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Big lift for Benjamin Foundation funds

PUBLISHED: 09:45 28 October 2008 | UPDATED: 09:12 13 July 2010

A charity which watched the Canaries romp to victory in shirts emblazoned with its name is continuing its celebrations after a collection at Carrow Road proved the most successful fundraiser in its history.

A charity which watched the Canaries romp to victory in shirts emblazoned with its name is continuing its celebrations after a collection at Carrow Road proved the most successful fundraiser in its history.

The Benjamin Foundation, which funds a wide range of services for young and homeless people in Norfolk, had its name on Norwich City shirts for the home game against Doncaster on Saturday .

And fans dug deep during the game and donated £3,461 in collection buckets dotted around the ground - enough to pay for counselling for 250 children, or a whole term of a special needs youth group.

And an auction of corporate tickets owned by club sponsor Aviva also raised a further £551.

Sharon Matthews, operational manager for children and young people's services, explained what the money means for the charity.

“We are thrilled, it is absolutely amazing,” she said.

“In terms of on-going projects we're looking to put a new kitchen and energy efficient measures in Winston Court, our hostel for young homeless people, and we're hoping to expand our counselling for young people as a means to prevent them displaying anti-social behaviour when they are older.

“From next month we are opening our youth drop-in centre, The Carpenters Arms in North Walsham, in to the evening on a Friday, which will cost us about £5,000 a year.”

Although the money raised is a drop in the ocean for the North Walsham-based charity's turnover of £1.3m, it represents a huge amount in terms of its general fundraising. The charity's annual ball is usually its largest cash generator and raises about £2,500.

As Ms Matthews explained, the publicity and exposure will undoubtedly bring in further cash and highlight their good work.

“It's been phenomenal. I was in seventh heaven at the game on Saturday - watching my team playing in shirts carrying the name of a cause I feel very strongly about was great,” she added.

“It could generate volunteers and people who want to use our services, and we can't put a price on that opportunity. It's certainly created a lot of interest in what we do and people are talking about us.”

The charity got the chance to have its name on City shirts, replacing club sponsor Aviva for one game, following a reader ballot in the EDP which also featured The Big C, Nelson's Journey, East Anglia's Children's Hospices and Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind.

The fundraising has not stopped yet - from Thursday , the special Benjamin Foundation shirts will go on sale on auction site ebay. Follow the link www.canaries.co.uk.

For more information about The Benjamin Foundation and how you can help, visit www.benjaminfoundation.co.uk.


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