The University of Derby Community Fund has awarded two local groups funding to support them with their future projects.
Swadlincote Asperger’s Society (S.A.S), one of the chosen groups, aims to raise awareness for adults living with the condition by running weekly sessions, which provides a safe and supportive environment for vulnerable adults to meet and take part in creative activities.
An £800 Community Fund grant was awarded to the society, which works with a group of 30 people each week, to develop the skills of their committee members and volunteers in first aid, health and safety, accessibility, fundraising, funding, DBS checks, digital and marketing.
Graham Rodgers, Founder and Treasurer of S.A.S, said: “For the first time we can offer training opportunities to members of the group. Unemployment is a major problem faced by adults on the Autism spectrum. We hope to remedy this by giving a first-hand experience in business, covering everything from first aid to marketing skills in a friendly, nurturing environment.”
Rosie Marshalsay, Head of External Relations at the University of Derby, added: “S.A.S is doing a great job in helping vulnerable people in the community learn key skills that will give them independence and improve their job prospects. At the University of Derby we believe that diversity is a strength and that education has the power to transform lives, so we’re delighted to help with this important project.”
The Community Fund also awarded Allestree Juniors Football Club with £500. The club works with 450 children, ranging from Under 7’s to Under 21’s, with all abilities in all areas of Derby.
With the help of the funding from the University, Allestree Juniors can now plan for their 2017 Soccer School where they will invite local six year olds to take their first steps in football as well as helping them to buy new kits, footballs and training equipment.
Will Meredith, Coach and Funding Representative of Allestree Juniors Football Club, said: “Allestree Juniors is delighted and very grateful to receive the Community Fund. The grant enables us to buy essential training equipment to initially train at our Soccer School for 14 weeks with around 50 players.
“We have a large cost each year providing team kits but thanks to the fund we feel confident our new teams next year can start off fully equipped to enjoy a long and happy experience with us.”
Rosie Marshalsay added: “It’s so important to encourage young people to get active and take part in team sports that help with their social development. I hope they have a great time at the Soccer School and, who knows, maybe we might see some future Derby County stars in the making?”
The Community Fund is one way the University gives back to local people. Over the past two years the University has given £20,000 in grants to inspire projects that seek to benefit the community in some way. In previous years the fund has supported various projects including sports clubs, youth groups and small charities.
The University of Derby Community Fund has also supported projects in Buxton and Chesterfield in this round of applications.