A surprise grant of over £2,000 has been received by Aspatria's Rainbow group.

Helen Marrs, who runs the unit, said their two main fundraising events had been cancelled due to the pandemic.Out of the blue, however, she received a call to say that the was being given the grant by thet he Province of Cumberland & Westmorland Freemasons.

Ms Marrs said: “Normally, each year we host a Strawberry Tea and then our Santa Evening in the Masonic Hall, which raise enough funds for the year.We’re absolutely delighted to receive such generous funding from the Freemasons. We’re going to invest it in a wide range of resources including some outdoor equipment like hoops and skipping ropes, and a new parachute. We’ll also be able to purchase more Girlguiding programme resources, and some art and craft equipment too”.

The cheque was presented in a socially-distanced fashion by the Chairman of the Solway Group, Richard Benn. Richard said “I’m so pleased to be able to handover this cheque to 1st Aspatria Rainbows. We really like to be able to support local youth organisations, and we’re really pleased that it will be used to buy resources and equipment for many Rainbows in the future!”

Rainbows is for girls aged 5-7, and 1st Aspatria Rainbows meet every Tuesday in term-time for an hour from 4 o’clock. As well as having members who live in Aspatria, they also welcome girls from surrounding villages including Oughterside, Westnewton and Blennerhasset.

Helen runs the unit with the help of parents on a rota system, although is looking for a new volunteer to help her. She said “I started with 1st Aspatria Rainbows as a Young Leader, so have been involved with the unit for quite a while. Being a leader is so rewarding – seeing girls arrive as shy five-year-olds and developing confidence and they just can’t wait to move up to Brownies, it’s great.”

1st Aspatria Rainbows is part of Girlguiding, the leading charity for girls and young women in the UK. Thanks to the dedication and support of amazing volunteers, girls and young women have space where they can be themselves, have fun, build brilliant friendships, gain valuable life skills and make a positive difference to their lives and their communities. Aspatria Rainbows will resume in September, for more information and to join, see https://www.girlguiding.org.uk/, or call Helen Marrs on 07825993482.

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For more details, contact Helen Marrs 0