A CHARITY has been handed thousands of pounds which will go towards helping youngsters sail on the River Stour.

Newsquest Media Group, publishers of the Daily Gazette, is marking the start of a new decade by donating more than £140,000 to 40 different community organisations across the country.

One of the organisations which is receiving £2,950 of the money is the charity Stour Blue Water Pass.

The money for the charity, which is based in Manningtree, will go towards dinghies and storage racks for delivering sail training sessions to young people on the River Stour.

The grants are made through the Gannett Foundation UK, whose trustees have worked through a stack of applications lodged through Newsquest’s 200 news titles and magazines.

Decisions are made on merit and the extent to which the trustees believe an award will deliver a real and lasting benefit to the communities served by those print and online services.

Andy Speirs, My Blue Pass sailing centre principal, said: “This is a great award for us and means we are guaranteed another sailing season for young people off the beach at Manningtree.

“The dinghies we have bought with this funding are perfect for us to teach our new recruits and develop their skills and confidence on the river.

“There’s huge enthusiasm from our young sailors to take to the water and we have a fantastic team ready to set sail when we relaunch in May.”

Chairman of the trustees Simon Westrop added: “It really is a pleasure for us to find and help people who are giving up their own free time to help others in inventive ways that answer specific local needs in the community, because this is where our newspapers are too and we want to support what is good about the places we live in and make them even better if we can.”

If your application missed out in 2019, there is a chance to try again later this year from the end of July through the newspaper or the paper’s website.

Mr Westrop added: “If your application did not succeed this time, please don’t be discouraged.

“Bear in mind that most of the successful applications are not necessarily big projects or headline-grabbers, but rather smaller ones that meet a particular need and instantly improve daily life.

“For instance, that new fridge or kettle the community centre has been wanting for ages.

“So think practically.

“Look out in your local Newsquest title, in the newspaper or on the website, for the announcement of the next annual round of Gannett Foundation UK grants sometime in the summer.”