Race heats up for Sport Relief funds

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Time is running out for community groups across Edinburgh and the Lothians to apply for their share of a £50,000 funding pot.

Thanks to Sport Relief and the Evening News, grants of between £500 and £1000 are being made available to grassroots organisations which bring together communities.

But the closing date for applications – Friday, March 16 – is fast approaching.

Last year saw the News team up with Red Nose Day organiser Comic Relief to promote the Community Cash scheme.

One of the organisations to benefit was the Engross Theatre Group, which produces educational plays for special schools, including Pilrig Park in Leith, Kaimes Special School and St Crispin’s in Morningside.

The theatre group received £994 of funding.

Co-founder Yvonne Moore set up the group after deciding to stage a play for the school that her son, who suffers from autism, attended.

She said: “Plays are based on the curriculum. They are educational but also so much fun that the pupils do not even realise they are learning.

“All our writing and acting and producing is tailored to suit their needs.”

Last year’s grant was put towards a production of a play, Mark and the Vikings, which the theatre group first performed three years ago.

The funding allowed Engross to redevelop the play and make it interactive for the pupils.

“It’s entirely up to us to find people who will support us financially,” Ms Moore said.

“The administration and running costs come to a huge amount.

“We are a registered charity and we work most days, doing a huge amount of work for free, because we are so passionate.

“Funds like this are vital to us, especially in this financial climate. We can’t go ahead without grants like these and we’re very grateful for everything that we receive.”

Other groups to benefit from last year’s fund include Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland, which benefited to the tune of £995, the Edinburgh Old Town Development Trust, which received £1000 and Calton Welfare Services Project, which received £920.

Funds are available to all eligible community groups and not just sports groups.

Individuals can do their bit by entering the Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Mile in Edinburgh on Sunday, March 25.

The money raised will be spent to help people in the UK and across the world’s poorest countries. To sign up, visit www.sportrelief.com.

To apply for a grant, visit www.scottishcf.org/srcommunitycash.