Grant scheme aims to get school kids off to a brighter start | The Sun

GRASSROOTS projects don’t run on thin air – not usually anyway.

In September, Daf Roberts, a coach with North Wales junior football club Bangor Saints FC, raised money for his team by strapping himself to the wing of a stunt plane.

The year before he took part in a tandem parachute jump.

“I’m up for anything if it helps, but I’ve been told to calm down a bit this year,” he admits.

Volunteers do extraordinary things to support the causes close to their heart, but help is available from other sources too.

Since 2016, the supermarket has run schemes like Bags for Help and Tesco Community Grants to give over £100million in funding to more than 50,000 community projects.

This has included support for more than 6,000 schools, over 2,000 sports teams, 2,300 youth organisations, and 1,400 elderly and vulnerable groups around the UK.

All this money has been carefully distributed thanks to the supermarket’s partnership with not-for-profit organisation Groundwork.

The charity combines local knowledge with national reach to work with corporate and public sector partners to design practical projects that support people.

“The investment in communities Tesco provides is hugely important,” says Groundwork chief executive Graham Duxbury. “For many schools and youth groups, relatively small amounts of money can be game-changing.

“Volunteers contribute enormous time and effort, but they need practical support and the funds to make sure the activities they run are safe, healthy and high quality.”

The grants mean we can help over one million young people to thrive

In July, Tesco launched Stronger Starts, a grant programme committing £5.3million to schools and children’s groups to fund more healthy food and activities this year.

Schools are eligible to apply for a grant of up to £1,500. This can go towards activities that focus on providing food such as fruit for breakfast clubs or snacks to enjoy throughout the day – and equipment for outdoor and indoor activities.

“The launch of Stronger Starts will help us to directly support even more children and their families to access healthy and nutritious food and physical activities they might be missing out on due to lack of funding and resources,” says Christine Heffernan, Tesco’s director of group communications.

“The grants mean we can help over one million young people to thrive in thousands of schools, breakfast clubs, after school clubs and sports clubs.”

Tesco supermarkets are a focus for every community in which they’re located, and Stronger Starts is intended, first and foremost, as a local scheme for local people.

It is run through individual stores, with clubs and groups free to apply directly or be nominated by staff and customers.

Information is then posted about each cause and customers are invited to vote by placing a blue token in the appropriate box at checkouts.

A winner is announced every three months and a cheque is handed over for up to £500, £1,000 or £1,500. Winners are invited to stores to celebrate their moment.

Stronger Starts has already seen over 5,000 applications for the first round, demonstrating how widespread the need for help is during the cost of living crisis.

Participation in sport is one of the most useful and positive ways children can flourish and be healthy.

To identify the best and most deserving grassroots clubs, Tesco has teamed up with The Sun’s Footie for All campaign so more children can play the game.

The newspaper launched its campaign after it was revealed that 94 per cent of clubs around the country were struggling and that many young players were dropping out because parents could not cover costs.

“The applications for sporting activities support we’re receiving through Stronger Starts are really high,” says Christine. “We know there is a big demand in many areas of the country for resources to help kids get into football, and we aim to support that through our partnership with The Sun.”

For a struggling club, a financial boost would count as the biggest win of its season.

Stronger Starts is open to any local club or charitable scheme. To find out more, head to Stronger Starts

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