Anchor's aweigh for Les and Trust

Issue 466

A CHARITY boss was left stunned when councillors in Mirfield granted his group more than double the amount of cash they asked for.
Les Moss, chairman of Mirfieldbased Safe Anchor Trust, was at an area committee meeting on Monday for the outcome of a £10,000 grant application.
But the group, which takes people with special needs on free boating trips from the town’s Shepley Bridge Marina, walked away with £21,000.
The cash jackpot was offered by Coun Vivien Lees (Con, Mirfield) in matched funding from council coffers ringfenced for grant applications.
Group members had raised £21,000 towards the £50,000 cost of refitting and refurbishing a boat to take modern wheelchairs.
Les was shocked when first Coun Martyn Bolt (Con, Mirfield) wanted to double the group’s grant and then Coun Lees proposed matched funding instead.
It means the charity only have to raise another £8,000 and Les said: “We were absolutely speechless. It came as a total surprise.
“Kirklees have been very supportive of us over the years but we were quite nervous this time because of all the cuts.”
Les said the group’s 1978 boat, named after former Huddersfield magistrate E Austen Johnson, needs a new lift to cope with today’s larger wheelchairs.
Its disabled toilets also need fixing while some floors are rotten. The group’s fundraising allowed the restoration to begin.
Now the charity can carry the work on and aim to have the boat ready for a proposed Help for Heroes event in September.
Mirfield Air Cadets want to do a sponsored boat pull from the town to Manchester and back.
Les said: “We have some other grant bids outstanding. Having to find only £8,000 instead of £20,000 in the current climate may be a bit easier.”
Coun Bolt said extra cash had been found due to savings and underspend on other projects.
“Because we are careful with money and claw back what hasn’t been spent we can offer more to support charities like the Safe Anchor Trust,” he said.

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