Carnival cash for all

By Harriet Ernstsons Friday 27 December 2013 Updated: 27/12 10:39

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Buy photos » Nightstop volunteer Charlene Butt with co-ordinator Sharon McCall. Picture by Marcus Mingins 5013026MMR

EACH year hundreds line the streets of Astwood Bank to watch the highlight of the village’s year - its annual carnival.

Volunteers on the committee put on events leading up to the big day and collect thousands from generous residents to benefit causes in the area. But where exactly does the money go?

The Standard found out more about some of the organisations which benefited from a share of £7,000 this year.

Astwood Bank First School

AS WELL as receiving money from the committee, the school takes an active part in the carnival - opening on the day itself to provide a space for the walking floats to set off and encouraging children to apply for the positions of prince and princess.

The £925 received this year will be used to buy a cycle rack to support their eco council, as well as developing the front garden and introducing seating.

Headteacher Debbie Yarnold said: “At Easter this year we lost our treasured crossing patrol person very suddenly and we thought these would be fitting tributes to her.

“We are very proud of the involvement we have with our community. The children get so much out of taking part in a community event such as the carnival and for us to then receive some money is fabulous.

“Being part of the community shows the children the importance of community and what can be achieved when we work together.”

Astwood Bank Operatic Society

AUDIENCES attending the March 2014 production of the Merry Widow at the Palace Theatre will be able to see first hand where money donated by the committee has been used.

The £500 given to Astwood Bank Operatic Society will be used for the performances, which run at 7.30pm each night from March 12 to 15 with a 2.30pm Saturday matinée.

President Michael Hawkins said: “The £500 awarded this year will go a long way towards offsetting the substantial costs of mounting a production at the Palace Theatre, in particular the costs of our lavish Edwardian costumes.

“These are difficult times for many arts organisations, not least amateur operatic societies, who need to deal with soaring costs against falling income. Ours is an expensive hobby, but this financial assistance will help us to keep the flag flying for Astwood Bank and amateur musical theatre for some time longer.”

Nightstop

VOLUNTEERS helping to fund-raise for and mentor vulnerable young people can continue their training thanks to money received from the carnival committee.

Redditch Nightstop accepted a £450 cheque this year which will increase the skills and knowledge of their volunteers. Ongoing training will be provided to fund-raisers as well as the mentors and befrienders who help youngsters who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Volunteer co-ordinator Sharon McCall said: “The money will help us to offer high quality training to our volunteers in specialist areas such as fund-raising which is great in the difficult times we are facing in the current economic climate.

“The monies raised from the Carnival is mainly from local people and it is fantastic that so many local causes will benefit. We had attended the carnival which was fantastic and were so delighted when we were informed of being selected to receive some funding – thank you to all involved.

Ridgeway Middle School

CHILDREN at Ridgeway Middle School will be able to spend more time outdoors thanks to their £925 donation.

Headteacher Mike Bennett said the school aimed to work with animals and the ground to further develop pupils’ understanding of the world around them.

“We are currently ordering outdoor benches, we have had sun shades erected, we have an outdoor classroom and we have a yurt that we use as an outdoor area.

“The school prides itself as being part of the community it serves and is happy to assist with community events wherever possible. The staff and pupils are very grateful for the monies received.”

St Paul’s Church

MONEY received by St Paul’s Church will be used to help towards the costs of the renovation work needed at the venue.

The Cookhill church was given £350 which is set to be put aside for the £10,000 worth of plaster work and redecoration needed, with the fund currently standing at almost £5,000.

A spokesman said: “I am sure many people think the church has massive funds but the truth is St Paul’s, in common with every other Anglican church, is paid for and supported solely by the members of the congregation. We are therefore constantly fund-raising as it costs over £500 per week to maintain the church and ensure there are regular services.

“In the past the carnival has made donations which have been used to provide access for the disabled and to install toilet and kitchenette facilities. We are therefore very grateful for the continuing support from the carnival.”

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Buy photos» Astwood Bank First School pupils get excited about having a new bike rack. Picture by Marcus Mingins 5013020MMR

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Buy photos» Ridgeway pupils Ellie-Mae Vickeridge, Harry Keen, both 11, Rosie Bird, nine, Tom Moore, 12, and Jessica Johal, ten, underneath the sunshade. Picture by Marcus Mingins 5113015MMR

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Buy photos» Astwood Bank Operatic Society members Steve Goddard, Laura Hollingshead, Jean Chalk, Kirsty Wagg, John Alderson, Georgie Roberts, Marcus Brampton, Antony Vater and Pat Appleton during the 2013 production of The Gondoliers. (s)

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