Update from Monymusk Playpark Improvement Group
The work at the Sir Francis Grant Memorial Garden in Monymusk is now complete. The park was officially opened on 15th August 2015. The morning may have been wet and gloomy but that did not stop the folks of Monymusk coming out to celebrate. Bunting was hung, gazebos set up and the barbeque got underway. The skies eventually cleared and much fun was had by all ages testing out the new facilities.
Regardless of amount, The Jo Walters Trust was the first to respond positively to us, and you have no idea how much this encouraged us to keep going. So your generosity was a great boost, for which we are hugely grateful.
Thank you once again. I hope that when you next visit Monymusk you and your children will have a chance to enjoy the park, and reflect that Jo's Trust played an important part in seeing us over the line.
Neil McArthur MMPIG
Whereas many projects of this kind rely on outside funding, 42% of the £65,056 they raised came from Monymusk, a very worthwhile achievement - well done all involved! For more information on the project and pictures of the improvements in progress please visit http://www.penniesforthepark.co.uk/
Update from Feedback Madagascar
In April 2014, the Jo Walters Trust made a grant of £16,900 to Feedback Madagascar to fund a new project called 'Seeds for Change'. What follows is an update on how the money has been spent and what it has helped Feedback Madagascar to achieve.
The objective of the project was to provide seeds to some of the poorest communities in Madagascar, the 9th poorest country in the world. These communities live around, and are the custodians of, the native forests of Madagascar. Madagascar is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots with 5% of the world's species found only there. Most of these species are found in the rapidly dwindling forests which are also critical watersheds servicing the rest of the country. To help sustain these forests, Feedback Madgascar believes the best approach is to help the communities find ways to sustain themselves, without having to chop down the forests.
The Seeds for Change Project worked on this principle too. The Jo Walters Trust provided seeds to the communities as well as training in how to plant them in ways that are both productive, and sustainable. In exchange for the seeds and knowledge, the recipients were required to take part in community projects to benefit the community and the forest, such as clearing fire breaks to prevent any forest fires devastating both crops and forest, tree planting, and compost making.
The full report of the success of the project can be dowloaded by clicking the picture to the right, but the highlights, as we see them, are below:
Aberdeenshire Grants Awarded
The Jo Walters Trust is pleased to announce that the following 5 applications for funding through our Aberdeenshire Grants have been approved. As is clear from the detail below, the grants cover a wide range of extremely worthwhile activities across our sporting, educational, outward bound and environmental aims. We will provide updates on how these projects go as we receive them:
- Garioch Gymnastics Club: The Jo Walters Trust has provided a grant of £1,000 to help this very successful gymnastics club to be able to get their 10 athletes and their coaches to the national events they are competing in.
- Skill Force Scotland: We have made a grant of £2,000 to help fund a SkillForce programme of activities, awards and qualifications for 15 young people in S3 at the Gordon Schools in Huntly, building their skills, confidence and self-esteem. As part of the SkillForce back on track programme, the children will be encouraged to be aware of, and take responsibility for, the natural environment, navigate the countryside and demonstrate knowledge of the Countryside Code. They include the Duke of Edinburgh Award (Bronze), the National Navigation Scheme Award and a week of adventure activities set to the skills and confidence levels of the young people. We hope these unforgettable experiences make a lasting impression on our young people, driving a marked improvement in trust, attitude and maturity. The Skill Force team attribute much of their success to their inspirational instructors. 75% of the team in Scotland have served their country in the British Armed Forces and now provide excellent role models – something often lacking in these young people’s lives. Many have themselves come from challenging backgrounds and so can empathise with and support our young people lifting their aspirations and levels of achievement. Having served their country, they are now serving their local communities by making a real difference to the lives of young people.
- SCILL inform and support parents and professionals who care for children with additional support needs (ASN). They also run activities for children with ASN, currently swimming and dancing. Children with ASN struggle with self-esteem and confidence and find it difficult to access activities which their peers take for granted. The Jo Walters Trust has provided a grant of £1,390 to pay for swimming lessons that are run by their team of 6 volunteer swimming instructors. Children start with one to one lessons progressing to a small group if appropriate. Reports are issued termly and evaluation reports completed by parents, show huge appreciation of the service they provide for providing such an important life skill. The grant will cover costs of the swimming lessons for a year.
- Grampian Disability Sport plan to introduce a multisport event in Grampian - the Grampian Games in June 2015. This would allow athletes from across Scotland to travel to the North East and compete in the sports of Boccia, Bowls and table tennis. The Jo Walters Trust is providing £530 to cover the costs for doing this. Read about the event in the August 2015 Disability Sport Newsletter, produced by Sport Aberdeen.
- Monymusk Playpark Improvement Group: The Jo Walters Trust is providing £1,000 to purchase equipment to refurbish the playpark in Monymusk. The aim is to cater to a much broader range of the local community.
Grant Award to Feedback Madagascar
We are incredibly pleased, at the Jo Walters Trust, to have made a grant of £16,900, to fund Feedback Madagascar’s ‘Seeds for Change’ project in Madagascar, part of their TreeMad programme. It will focus on 21 communities (3,900 people) in the Amoron’i Mania region. Together these people manage 15,000 hectares of Madagascar’s last temperate forest.
About Feedback Madagascar
Feedback Madagascar (Registered Charity SC023568) was set up in 1995 to help the people of Madagascar who live around the most important remaining indigenous forests; by helping the local people, they aim to safeguard the survival of the forests and their associated ecosystems. They do this in conjunction with Ny Tanintsika, Feedback Madagascar's Malagasy partner organisation. Sir David Attenborough has lent his support to Feedback Madagascar, saying:
“it is the most realistic and ambitious tree-planting programme the island has ever seen [...] representing the best chance that the island’s wildlife has.”
Jo Walters Trust Sponsor Kerry MacPhee for Glasgow 2014
The Jo Walters Trust is really proud to have sponsored one of the athletes for the Commonwealth Games, Kerry MacPhee, paying for the wheels and groupset (the gears and brakes etc) for her mountain bike with a grant of £2,000. Kerry is from the isle of South Uist, in the Outer Hebrides where Jo Walters went on holiday nearly every year of her life. We felt Jo would be really keen to support someone from the island in memory of the wonderful times she'd spent there. It is particularly exciting as Kerry is the first ever female athlete from the Hebrides to take part in the Commonwealth Games.
Kerry's route to becoming a Commonwealth Games competitor was not typical. She moved to Stirling initially to study at the university and graduated with a BSc in Physical Education and an MSc in Sport Management. While there she took up triathlon 3 years ago, joining the local triathlon club and has continued to go from strength to strength, particularly in mountain biking. In June she qualified for the Commonwealth Games and will be taking part in the Mountain Biking events.