A CROWDFUNDER campaign is underway to raise £20,000 to provide activities and wellbeing support across local villages.

The Prout Bridge Project is looking to raise the funds to buy, kit out and staff an outreach vehicle - so that it can flexibly provide activities and support within Beaminster and the surrounding villages.

The idea behind the campaign is to offer play and social reconnection for children and young people in the area, provide support and information with issues such as bullying, anxiety and low confidence, fight loneliness and isolation and help people of all ages get back to health with sports and fitness activities. In addition to this, the team would use the vehicle to extend the reach of Beaminster Food Bank by delivering essential supplies to households in need who are unable to get to Beaminster for collection and to offer advice services to help people build back after Covid, including a regular job club and Citizen’s Advice drop-ins.

The team behind the project has described the #PBPReachingOut Crowdfunder as an 'all or nothing' campaign. This means that if the team is unable to reach their £20,000 target, they don't receive a penny of the funding and the money will be returned to each person who pledged a donation.

Overall, £30,000 is needed to purchase, kit out and staff the vehicle, with £10,000 already raised thanks to a £4,000 donation from Comic Relief and £6,100 pledged from the Dorset Council Youth Fund.

In addition to this, Sports England has pledged £6,000 to the campaign - which will be granted once £5,000 has been donated by at least 100 different people - so every donation makes a difference.

Vikki Park, trustee of the Prout Bridge Project, said: "To me, mental health support is something that should be accessible to all people, of all ages and the services we run help achieve this, although of course we would like our reach to be wider.

"We hope by launching our Crowdfunder and the project becoming mobile, this will allow young people the chance to participate in activities and access our support."

The Prout Bridge Project is a small charity which delivers services for people of all ages in rural west Dorset, operating from Beaminster. In a typical year it works with more than 500 young people and adults. It was formerly known as Beaminster Youth Club.

The Prout Bridge Project has been unable to access its building on Prout Bridge since March 2020. This has resulted in reduced income and access to funding.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the organisation has been helping residents remotely through its free counselling service and youth worker support, but hasn't been able to run its programme of youth clubs and community activities for people of all ages.

The campaign has currently raised around £3,400 - 17 per cent or its £20,000 goal - not including the potential donation from Sports England.

For more information, or to donate, click here.