£50,000 Red Nose Day Community Cash to be given away to Leicestershire groups
Wacky fund-raisers are once again preparing to do something funny for money on Red Nose Day.
With the big day now six weeks away – on March 15 – the Leicester Mercury has teamed up with Comic Relief to give charities and community groups the chance to apply for a slice of £50,000.
We will be looking for the best examples of grassroots work to receive between £500 and £1,000 from the Red Nose Day Community Cash Fund.
In 2011, 59 Leicestershire organisations – ranging from disabled children's sports schemes to self-help groups – won support.
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Syston Bowling Club got £1,000 towards the cost of a modified wheelchair with extra-wide plastic wheels.
It has made a world of difference to Mike Foster, from Barrow upon Soar.
"It's given me a new lease of life as a sportsman," said the 67-year-old, who was paralysed from the chest down in a motorcycle accident in 1963.
Mike, a coach and founding member of Leicester Cobras wheelchair basketball team, learned about the club while recovering from surgery on his shoulder.
"The shoulder injury, getting old and years of wear and tear meant my basketball playing days were over," he said.
Mike was invited to give bowling a go and is one of seven disabled players at the club.
"Whether you're standing or seated in a wheelchair, once you're on the green you are equally competitive," he said.
"It's become an important part of my life, not just by allowing me to compete in an enjoyable sport but there's a great social side to it, too."
Club chairman Colin Grimes said: "As well as wheelchair-bound members like Mike, we have a player who is blind and provide coaching for young people with Down's syndrome.
"Thanks to the Red Nose Community Cash fund, all sorts of people can now enjoy bowls."
Applications will be decided by a panel which will include representatives from the Mercury, Comic Relief and Leicestershire and Rutland Community Foundation.
Katy Green, chief executive officer of the foundation, said: "Red Nose Day Community Cash provides a brilliant opportunity to help a large number of groups."
Sue Wicks, Comic Relief UK grants manager, said: "Comic Relief is delighted to be working with Leicester Mercury, offering Red Nose Day Community Cash once again to groups in Leicester.
"We've funded some truly inspiring projects in the city in previous years."
The deadline to apply is March 15. Organisers said the grants panel would be looking for a range of projects that responded to real needs.