University of Derby helps north Derbyshire groups support their communities

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Projects ranging from a mental health help-line for young people to a scheme which will give adults a second chance at learning to read have been supported by the University of Derby’s Community Fund.

The Derbyshire Federation for Mental Health, Buxton Rotary Club’s Youth Leader Award scheme, Buxton-based Bright Opportunities’ adult literacy scheme and puppet company Funny Wonders have all received grants from the Fund.

The Community Fund is one way in which the University hopes to ‘give back’ to local people through grants to inspiring projects that seek to benefit the community.

Community groups throughout Derby and Derbyshire will be able to bid for their share of £15,000 over the next 12 months. There will be three rounds of funding in 2016/17, with £5,000 available in each round.

“We’re proud to be part of a fantastic county and we are always looking for innovative ways to invest back into the community. The Community Fund is one way in which we hope to ‘give back’ to local people,” said Vice-Chancellor, Professor Kath Mitchell.

And the University is again accepting applications for the next round of awards. To apply, go to

Derbyshire puppet company Funny Wonders will develop new creative workshops to take into local schools thanks to a grant from the Community Fund.

Funny Wonders uses puppetry and music to fire young people’s imagination by getting them to not only design and make a range of puppets but also write scripts, compose soundtracks, direct and perform. These either support the National Curriculum or help children with learning difficulties or mental health and emotional issues.

Funny Wonders, which receives £1,000 from the University’s Community Fund, began in Buxton. Since 1998 it has run a varied programme of activities focused on puppetry and music developing theatre productions, running workshops, getting involved with community events, developing the Buxton Puppet Festival and linking with puppet groups from Japan and India.

To find out more about Funny Wonders, go to Funny Wonders Bright Opportunities, a Buxton charity which runs a day service for people with learning difficulties, will use their grant to buy specialist books to help give adults who missed out at school a second chance to learn to read.

The University’s grant of £285 will also buy audio books and cross-words designed to make the process easy and fun.

To find out more, go to

Buxton Rotary Club will use their £450 grant to turn young people in to the leaders of the future.

The money will enable teenagers to take part in the Rotary Youth Leader Award at White Hall Outdoor Pursuits Centre near Buxton, run by professional instructors who offer caving, climbing and canoeing.

The £150-a- head course is designed to develop leadership, team-working and character while exploring how to solve problems as part of a group.

The Club is matching the University’s donation, and the Award will be open to pupils from Buxton Community, Chapel-en- le-Frith and St Thomas More schools, whose teachers will select the young people most likely to benefit.

To find out more about Buxton Rotary Club, go to

A grant from the Fund will support a Derbyshire charity as it tries to bridge a gap in NHS funding which has left a growing number of adolescents facing mental health issues without professional help.

The £1,500 grant will enable the Derbyshire Federation for Mental Health to extend its weekly call service to younger adolescents – a group identified by Prime Minister Theresa May as receiving inadequate support.

“We know from experience that adolescents suffering with their mental health will be the adults receiving services tomorrow,” said the Federation’s Toni Bryan.

To find out more about the Derbyshire Federation for Mental Health, go to