Thousands of pounds has been awarded to organisations across West Sussex following this year’s Hall and Woodhouse Community Chest.
The independent family brewers, with around 50 pubs in the county, injected cash into the local community at it’s fifth annual event - this time hosted at the Black Swan pub in Pease Pottage.
Mark Woodhouse, Hall and Woodhouse chairman and the driving force behind the Community Chest, told assembled guests last week: “In a nutshell, the community chest is all about long term help for local people.
“I spend 365 days of the year trying to make money and this is the one evening I can give something back to the community.”
The event, which is supported by this newspaper, is hailed as a great opportunity for voluntary groups and charities to gain funds for between £300 and £3,000 for everything from new equipment to training.
This year saw a total of 20 organisations who benefiting from a generous pot of £15,315. The brewers had received 166 applications asking for a around £250,000.
Mark said the company was looking for ‘organisations that has got a real need’ for funding, as opposed to receiving money which ‘would just be nice to have’.
The Southwater Community First Responders were thrilled to be awarded £500 towards a new defibrillator and kit bag.
Pauline Flores-Moore said: “We’re absolutely delighted.
“Hall and Woodhouse are an excellent company. Considering they’re so big it’s amazing to see that they want to put something back into the community.”
It takes the responders one step closer to gaining vital equipment needed to save more lives in the village.
“It’s difficult getting funds and we’re so appreciate of any donation.” She added that the responders will be out in Lintot Square on November 24 if anyone wishes to learn more about their work and a chance to donate.
The Amber Foundation, a charity which aims to transform the lives of people aged between 17 and 30 who have suffered from difficult backgrounds, received £1,500 to develop an outdoor area which provides future sustainable resource and enables the residents to become more self-sufficient with gardening and horticulture.
Rachel Bartlett, community fundraiser at the foundation, said: “This event has such a huge impact on the local community. It makes you appreciate how much goes on in the community by bringing everyone together. We’re very grateful to Hall and Woodhouse for this generous award.”
Amber resident Adam added: “This is great because now I won’t have to use a lawnmower from 1966.”
Horsham Lifesaving Club gained £500 which will go towards Royal Lifesaving Society training and trainers packs for all members and teachers.
And the Horsham MS Society can buy Boccia equipment - a wheelchair sport similar to bowls - with the aid of £350.
This newspaper, and its sister titles, has been a media partner of the scheme since it first launched, along with local radio station Spirit FM.
Mark stressed: “We could not work without the support of our local community. It’s really important that we have the support of the media, we are so grateful, without the paper the Community Chest would not be as effective as it is today.”
Gary Shipton, Editor In Chief of this newspaper, said: “We have worked with Mark Woodhouse for five years on the Community Chest and we remain overwhelming impressed by his dedication, hard work, and commitment to the communities served by the Hall and Woodhouse pubs.
“What the Hall and Woodhouse team does is absolutely genuine, and they put in so much time behind the scenes to ensure that the money really goes to where it’s most needed.
“The applications are thoroughly assessed by my fellow judges and I do commend them for all their hard work that goes into the process.”
Mr Shipton also thanked radio partner Spirit FM and the Sussex Community Foundation for their enormous support.
“There were nearly 200 applications for grant aid this year. It’s a huge job ensuring that the money goes where it is most needed and can make the biggest difference.
“But we hope there will be even more requests for cash next year!”
Mark concluded the evening by saying: “We look forward to doing it all again next year.”