Norwich organisations encouraged to apply for a slice of �50,000

Community groups across Norwich who benefited from last year's Comic Relief Community Cash scheme have urged city groups to come forward and claim up to �1,000.

The Evening News yesterday launched an initiative offering small organisations in Norwich the chance to apply for a wedge of �50,000.

Money was made available through a Community Cash fund raised through Red Nose Day and will be distributed by Norfolk Community Foundation.

And the Kings Centre Community Initiative, Drawing Buddies and the Norfolk Homemakers groups all showed their support for the scheme after receiving cash boosts last year.

The Kings Centre Community Initiative, on King Street in the city centre, was awarded �1,000 by the 2010 Community Cash scheme.

Part of the money funded a clothes washing service for people sleeping on the streets, which included the purchase of new washing machines and driers for the centre.

The remaining funds were used to buy 50 meals for homeless people visiting the centre during the weekend.

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Tim Hughes, project leader at the King's Centre Community Initiative, said: 'Community cash grants and the Norfolk Community Foundation make it easy for small community groups like us who don't have the professional funding capacity to get the money we need.

'The volunteers from King's Church are already wildly generous to pay for 60 dinners a week, but the grant from Comic Relief meant we were able to buy new laundry equipment as well. People's clothes now come out better, without exhaust air making everyone hot and bothered.'

The initiative based in the Kings Centre is organised by volunteers and aims to help homeless people get back into society.

During the week the centre hosts the theatre project, Loose Change, which gives vulnerable people the chance to regain their self-esteem by putting on drama productions for the general public.

Meanwhile, a Norwich charity that supplies low cost furniture to people in need is running more efficiently since receiving a Community Cash grant.

Norfolk Homemakers, on Alysham Way, was able to recruit a new member of staff and buy a computer thanks to a �1,000 boost.

Howard Tidman, trustee and volunteer for the charity, said: 'We have a warehouse where we train and employ people with mental health problems to restore furniture for the charity. Some of these people are afraid to leave the house, so we encourage them to come along and get involved with our projects.

'The grant money has meant that we were recently able to bring one of the workers into full employment.'

All the furniture used by Norfolk Homemakers is donated by the public and stored in a large warehouse in Norwich.

The purchase of the new computer has meant the charity now has facilities to deal with online furniture donations and provide computer training to their volunteers.

Mr Tidman said: 'Some of these grant schemes can be horrendous to apply for, but the application process for this one was very reasonable and really helped our projects. I would highly recommend people apply for it.'

More than 70 groups throughout Norwich claimed grants last year with sports clubs, children's groups, history groups, community associations, churches, girl guides and theatre companies all benefiting.

And this year's grants between �500 and �1,000 are available to groups run by local people, with an income of less than �50,000 in the last year, who are in the Norwich City Council local authority area, and are working within a disadvantaged or deprived community. Organisations eligible for the Red Nose Day Community Cash scheme include parent and toddler groups, dad and lads groups, youth and older people's groups and lunch clubs.

The scheme will also fund projects like community festivals, groups that provide support for old and isolated people, running costs for self-help groups and improving facilities for established community groups.

Meanwhile, an art organisation for over 55's in Mile Cross, Norwich, has seen its membership reach full capacity since receiving a Community Cash grant in 2010.

Drawing Buddies were awarded �500 which allowed them to stay open for another year by paying for their insurance costs and rent at the Phoenix Centre on Mile Cross Road.

Eddie Oxland, Chairman of committee that runs the group, said: 'We are all grateful for the grant because it gave our group life. I would recommend other people apply because I found the process fairly straight forward and was pleased with how the whole thing came together.'

The group prides itself on its ability to stop isolation amongst older people by getting them out of their homes and learning to draw.

Comic Relief was launched on Christmas Day in 1985 to help address a devastating famine in Ethiopia and was followed by the first ever Red Nose Day event in 1988 which raised �15m.

Forms can be obtained for this year's Red Nose Day Community Cash fund by writing to Red Nose Day Community Cash, Evening News, Prospect House, in Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE

Application forms can also be picked up from the Evening News office at Prospect House, in Rouen Road, Norwich, or apply online by visiting

The deadline for applications is on Friday, March 18, 2011.

Completed applications should be sent to Norfolk Community Foundation, St James Mill, Whitefriars, Norwich, NR3 1SH.