Francis Maude: Horsham area rich in community groups

Horsham MP Francis Maude
Horsham MP Francis Maude

As part of its Helping Britain Prosper Plan Lloyds Bank has set up the Lloyds Bank Community Fund. Its aim is to bring communities closer together to help them thrive. They have now shortlisted for an award a number of community groups in and around the Horsham constituency.

These local good causes were all nominated by Lloyds customers, the wider public and Lloyds staff. Over 8,300 groups were nominated, with nearly 5,200 groups applications. Nearly 600 Lloyds Banking Group staff assessed the applications and decided on the final shortlist.

1,400 good causes in 350 communities across England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are set to benefit from Community Fund this year with awards of up to £3,000, depending upon the number of votes received.

Over 700,000 people are set to benefit from a Community Fund award this year.

The community groups shortlisted in and around the Horsham constituency are:

· Ingfield Manor School

· Outreach 3Way

· Rusper Playgroup

· Horsham Community Responders

· Winston’s Wish

These are all excellent groups, which do great things for the community.

A public vote will run from 2nd September until 10th October 2014. Members of the public can vote for the good causes they would like to support in Lloyds Bank branches, online, by SMS or, for the first time, by Twitter. In 2013, 2.3 million votes were cast.

I’d like to encourage to encourage readers to cast a vote for the community groups that matter to them in this year’s Community Fund.

Of course, our area is rich in community groups. On Saturday I visited the amazing Springboard Project in Hurst Road. I’ve been a regular visitor to Springboard over the years. Run by its inspirational director Nigel Scott-Dickeson, it has for many years delivered an array of different services for children and young people with special needs and, importantly, for their families. Over the years I’ve spoken with so many families for whom Springboard has been a lifeline. It caters for families in our own area, but also from further afield. It was notable of that Saturday’s event was attended by the Mayor of the London Borough of Sutton, reflecting the number of Sutton families served by Springboard, which led the Mayor to make it his charity of the year.

Springboard has built on its reputation for care and compassion by opening a new base in Crawley. This was in response to popular demand, and is already being well used. The staff at Springboard are wonderful, and are the first to recognise that their work also depends on the army of dedicated volunteers who commit to the Project.