£20,000 up for grabs for community projects – but who will you vote for?
Voting has now officially opened for our £££s for People Campaign, and we are calling on you to help us decide how to share out £20,000 to local good causes.
The Western Morning News has joined forces with the Devon and Cornwall Community Foundations to offer funds to help grassroots groups make a difference to people's lives.
Readers are invited to vote for their favourite group – from a shortlist of 30 in Cornwall and 30 in Devon (see right) – using voting coupons printed each day in the paper (see below) – by December 7.
The money will be divided according to how many votes each group receives, with £10,000 for each county. All the groups were nominated by people in their communities, and we will be featuring them in the coming days.
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For the residents of Ashwater, a remote village in the northwest corner of Devon, the community shop is a lifeline, said parish priest the Rev Jane Lucas, as the nearest shops are otherwise in Holsworthy, an eight-mile drive away.
The shop was set up by villagers as a not-for-profit venture after they lost their shop and post office in 2010.
As well as offering Post Office services, it stocks competitively priced essential food, local produce and Fairtrade goods, and is run by solar power. The business is mainly staffed by volunteers with only one paid worker.
A grant from the £££s for People Campaign could allow the shop to employ another young person as a trainee, said Ms Lucas, and free up the volunteers to start a delivery service to housebound people in the village.
"The community raised a lot of money to kick-start this lovely modular building and it deserves all the support it can get," she added.
Also in North Devon, this time on the coast, is the Woolacombe Surf Life Saving Club, which trains local young people in surf life saving qualifications, both on the wide sands of Woolacombe Bay and in the local swimming pool.
John Parker, of Barnstaple, who has nominated the club to receive a cash boost from the campaign, said it desperately needed to update its equipment after training beach lifeguards for the past 50 years.
"The club operates under difficult circumstances from a temporary hut on Woolacombe beach," he said.
"During its existence, hundreds of local children have learned life saving and social skills which stay with them for the rest of their lives. The equipment is supplied freely by the club but desperately needs updating."
Meanwhile, in Exeter, a furniture re-use project is asking for help to promote its services.
Turntable Furniture collects donations of unwanted furniture and electrical appliances and passes them on to people on low incomes for just a nominal charge towards delivery.
Recent beneficiaries include a family who lost everything in a house fire, and homeless people who need getting off the streets.
Peter Chowings, who nominated the charity, said: "The work Turntable does helps keep large quantities of furniture and electrical appliances out of local landfill – more than 6,500 items last year.
"They also offer valuable work experience to the long-term unemployed volunteers who man the project.
"I think Turntable should be nominated for an award because they offer a much needed service to those people who can least afford to furnish their homes."