Norfolk charities need your vote

Three charities are competing for your votes to secure �3,000 of funding.

The East Coast Truckers, Musical Keys and The Hamlet Centre Trust have all been selected by the branches of NatWest bank in Norwich, Wymondham and Wroxham to take part in a competition to win money from the NatWest Community Fund.

It is now up to the public to decide who wins - for the charity that gets the most votes is the one that will walk away with �3,000. The two runners up will each be given �1,000.

People have until November 26 to vote for their favourite charity at the banks or online.

Richard Greenacre, NatWest's senior bank manager for Norwich, said: 'We have chosen the East Coast Truckers, Musical Keys and The Hamlet Centre as the final three, and it is now down to the public to decide which of these local organisations should be given �3,000. It is a local fund for local charities, and we want local people to decide how the money is allocated.'

Some details about the charities are:

t The East Coast Truckers, based in Attleborough, raises money for disadvantaged and disabled children in East Anglia, takes the children out on a number of events throughout the year, and organises Christmas parties for them.

Most Read

The charity's biggest event is its convoy of trucks which takes children from across East Anglia on a trip from Norwich to Pleasurewood Hills.

East Coast Truckers has also recently bought a holiday home in California, near Great Yarmouth, where it hopes to offer holidays for families with disabled or disadvantaged children.

The money the organisation receives from the NatWest Community Fund would be used to help fund the new holiday home and pay for various trips and parties for the children.

Ivan Hardy, from East Coast Truckers, said: 'A lot of the children we help would not go out at all if we did not take them out. We want to help as many children as we can.'

t Musical Keys is a Norfolk charity that uses music sessions to help children and young people with special and additional needs develop life skills.

The charity holds music and movement sessions for the young people and their families, and also does outreach work in schools and youth groups.

Sallie Eastick, manager of Musical Keys, which is based in Silver Road, Norwich, said: 'Music is a powerful tool, and can help develop social skills. The sessions are all about taking turns, sharing, making eye contact and listening to others. We also provide support for the entire family, and the money would be used to continue these groups.'

t The Hamlet Centre Trust, based in Ella Road, Norwich, provides services for both children and adults with disabilities and learning difficulties. It has a toy library service, offers short break play schemes for children with complex health needs, and runs an under fives group, and a youth club. The toy library and under fives group are also open to mainstream children under five.

The Hamlet Centre runs a Monday to Friday day service for adults with disabilities and learning difficulties. It also offers an outreach service, and runs some trips and activities for the adults in the evenings and at weekends. Michael Rooney, chief executive officer for the Hamlet Centre, said: 'The main reason we need funds is that at the moment most of our services are taking place under one roof and we are bursting at the seams. We are looking to raise money to enable us to move our children's services to another building we have acquired in Johnson Place, off Vauxhall Street, in Norwich.'

t People can register their vote at the Norwich NatWest branches on St Stephens Street, London Street, Prince of Wales Road, Boundary Road and the University of East Anglia. People can also vote at the Wroxham and Wymondham branches or by visiting