Ashford Leisure Trust has awarded grants totalling just over £54,000 to seven organisations that deliver healthy recreational activities for people living in the borough of Ashford

In January 2021, grant-maker Kent Community Foundation announced a new fund thanks to Ashford Leisure Trust offering grants of up to £10,000 to support charitable projects delivering healthy recreational activities for people living in the borough of Ashford. Seven projects have been selected from those who applied to share in grants totalling £54,143.

The successful applicants were Boughton and Eastwell Cricket Club, Kent Challenger Games, Pirates Canoe Club, Rylands Road Park Renovation, Sport on your Doorstep CIC, Step-Out outdoor learning, training and therapy CIC and Wealden Leisure Ltd trading as Freedom Leisure.

Natalie Smith, Director of Grants and Impact, Kent Community Foundation, said, “We were delighted to receive so many excellent applications from Ashford groups, and it was certainly not easy to select the organisations who would receive funding. The Ashford Leisure Trust Fund is now open for new applications for further grants which will cover project delivery costs including small capital, staff and volunteer costs. We look forward to being able to support more organisations in Ashford through the fund later this year.”

Tony Hogben, from Pirates Canoe Club who were recipients of a grant, said, “Pirates Canoe Club has, as one of its key pillars, a desire to make Paddle Sport available to everyone in the community with no barriers. All our coaches and leaders give their time for free, and the Ashford Leisure Trust grant will allow the Club to upskill and refresh their qualifications and in doing so provide a safe, enjoyable, quality learning experience to all who attend.

“The club has grown exponentially which is great but that brings with it challenges and the grant will enable us to address some of these. For example, new members do not have appropriate clothing for exposure to water. This grant will enable the club to renew some of our aging protective clothing and safety equipment. The grant will also enable the club to run more sessions within safe and secure surroundings of Conningbrook Lakes and a swimming pool, which both come with a cost.

“As the club grows so does what we offer. One of the fastest growing water sports in the UK is Stand Up Paddleboarding. Some of our coaches have invested in coach training and the club has used some of the grant to purchase additional Stand Up Padddleboards. Within the Club, this interest in Paddleboarding has brought in new members of all genders and ages, helping to increase the diversity of our membership.”

Linda Dodds, Chair of Ashford Leisure Trust said “These grants, plus a donation of £200,000 to support the recent refurbishment of the Stour Centre in Ashford mark the start of an exciting new function for the Trust. We were delighted to be able to fund some excellent projects that will improve the wellbeing of the borough’s residents. We are looking forward to seeing more applications submitted by the end of August so that we can award further funding to more groups in October.”

MASSIVE 'thank you ' to everyone at Kent Community Foundation. Your funding support is HUGELY appreciated and has enabled us to get into the heart of local communities with REAL, affordable, healthy and tasty food that does so much more than feed people.

Community chef Mike Spackman, Sheppey Matters

KCF's enthusiasm for what we are doing and hoping to do, coupled with helpful advice, gave us the confidence to take this daunting step which has paid off.

Liz Turner, Octopus Foundation

It's great having a foundation that empowers organisations and charities in our community to make real positive differences and changes!

Tom, MMK Mind
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