NatWest CommunityForce winners announced

A CHILDREN’S charity, a community-run pool and a complementary cancer charity are three North Somerset causes to each win a �6,000 grant from NatWest thanks to votes from local people.

Each year, as part of its customer charter, NatWest invites community projects and charities to apply for an award of �6,000 each as part of its CommunityForce scheme. Three winners in each area are decided by a public vote during October.

This year, in the West Bristol Awards, Portishead Open Air Pool, Children’s Hospice South West and Penny Brohn Cancer Care received the most votes.

As a result, Portishead Open Air Pool will have improved disabled facilities when it re-opens for the 2012 season.

The trust took over the historic lido from North Somerset Council in 2008 after a campaign to save it. It is run mainly by volunteers, with lifeguards and duty managers recruited each season.

Pool spokesman Barbara Thatcher said: “Fundraising is an important part of our activities and we applied to NatWest CommunityForce so that we could finance our latest project, to provide dedicated disabled changing facilities and a special access ladder so that people with restricted mobility can enjoy a swim like everyone else.”

With quotations already in place, work is expected to begin on the new facilities within weeks.

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Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW) runs Charlton Farm in Wraxall and Little Bridge House in Cornwall, providing care and support for children with life-limiting illnesses and their families.

It was founded by Eddie and Jill Farwell 20 years ago after they found themselves increasingly isolated when their children were diagnosed with a serious illness.

CHSW corporate partnerships fundraiser Kate Fisher said: “We’re delighted to have been chosen for the NatWest community award and would like to say a huge thank you to the public for voting for us.

“These awards are all about organisations supporting their local community which goes right to the heart of why Children’s Hospice South West was set up.”

Penny Brohn Cancer Care in Pill provides complementary therapy, support and care to people affected by cancer.

The NatWest money will be used to help fund its Cancerpoint service, which offers more than 3,200 one-to-one appointments every year with doctors, complementary therapists and counselors. Over the past three years the demand for Cancerpoint has doubled.

Penny Brohn Cancer Care’s trusts and major donor manager Sarah Chapman said: “We are extremely grateful to the public for helping us to win �6,000 in the NatWest CommunityForce campaign. With this grant, we will help more than 100 people to face their fear, take control and learn to live well with the impact of cancer.”