Red Nose Day Community Cash 2013: Comic Relief can put your group in the swim!
Arthritis sufferers say money given to their self-help charity by Comic Relief has had a huge impact on their health and quality of life.
Community Leicester Arthritis Self Help (Clash), in Birstall, was one of 59 organisations in the city, county and Rutland to benefit from a £50,000 Red Nose Community Cash Fund two years ago.
Now, the Leicester Mercury has teamed up with Comic Relief once more to give away grants of between £500 and £1,000.
With just six weeks to go until Red Nose Day 2013 on Friday, March 15, small charities and community organisations are again invited to apply for cash.
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In 2011, Clash received £600 from the fund to pay for more than 100 members to travel to weekly hydrotherapy treatment sessions at Leicester's General Hospital.
Stella Bowley, 54, of Glenfield, who developed osteoarthritis in her 20s, said: "Hydrotherapy sessions are vital for my health and that of my fellow members.
"I walk using a stick, having had both knees and one hip replaced, but hydrotherapy, with the warm pool and water supporting my limbs, allows me to exercise freely once a week.
"It's the only real exercise I get and is so important to my daily life.
"It loosens you up for the rest of the week and I certainly know it when I miss a session.
"The pool we hire was based at the Infirmary but since its move to the General, it's harder to get to.
"The £600 we received to fund taxi fares and community transport when available was a godsend."
Margaret Green, one of the charity's fund-raisers, said: "The aim of our group is to live with our arthritis and not be ruled by it.
"Key factors include exercise and peer support and activities such as hydrotherapy and yoga make a real difference. Travel is not provided by the NHS but many of our members live in isolated, rural locations or cannot use public transport.
"Transport provision is the glue of our charity and with money from the fund we were able to introduce a transport project to support members and volunteers attend various activities, including hydrotherapy."
The charity, which spends £2,000 a year on transport, will be applying for further help from Red Nose Community Cash Fund this time around.
Applications will be decided by a panel which will include representatives from the Mercury, Comic Relief and Leicestershire and Rutland Community Foundation.
For more information on Clash, visit:
Who, what and how to apply for Comic Relief cash
Grants are between £500 and £1,000. Organisations need to be working with disadvantaged people or those living in deprived areas within Leicester, Leicestershire or Rutland.
They must have an annual income of less than £50,000 (in the past year) and be run by local people.
They also need to have been operating for at least 12 months.
Registered charities and social enterprises qualify.
Examples of the type of activities eligible, include:
Parent and toddler groups.
Volunteer and staff training.
Equipment for youth groups or older people’s groups.
Dad and lads groups.
Befriending for older, isolated people, and improving facilities for groups.
For more details, visit: www.llrcommunityfoundation.org.uk