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Cash pledge for sports activities

A crowdfunding scheme is stepping up its efforts to raise more cash for sport-related activities across Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.

The joint venture between county sports partnership Energize, and specialist online crowdfunding charity Podium Partners, has already attracted pledges of well over £30,000.

Individuals, clubs, groups and organisations from across the county have been able to pitch for funding since the start of last year by ‘creating a campaign’ on the website: energizestw.podiumpartners.org.

But it is now looking to expand by offering a host of new features, including an ‘online shop’ where merchandise can be sold, plus a chance to set up your own fundraising activities on a cause’s behalf, or advertise other related fundraising activities.

The new, improved crowdfunding site will be launched at the start of May, and is   open to any person or organisation seeking to educate, develop or improve themselves – or other people - through sport and physical activity.

This could include training and competition costs, to new equipment, or financial support to start up a new activity. 

The project has already notched up some significant successes, including two separate 100% crowdfunding appeals for Bayston Hill Juniors FC, which raised a combined total of almost £3,500.

Chinese martial arts star Yasmine Lindsay, from Telford, also used the site to raise more than £500 so she could travel to the world championships with the England squad.

And the Shropshire under-16 handball squad hit their target of just over £2,100 to take part in a summer camp, giving them chance to learn from and compete against the best in Britain.

The SpArC sports and arts centre in Bishop’s Castle has also used the scheme. Jean Shirley, from the centre, said: “We found the Energize crowdfunding scheme an easy and flexible way of collecting the money we need to rescue our much-loved leisure centre.

“In fact, we collected more than expected, which meant that our local authority is now responding positively to our campaign.”

Tamsin Foster, marketing and communications manager at Energize, said: “These success stories prove that the crowdfunding formula really does work, and can make a huge difference in Shropshire.

“Since we launched the scheme at the start of last year, the site has attracted pledges of more than £30,000.

“But we now want to take things to the next level, increasing awareness of the service, and widening the range of sports and activities which are taking advantage by launching fundraising campaigns.

“We've already had interest and applications from right across the county, including activities such as boxing, swimming hockey, and basketball – but we know there are many more individuals and groups which could be also benefit.”

Energize chief executive Chris Child added: “This is a ‘win-win’ situation for sport and physical activity.

“It gives local people the opportunity to support local projects, and provides vital funding to help Shropshire people to achieve their ambitions, or just simply to be active.

“It could be an athlete struggling to meet their training costs, a team who need new equipment or kit, or a school or community activity which needs help to improve or even to get off the ground – the opportunities are endless.”

Once a fundraising campaign has been approved, it is given a page on the site which can be promoted to the public, who will be invited to make donations of any size towards a chosen target figure.

Donations are eligible for Gift Aid which increases the value of each donation by reclaiming the basic rate of tax on the donation at no extra cost. This could convert every £10 donated to as much as £12.50.

Karel Bretveld of Podium Partners said: “Quite simply we want to help people achieve their full sporting potential and develop their skills, capacities and capabilities to enable them to participate in society as independent, mature and responsible citizens. This shouldn’t be limited to the ability to pay.”

Energize, based at The Guildhall in Frankwell Quay, Shrewsbury, promotes sport and active lifestyles, and believes there is an activity out there for everyone - whether they see themselves as ‘sporty’ or not.

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