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Cash-strapped charity The Sunnybank Trust bravely accepts lottery funding to expand
A cash-strapped charity has taken the courageous decision to accept almost £300,000 of National Lottery funding to expand its services and help more people.
The Sunnybank Trust thought long and hard before last week accepting the £288,000 offered by the lottery to support another 150 people on top of the 250 people with learning disabilities it already helps.
The Epsom Guardian launched the Shine On appeal to help the charity raise £75,000 by next April
In the spring, the Epsom Guardian launched an appeal for the charity, based in St Barnabas Church, in Temple Road, Epsom, to raise £75,000 by April to allow it to continue running its weekly social club Kites, a friendship programme, and independent advocacy service.
The appeal is vital to fill a hole in running and staffing costs caused by a collapse in support from charitable trusts affected by the world financial downturn.
So far, the Shine On appeal has raised £12,720 through leaflet drops, a 100 lap cycle challenge, the auctioning of a Chagall lithograph which was donated to the trust, and big-hearted donors who have posted anonymous cheques after reading of its financial difficulties.
The offer of money from the Big Lottery’s Reaching Communities Programme, cannot be used for this core funding as it is earmarked to support 150 more people over the next five years, and is conditional on the charity raising £106,000 from elsewhere.
Chris Snell, who put the bid together for the charity, said the lottery rang to tell him they "loved" what The Sunnybank Trust wanted to do but it had not been an easy decision to accept, given the charity's precarious financial situation.
However, the committee was determined to seize the opportunity to help more of the estimated 2,046 people in Epsom and Ewell with learning disabilities.
Users, volunteers and supporters of The Sunnybank Trust banded together to complete a 100-lap cycle challenge on specially-adapted bikes to raise money for the Shine On appeal
Mr Snell said: "The Lottery funding is conditional on us raising the match funding, so it’s vital we do.
"What that means is that for every one pound you give, Sunnybank will get four".
The Kites club is a weekly social club run for those with learning disabilities by The Sunnybank Trust
The charity's founder, Tom Rhind-Tutt MBE, 86, said: "The trust is greatly honoured to have been chosen by the Big Lottery to receive this substantial grant and it is a huge vote of confidence in it.
"But it does not put an end to our concerns about the current financial situation of the charity.
"We now depend on the local public and organisations even more than we did before.
"We are immensely grateful to everyone for what they have done so far to help us in our efforts to care for others and we now hope those who have supported us so handsomely will understand the huge importance of their continued support."
Tom Rhind-Tutt, the charity's founder, suffered with dyslexia and was dismissed from school because of his learning disability
The charity was the brainchild of dyslexia-sufferer Mr Rhind-Tutt, who started it in the living room of his home in Sunnybank, on the Woodcote Estate, in Epsom, to provide a replacement offering for those with learning disabilities who had been cared for by the Epsom Cluster of mental hospitals, which were disbanded in the 1970s and 80s.
Members of The Sunnybank Trust have been preparing for the 17 gift-wrapping sessions they will completing at The Ashley Centre, in Epsom, for the Shine On appeal
Dorothy Watson, the leader of the Kites club, added: "If people hear this great news they may think we don’t need any more funding through the Shine On appeal, but we do.
"That’s why the charity’s users, volunteers and supporters will be spending 17 days in The Ashley Centre gift-wrapping over Christmas."
MP Chris Grayling, who picked The Sunnybank Trust as his charity of the year, said: "It is great to hear The Sunnybank Trust have been awarded a Big Lottery’s Reaching Communities grant.
"It is fantastic that they have been recognised in this way. They carry out really important work in our community and this grant will go a long way to ensuring they can continue supporting adults with learning disabilities".
HOW YOU CAN HELP
There are a number of ways you can support our Shine On Appeal:
1. Visit the charity's Justgiving page on The Sunnybank Trust's website (www.sunnybanktrust.org) and click on 'donate'
2. Text £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 to The Sunnybank Trust by texting TSBT16 followed by the amount to 70070.
3. Post cheques and postal orders payable to "The Sunnybank Trust" to: The Sunnybank Trust, St. Barnabas Church, Temple Road, Epsom, Surrey, KT19 8HA.
Volunteer to help fundraise or run an event, or donate gifts, services or vouchers for raffles:
Call the fundraising team on 01372 749871 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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