promise.

“We know that the impact of this will be greater inclusion in local communities, and more opportunities for children with SEND and their families. Which is just wonderful!”

SeeAbility received £10,211 for the refurbishment of its gym and to update 20-year old equipment. Lisa Hopkins, chief executive commented, “The amazing grant from Greenham Trust is quite simply life changing. Refurbishing our gym and getting new specialist kit will help us support people to overcome huge barriers every day: some big, some small, all extraordinary.

“It is very special to know that we can now offer more opportunities for people to develop their abilities and live more fulfilled, healthier lives for longer. Everyone at SeeAbility is extremely grateful for this tremendous gift and we’re excited to get the project started.”

West Berkshire Homeless were awarded £7,220, which will be used to help local homeless people get off the streets and into paid employment. Erica and Catherine from the charity enthused, “An amazingly fun event and we received the monies we asked for! We are so very grateful.”

Hungerford Youth was awarded £23,336 for its new kitchen, Flag DV received £13,807 to contribute towards the salary of a part-time development worker and £24,516 was granted to the Community Furniture Project to help contribute towards the costs for its building developments.

An audience of over 300 locals were also given the opportunity to text vote for their favourite project during the evening. Each vote was match funded £1 by Greenham Trust.

Chris Boulton, chief executive for Greenham Trust said:

“The organisations showcased a tremendous amount of dedication and talent. The enthusiasm of those pitching was evident and the judges were bowled over by the passion demonstrated in the pitches. For the six organisations, the journey is only just getting started. We look forward to watching their development in the coming months, as they turn their plans into reality.”

“Putting an event together like this takes a lot of work, we are incredibly grateful to everyone who contributed to this wonderful event. A special thank you must go to our panel of judges, Newbury Youth Rocks Choir for entertaining us and the community who voted over 1,417 times generating additional funding for the local causes.”