New funds to help Hatfield kids and families

(Back L-R) Galleria Community Champion Alison Linskey and ARISE Hatfield's Karina Barden present che

(Back L-R) Galleria Community Champion Alison Linskey and ARISE Hatfield's Karina Barden present cheques to (Front L-R) Welwyn Hatfield Citizens Advice Julie Ford, Young Life International Alex Fediuk and Potential Kids Angela Gaughan. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

A children’s space that was vandalised before it could even open is among a trio of Hatfield community projects to receive support from local businesses.

The businesses behind Ocado, Hatfield House, The Galleria, and Interserve get together as the Alliance to Reward Initiatives and Social Enterprise (ARISE) on a quarterly basis to award up to £1,000 to initiatives in Hatfield that benefit the community.

This February, the projects awarded cheques at the Hatfield Galleria were Potential Kids, Welwyn Hatfield Citizens Advice, and Young Life International.

Potential Kids is a start-up group for children on the autistic spectrum or with ADHD, and had been due to open its doors in mid-January when a group of vandals broke in and caused mayhem.

READ MORE: Vandals destroy community centre for Hatfield’s most vulnerable

The ARISE fund of £1,000 will help the project get back on its feet and open its space.

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The centre, which is in Beaconsfield Court, will be a space for the children, aged between seven and 12, to enjoy themselves, feel safe, make friends, and have fun in.

Welwyn Hatfield’s Citizens Advice will use its grant of £1,000 to provide top-up fuel vouchers to Hatfield’s most needy.

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Citizens Advice has seen an increase in the number of people requiring food bank help.

But according to the organisation, in some cases, families can’t easily cook with the donated food as they don’t have enough cash to cover a gas or electric meter.

The inability to heat their homes also makes winter particularly challenging.

There will be set eligibility criteria to ensure the vouchers go to those who are most in need.

A third project, Young Life International at Gracemead House, will get new play equipment thanks to the grant.

ARISE first supported the project last year, and saw that the weekly club for young people aged between 11 and 18 has grown in strength since that time.

Now 30 young people attend every week for music, talks and time to hang out and use their games facilities.

ARISE awarded a total of £390 to help purchase outdoor equipment such as basketball hoops, spikeball, a ladder game, hockey sticks and giant Jenga.

Hatfield Galleria’s centre director Tim Stirling presented the cheques on Tuesday, February 20.

Suzanne Westlake, head of corporate responsibility at Ocado, said: “We’re thrilled to be able to support the Hatfield community with such worthwhile initiatives.

“Our efforts can provide such a great boost to local enterprises that in turn provide such valuable services in the town.”

Any group, organisation or individual based in Hatfield can apply for a maximum of £1,000.

For an application form or more information, contact or call Karina Barden on 01707 275050.

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