A BOXING class for the elderly is one of the groups to benefit from a voluntary organisation's latest round of grants to the community.

A dozen organisations were boosted by Witney Lions Club's 2019 Dream Scheme, which awarded sums of up to £500 to a range of projects.

A total of £3,000 has gone towards several initiatives, from a day centre's entertainment costs to new toys for a pre-school.

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The grateful recipients gathered at the Lord Kitchener pub in Curbridge, near Witney, last week for a special awards evening to mark the scheme's third year.

Karen Stay's exercise business, Target, received the joint-highest donation of £500, which will help buy equipment for her fitness classes for the elderly.

The former landscape gardener was extremely grateful for the grant, adding that the money would be hugely appreciated by her clients.

Oxford Mail:

The team from the Barrowers with members of Witney Lions Club at the 2019 Dream Scheme presentations Picture: Phil Birkett

She said: “Quite often individuals decline in health and get scared to move to the point of not wanting to answer the door.

“I knew I could help the older folk who have had hip replacements and been in and out of hospitals.

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“I help them gain strength and balance and regain their independence. There’s a lot on the line for them."

The Aston resident holds classes for about 12 people in Minster Lovell, while she also helps out at Witney Day Centre and a diabetes class in Chipping Norton.

Clients are often in their 70s, but this has not stopped Ms Stay from adding boxing to her sessions.

She said: “When the ladies hold the gloves up they get this feeling of empowerment.

Oxford Mail:

The organisations who were awarded funding with members of Witney Lions Club at the 2019 Dream Scheme presentations Picture: Phil Birkett

“They’re jabbing out to a set pattern and it’s just incredible to see.”

The other £500 donation from the Lions went to drama group the Wychwood Saplings, who will spend the money on scenery kits.

A total of 21 organisations applied for Dream Scheme grants, which were funded by donations from the local community during the annual Lions Christmas float collections.

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Brownies and boys brigade groups were among those to receive grants, while several other initiatives for young people will also benefit.

Not-for-profit organisation The Barrowers, based in Witney, collected a cheque worth £300 at last week's ceremony.

This will go towards a project turning an old disused pond area into a fruit and vegetable patch for pupils at Madley Brook Primary School and Springfield Special School.

More than 400 children attend the two schools and the funds will pay for a slope suitable for wheelchair access down to the compost bins.

Helen Black, whose two children go to Madley Brook, said she hoped the project could gain momentum.

She said: “Whenever we reach out it’s amazing how many people turn up. Even those who don’t have children at the schools help out.

“It’ll hopefully be a project the kids can run with.”

The 12 projects awarded grants by the Dream Scheme:

  • Witney Day Centre
  • ARCh (Assisted Reading for Children)
  • The Wychwood Saplings and B.O.D.S.
  • Target
  • Freeland Pre-School
  • The Barrowers
  • Hailey Games Afternoon club for the elderly
  • 1st Witney Brownies
  • New Yatt Riding for the Disabled
  • 1st Boys Brigade Witney
  • 5th Witney Brownies
  • 1st Aston Brownies

Visit witneylions.org.uk to find out more