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Fund celebrates 30 years of supporting Swale youngsters

6th June 2016

Fund celebrates 30 years of supporting Swale youngsters


The Swale Youth Development Fund celebrates its 30th birthday this year after helping hundreds of talented youngsters to follow their dreams and ambitions.


To mark the milestone, the charity has produced a new brochure, outlining its history, with the intention of attracting more applicants and funding to support them.


The brochure’s official launch was held in the grounds of Sittingbourne Community College and was attended by the district’s two MPs, Helen Whately and Gordon Henderson, together with some of the charity’s trustees and several of the young people who had received financial assistance in the recent past.


The SYDF was founded by former Mayor of Swale Richard Moreton, raising £13,000 to kick-start the fund, and it held its first presentation evening in May 1986.


Since then it has handed out nearly £140,000 to help talented youngsters in fields such as music, art, crafts, sport, theatre and science. Typical grants range from £100 to £750 and from time to time the SYDF also grants bursaries of up to £2,000 to support exceptional talent.


Trustees meet four times a year to consider applications. Chairman Carole Nealey said: “We are always impressed by the support that parents give their children, sometimes travelling the length and breadth of the country to take them to auditions and competitions as well as paying out for tuition, training and equipment.


“The fund exists to help these families so that Swale youngsters can reach their full potential in whatever activity they excel.”


Gordon Henderson said: “From my early days on Swale Borough Council to my six years as an MP, I have been a great admirer and supporter of the Swale Youth Development Fund and I hope that its efforts continue for many years to come.”


Helen Whately, the MP for Faversham and Mid-Kent, said: “In my short time as an MP I have heard a lot about the superb work that the Swale Youth Development Fund does in supporting talented young people, and I was delighted to be invited to this event.


“I wish the fund every success and think many other towns and districts across the country would benefit from similar initiatives.”