Ashford Leisure Trust Awards £54,000 To Local Charities

Ashford Leisure Trust has awarded grants totalling just over £54,000 to seven organisations that deliver healthy recreational activities for people living in the borough of Ashford

In January 2021, grant-maker Kent Community Foundation announced a new fund thanks to Ashford Leisure Trust offering grants of up to £10,000 to support charitable projects delivering healthy recreational activities for people living in the borough of Ashford. Seven projects have been selected from those who applied to share in grants totalling £54,143.

The successful applicants were Boughton and Eastwell Cricket Club, Kent Challenger Games, Pirates Canoe Club, Rylands Road Park Renovation, Sport on your Doorstep CIC, Step-Out outdoor learning, training and therapy CIC and Wealden Leisure Ltd trading as Freedom Leisure.


Natalie Smith, Director of Grants and Impact, Kent Community Foundation, said, “We were delighted to receive so many excellent applications from Ashford groups, and it was certainly not easy to select the organisations who would receive funding.  The Ashford Leisure Trust Fund is now open for new applications for further grants which will cover project delivery costs including small capital, staff and volunteer costs. We look forward to being able to support more organisations in Ashford through the fund later this year.”

Tony Hogben, from Pirates Canoe Club who were recipients of a grant, said, “Pirates Canoe Club has, as one of its key pillars, a desire to make Paddle Sport available to everyone in the community with no barriers. All our coaches and leaders give their time for free, and the Ashford Leisure Trust grant will allow the Club to upskill and refresh their qualifications and in doing so provide a safe, enjoyable, quality learning experience to all who attend.

“The club has grown exponentially which is great but that brings with it challenges and the grant will enable us to address some of these. For example, new members do not have appropriate clothing for exposure to water. This grant will enable the club to renew some of our aging protective clothing and safety equipment. The grant will also enable the club to run more sessions within safe and secure surroundings of Conningbrook Lakes and a swimming pool, which both come with a cost.

“As the club grows so does what we offer. One of the fastest growing water sports in the UK is Stand Up Paddleboarding. Some of our coaches have invested in coach training and the club has used some of the grant to purchase additional Stand Up Padddleboards. Within the Club, this interest in Paddleboarding has brought in new members of all genders and ages, helping to increase the diversity of our membership.”

Linda Dodds, Chair of Ashford Leisure Trust said “These grants, plus a donation of £200,000 to support the recent refurbishment of the Stour Centre in Ashford mark the start of an exciting new function for the Trust. We were delighted to be able to fund some excellent projects that will improve the wellbeing of the borough’s residents. We are looking forward to seeing more applications submitted by the end of August so that we can award further funding to more groups in October.”

To find out more about applying for funding from Ashford Leisure Trust Fund contact Kent Community Foundation by calling, 01303 814500 or visiting



About The Grant Recipients

Boughton and Eastwell Cricket Club, received a grant of £7,500 towards their new cricket and community pavilion. Their current pavilion is not fit for purpose and the new pavilion has been designed to: improve changing facilities, meet the needs of the growing junior section, and provide a state-of-the-art facility for the community.

Kent Challenger Games, which gives equal opportunities to all participates in sports and outdoor activities regardless of disability, received a grant of £5,000.

Pirates Canoe Club has 150 members of all ages, genders and backgrounds who enjoy canoeing in a warm and friendly paddle sport community. They received a grant of £10,000 towards coaching and training costs.

Rylands Road Park Renovation, received a grant of £10,000 towards outdoor gym equipment.

Sport on your Doorstep CIC, received a grant of £9,400 towards their Stanhope Youth, Fit and Fed Holiday Hunger project.

Step-Out outdoor learning, training and therapy CIC, received a grant of £7,243 towards their cycling academy.

Wealden Leisure Ltd trading as Freedom Leisure, received a grant of £5,000 towards their project to create easy access for everyone into the local swimming pool.

About Kent Community Foundation

Grant-maker Kent Community Foundation has been finding, funding, and supporting some of the smallest voluntary organisations in the county for 20 years. In this time, it has distributed over £44 million to support thousands of small charities and deserving causes where a modest sum of money can make a significant impact.

They are part of a UK wide accredited network of forty-six Community Foundations who are committed to improving the lives of local people and communities, particularly the most vulnerable, isolated, and disadvantaged by matching those who want to help, with those who need the help.

Responsible for more than 80 philanthropic funds, Kent Community Foundation is unrivalled in its knowledge of local causes and assists individuals, families, and businesses, who want to help, to establish and administer their own charitable funds.