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Jubilee fund aims to give thriving Brigade group a boost
THE oldest youth organisation in the world set up camp in Wallingford just seven years ago and has been giving its community a helping hand ever since.
Now the Boys’ Brigade needs a helping hand itself and is hoping the Jubilee Fund for Oxfordshire, supported by the Oxford Mail , will help it retain its motto of ‘Sure and Steadfast’.
Wallingford Boys’ Brigade meets at the Methodist Church Hall in St Leonard’s Square every Wednesday night and despite the name, welcomes boys and girls, aged five to 18.
Captain of the unit, Nev Keating, 48, joined the Boys’ Brigade himself 40 years ago, and started up the Wallingford group, seeing an initial membership of two flourish into today’s 40.
He said: “The Boys’ Brigade started in 1883, 25 years before the Scouting Movement and while there are many similarities between them, the main difference is that the Boys’ Brigade is a Christian organisation.
“The Boys’ Brigade is at its essence about having fun and widening your experiences, but it is also committed to helping our local and international community, and this involves things like taking elderly people from Wallingford on regular day trips, and also supporting the Baptist Overseas Mission Society through our fundraising.
“We are also just about to start designing and making a stained glass window for Wallingford Methodist Church. All the members, from the very young ones, to the older ones, take great enjoyment out of helping others.”
But Mr Keating added: “This year has got to be our hardest so far in terms of generating money.
“We require around £10,000 a year to offer all our activities and to run our work for the community, but only £1,000 of that comes from members’ subscriptions.
“We have a minibus that desperately needs replacing and two more canoes would be fabulous.
“We use local events like the Cholsey Show to raise money and I have put in a few thousand pounds of my own over the last few years, but we could really do with some help. That’s why we are hoping that people and businesses will hear about us and maybe help, whether by giving money to the Jubilee Fund or even by choosing us as a cause to support.”
In January, Oxfordshire Community Foundation (OCF) set up the Jubilee Fund for Oxfordshire to mark the Queen’s Jubilee Year by helping to fund the county’s many charities.
Individuals, schools, clubs and businesses are being asked to make a difference in their own communities, by donating money to the Fund, which will then be given in a series of grants.
Mr Keating added: “A grant would mean so much to us, perhaps enabling us to help four youngsters who are hoping to go on camp next year, but as yet can’t afford to go. Or maybe helping us to buy new canoes.”
Finley Young, nine, has been in Wallingford ‘BB’ for a year.
She said: “You have lots of fun but also learn really great things, like first aid, road safety and how to be Green.
“I am one of five girls and have brought in three of my best friends who love it too.
Jayne Woodley, chief executive of the Oxfordshire Community Foundation, which is steering the Jubilee Fund said: “We applaud organisations like The Boys’ Brigade which provide so many activities for young people outside the school gates whilst helping them develop into real team players and valuable members of the community.”
- To donate to the Jubilee Fund or to volunteer to fundraise on its behalf, email: email@example.com, call 01865 798666, or drop into OCF’s offices at 3 Woodins Way, Oxford. Alternatively, donate by phone by texting JBLE 12 to 70070 with a donation. To apply for Jubilee Fund cash, see oxfordshire.org. For more information on Wallingford Boys’ Brigade visit: http://1wallingford.boys-brigade.org.uk