Three cheers (and six chairs!) for the community: GBG power back from despair
GLOUCESTERSHIRE charity Goals Beyond Grass has bounced back from a “devastating” vandalism spree in a manner all dedicated driving forces behind the project’s success can scarcely take in.
Gloucestershire FA reported in November (see http://www.gloucestershirefa.com/news/2018/nov/16/goals-beyond-grass-are-appealing-for-public-help) dreadful news that the popular football powerchair powerhouse had suffered much at the hands of mindless vandals, who had “seriously damaged” six state-of-the-art motorised chairs stored inside Gloucester’s GL1 Leisure Centre at Bruton Way.
The story spread far and wide amongst a shocked community and sparked a fund-raising mission that grew to such an extent that the £12,000 needed to repair the chairs, which are used regularly by football lovers of all ages with physical and learning disabilities, was soon filling the appeal’s coffers.
Heartened Goals Beyond Grass (GBG) founder and chief executive Brian Dix explained: “It was a really hard time. The chairs had received a level of damage that we did not think was possible.
“It was soul-destroying to see the vehicles that bring so much joy to our service users in that state, and it left the entire team devastated.
“In our hour of need a number of organisations came forward to lift our chins off the ground and look for a way to get the chairs back up and working and raise some funds.
“One organisation coming forward instantly was DC&M. Since day one DC&M have been outstanding and a consistent help, making what we do possible through the servicing and repairs to our chairs.
“On the very same day of the vandalism they took the chairs in, assessed the damage, made the repairs they could and really raised our spirits.
“Another organisation was the Robins Trust, the supporters’ society for Cheltenham Town FC. They started a Crowdfunder and donated £500 of their own money to get it underway. They pushed so hard and gave us the impetus to get out fundraising.
“Through this means over £3,000 was raised. We can’t thank them enough for all their hard work.”
Brian continued: “All this was just the start as many organisations helped us through so many ways. Cheltenham Round Table donated £5000; Gloucester City Ladies FC donated a week’s subs from all their teams; Oakley Community Centre donated money from a raffle and Gloucestershire Independent Network also held a raffle.
“Both TSB branches in Cheltenham held cake sales whilst Gloucester Purchasers and CLK Media both donated.
“Queens House of Cheltenham Ladies College not only donated through the crowdfunder but they have been fundraising constantly for us and donated over £1,000 over the past 12 months.
“Also, Smart Communications donate a percentage of a transaction on certain items and this is still ongoing and has been absolutely fantastic, so please check out their items!”
The GBG leader enthused: “We have been very privileged to be selected by a number of schools and houses which have helped us by raising money, although we don’t always find out before it happens. We would love to support all schools that help us so please get in touch.
“Vale Road Christmas Lights, a stunning spectacle in Cirencester, selected GBG as one of their charities of the year.
“And then there was a lady called Tricia Hamilton, who had been running a competition to win her house in Bristol with people having to spot the ball.
“Unfortunately there was no winner but five per cent of the money after costs was donated to GBG. It was a truly generous act from Tricia.
“We were also the main recipients of the Cash for Communities grant from Gloucester Round Table thanks to people voting for us through the Western Daily Press. Thanks to everyone who got involved, we were the winners of £2,500!
“Of course we appreciate all donations hugely. Thanks to the amazing generosity and support we reached the £12,000 to get the chairs repaired and to buy equipment to get back out delivering this amazing sport.”