A primary objective of holding the Short Story and Poetry Competitions is to raise money for charity. Each year we identify a national and local organisation who will benefit from a cash injection. It gives us great pleasure to receive feedback from the institutions we have helped and listed below are some of the comments from them.

Just Be A Child

We received £1,500 in 2019, a sum that tipped our annual income over the £25,000 threshold. For charities this is a magic number which shows other potential donors that we are now in the big league. Well bigger league at least. This also meant that we felt brave enough to apply for a £50,000 grant later that year and actually got it and we are now building not one but two libraries in 2020.

Besides the money though, the fact that a literary organisation such as yours handpicked us for donation was in some way a validation for our project and a huge boost to our, or at least my, confidence. The response from the audience was amazing.

And from the Kenyan perspective, we don't have enough time or space to write all the reasons why your grant was so invaluable to us.

Dr. Lenka McAlinden Chief Executive of Just be a Child added this comment: "I also thought it would be worth sharing the results of our latest writing competition. The first year in late 2017 we have received 2 stories, with very limited vocabulary and rather 'basic' description of their own surroundings. In 2019 we have received 194 stories full of dragons, fairies, local mystical creatures and some very hard hitting 'based on a true event' stories. In a country where writing isn't really done for fun, a great result I think."

Rothsay Education Centre (REC) provides learning for people over the age of 50. Students are following their wish to continue to learn, thereby contributing to their health and wellbeing while enabling them to contribute to their communities.

Caroline Bacon, the Centre Manager, said that the very generous donation would be added to the general appeal fund for the future extension of the Centre.

Primrose Unit Fund - Bedford Hospital

The Proceeds from "An Evening with Ruth Hogan", organised by BIWC, went to the Primrose Unit at Ruth's request. Professor Robert Thomas, Consultant Oncologist thanked Ruth for her kindness and support and said in appreciation of the donation, "Please be assured that all monies donated to the Primrose Unit Fund are spent on services which we consider essential to patient care and comfort, but which cannot be ;paid for by the Hospital due to financial constraints."

Butterfly House

Bedford Women's Refuge, run by Places for People Living+ has accommodation and support for 10 women and their children fleeing domestic abuse. They can also signpost on to other refuge services.

The following was received from the custodian of Butterfly House:

"The children were very happy with their trip to Waterstone's to buy the books of their choice. They want to say a big Thank You."

Jane Whitbread Founder and Chair of Schoolreaders wrote

I Thoroughly enjoyed hearing the readings of the winning stories and poems and meeting some of the people involved in the organisation-, judges and patrons. What a wonderful competition to have in our town of Bedford.

I must thank you also for supporting the work of Schoolreaders. I hope you found my brief talk informative and gave you more of an insight into the work carried out by the volunteers. You'll be pleased to know that your donation will provide weekly one to one reading support sessions for just under 35 children for a whole academic year.

I wish you all the best for future years of the competition, perhaps one day a child helped by Schoolreaders may even enter!