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Ailing Stone support group and wind-ravaged sports club get grand response from council

By Kerry.Ashdown  |  Posted: April 17, 2014

Frank Dawson and Rod Tobias from Little Stoke Cricket Club with their wrecked pavillion

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TWO STONE community groups who suffered natural and funding disasters have been helped out by town councillors.

The former SAMS group, which offers support, exercise and physiotherapy for people with multiple sclerosis and other life-limiting conditions, is facing a battle to stay open after national charity MS-UK withdrew support last month.

And Little Stoke Cricket Club was devastated when its junior cricket pavilion was destroyed by severe winds in February.

Both groups called on Stone Town Council for help and at Tuesday’s council meeting they were each awarded £500 from its grant aid funding pot.

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SAMS has now been renamed STING (Staffordshire Therapeutic Independent Neurological Group), but has lost its charity number as a result of MS-UK’s withdrawal which is hampering fundraising efforts, secretary Liz Gumbley said.

The group, based at the Whitebridge Estate, is now applying for its own charitable status. Whitebridge Estates landlord Charles Baines has offered the group two months rent-free if they can pay rent for the next two months, giving them until the end of August 2014 to raise further funds.

Ms Gumbley said: “In the main our members live in Stone and the surrounding areas and so we feel it is paramount that the centre remains open. Some members only leave their own home to attend the centre and it is the only place they can meet with people who truly know and understand how they feel.”

Little Stoke Cricket Club has asked for assistance to cover temporary changing room facilities, as the new cricket season gets under way. The junior pavilion is still without a roof, ripped away by the gusts, and was built just a few years ago.

Councillor Joyce Farnham said: “I think we should give them £500 because they cater for 73 junior members and they don’t charge them anything. They bend over backwards for these children, and they are local children.

“When Stone Stroke Club lost its home we were like nomads. Little Stoke Cricket Club took us in and made us welcome, they said it was their service to the community.”

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