Rotary ‘Dragons’ award cash boosts to community causes

FROM A costume wardrobe to a full-scale building revamp, the Rotary Club of Saddleworth is backing a host of community projects with much-need cash boosts.

The Club held their first ever ‘Dragon’s Den’ event at the White Hart, Lydgate, and six local groups were picked from the entries to present their ideas and receive a slice of the £1,500 pot.

Sarah Beswick Project Ghana
Sarah Beswick is presented with a cheque for £150 for Project Ghana

The evening began with a presentation of another £150 to 16-year-old Sarah Beswick from Grotton, who is one of a 23-strong group of Oldham Hulme Grammar pupils visiting Ghana in July.

The donation will go towards materials so the students can paint a kindergarten and primary school as part of their community work there.

Then the six local groups, charities or organisations took to the floor in turn to present their bids for the ‘Dragon’s Den’ funds and reveal their visions for their projects.

Diggle Diamonds received £250, which Abigail Rose explained they will use to “look after the welfare of elderly people who live in Diggle”.

The caring group puts on coffee mornings, day trips and talks throughout the year and an annual Christmas Party as well as helping residents with shopping and appointments.

Diggle Blues Festival, whose bid was accompanied by music from Blind Button Jefferson, were awarded £175 for their free annual event, which offers a musical extravaganza across the village.

Stuart Coleman said the event helps to “foster community cohesion and offers enjoyment for locals and those visiting from far and wide”.

Volunteers Kent Wells and Graham Nelmes from the Royal Oldham Hospital’s Radio Cavell received £250 which will help to complete and open a second studio.

The award-winning station offers sports shows, music, specialist shows and takes requests to provide entertainment for hospital patients.

Another £250 was presented to St Chad’s All Stars to go towards the creation of a costume wardrobe to house the legacy of Jean Radcliffe, who passed away last October.

Kate Millett explained how as wardrobe mistress for more than 20 years, Jean created thousands of colourful outfits, which will now be properly stored as well as made available for hire.

Pennine Mencap, which provides services and activities for adults with additional needs, received £325 to help kickstart their ambitious project to revamp their new home the Rhodes Bank Centre in Oldham.

Chairman Elliot Sparks said the money will be a “platform for us to build on” to develop their group and provide more mental, emotional and physical help for service users.

And brand new group Youth Local, was awarded £250 which will be spent on events, projects, equipment and activities for children and young people across Saddleworth.

Young volunteers Joe and Alex explained how at their temporary base at Greenfield Conservative Club, they offer services and activities in a central and safe space for local children.

Jon Slater, the Rotary Club’s Community Officer, said: “It’s been great to hear about the projects as well as bring all the groups together as a sort of networking event.

“We want to make people aware of what Rotary is about and how we can help in the local area.”

Rotary Club President Richard Bartlett added: “We’re pleased to support the community and back such a wide range of wonderful projects.”

Find out more about the Rotary at


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