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Dartford Valley Rugby Club and beekeepers among those helped by the Priory Shopping Centre in Dartford

It is a good time for beekeepers, dancers, and rugby players in Dartford as a shopping centre has promised a cash injection for a variety of community causes.

Eight local organisations will receive a boost of up to £2,000 thanks to a grant established by the new owners of the Priory Shopping Centre, Ellandi.

The successful applicants were Dartford Beekeepers, Heathfields Hall Improvement Project, Dreams in Dance, Dartford Junior Parkrun, Volunteer Community Transport, Dartford Valley RFC, Dartford Men’s Shed and Plastic Fantastic.

Priory Shopping Centre, Dartford
Priory Shopping Centre, Dartford

John Davis-Ashdown, Dartford Valley RFC president, said: “Dartford Valley RFC is delighted to receive the very generous grant from the Ellandi grant. It will help the club to expand our ladies’ rugby section and help with the launch of our wheelchair rugby team in November 2015 – both very exciting projects for us and the community we serve.

“The men’s senior rugby and the youth rugby both continue to expand at a fast rate. The future is very bright for DVRFC.”

Darren Riley, founder of Dartford Men’s Shed, added: “Winning this money to help disabled people enjoy allotments will no doubt improve their lives and those on the Dartford Men’s Shed who volunteer to help them with a determined drive to succeed.”

Dartford Valley president John Davis-Ashdown
Dartford Valley president John Davis-Ashdown

The application process saw 34 entries from community groups, charities and not-for-profit organisations. The entries were shortlisted by Ellandi and Project Dirt – an online network who connect and fund community and environmental projects – before the judging took place.

The panel of six included the leader of Dartford council Jeremy Kite and town centre manager Lewis Kirnon.

Mark Robinson, property director at Ellandi, said “When Project Dirt approached us, we saw this as a great opportunity to give back to the community whilst engaging local stakeholders. Project Dirt’s philosophy closely aligns with Ellandi’s ethos that community engagement is crucial.”

Simon Anderson, asset manager, added: “When we got round to judging, we decided to increase the grant amount as there were so many really great causes.
“We will also be contacting the unsuccessful candidates to see how we can help them, be it through space in the mall or even just advice and guidance."

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