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Persimmon Homes

Windfall win transformed junior rowing in Leeds

11 September 2020

Leeds Rowing Club has transformed its junior programme following a £50,000 prize fund.

Last year the club successfully secured enough public votes as part of the Persimmon Homes Building Futures initiative to scoop the impressive windfall, resulting in the launch of a new Junior Rowing Academy Scheme this Autumn. Gavin Coates, from Leeds Rowing Club, said: “Winning the money has had a huge impact on the club and the future of junior rowing in Leeds.” A further three West Yorkshire young people’s groups are desperately competing to get the maximum public votes in this year’s Persimmon Homes Building Futures competition, so Gavin is urging the people to get behind their local groups and vote online.

Building Futures is designed to support projects that benefit under-18s covering three categories from grassroots sports groups, health organisations to arts & education projects. This year Persimmon Homes West Yorkshire’s finalists are Leeds Meanwood Valley Urban Farm, representing the arts & education category, Leeds Area Riding for the Disabled has been selected to represent sport and Sibs – for brothers and sisters health. People can support their local groups by voting at www.persimmonhomes.com/building-futures.

Each of the other 31 Persimmon regional businesses also have three finalists, plus Persimmon Plc, with one initiative from each category going on to win £100,000 decided by a public vote.

“Winning the £50,000 from Persimmon Homes was a complete game changer for Leeds Rowing Club,” said Gavin. “We now also have age appropriate boats so that the younger juniors can successfully develop as well as specific boats for our junior girls’ programme. None of these changes could have happened so quickly without the Building Futures funding. So, my message is that every vote really does count.”

An environmental educational centre in Leeds, Meanwood Valley Urban Farm gives urban children a rural experience. Winning a top prize would help make the centre become financially secure enabling the creation of virtual lessons and digital projects, allowing the centre to expand its outdoors teaching areas, safely modify its indoor venue and purchase new equipment.

Leeds Area Riding for the Disabled gives children with various disabilities the chance to learn about ponies and have riding therapy. The group plans to improve the safety of its arena surface as well as enhance facilities so more young people can benefit from its service.

Supporting children across the region who have a disabled brother or sister, the YoungSibs service helps children understand their sibling’s disability, gives tips for coping with difficult family situations and social isolation. The effects of Covid-19 have meant that young people are providing more care for their disabled or seriously ill sibling, impacting on their own health and well-being. The charity wants to expand its services to address this need.

Christopher Hull, deputy managing director of Persimmon Homes West Yorkshire, said: “Building Futures aims to create a lasting legacy for young people and the groups that support them. We wish all three of our regional finalists the very best of luck. The online voting is live and runs until midnight on September 18."

Building Futures is being delivered through the Persimmon Charitable Foundation, which last year donated £1.7 million to community projects and charities.

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