Team aims to make city ‘best place to live’

Some of Exeter's top names in business and sport have joined together to use their expertise to raise money for charities and support key projects.

The Exeter Foundation aims to mobilise residents to make the city a better place, and a key target for help will be disengaged and unemployed young people, with the elderly and others in need also set to benefit.

The foundation, a charitable trust launched this week at Sandy Park, has its roots in the overwhelming success of Exeter's Sure Start project.

Then Exeter Chiefs noticed the success of match day charitable collections, and the foundation idea was picked up by its directors earlier this year.

Now a high-powered board of trustees has been set up which includes, Tony Rowe, chief executive of the Chiefs, internationally renowned chef Michael Caines, David Bird, of Clydesdale Bank, Alan Quantick, of Exeter Rugby Club, Bruce Priday, managing director of Exeter's F&T Consultants, Keiron Nortchott of Northcott Beaton and Marc Astley, editor of the Express & Echo.

Already set to benefit are Families for Children, Exeter Lions, Richard's Wish, Exeter Chiefs' Youth Section, Exeter Paediatric Oncology, Wooden Spoon, Hospiscare, Dream-A-Way and FORCE.

Mr Priday, who as well as being a Foundation board member is a stalwart backer of Wooden Spoon, which supports disadvantaged children, launched the new initiative by stressing it was for people to advance the fortunes of Exeter and was apolitical and not for elitist, exclusive participation.

Praising the Chiefs' backing he said: "The foundation is for Exeter and the area and you do not need to be a rugby supporter to feel involved or to feel ownership. We want it to be the vehicle for fundraising by the businesses of the Greater Exeter area and a vehicle to use to access funding from statutory sources and other trusts.

"Exeter as an area has done well but, like our rugby and football teams, there is no room for resting on laurels or being smug. Now is the time to redouble our efforts and achieve things never thought possible.

"Exeter still has pockets of very significant social need and some will inequitably feel the pinch of this recession.

"The Exeter Foundation will be the vehicle for us collectively to say we will help our disengaged and unemployed youngsters, our elderly and others in need, to promote civic events, culture and heritage.

"Why can we not be the best place to live, with the most engaged community, in England and Europe?"

Originally published in The Express & Echo. Written by By Mike Byrne

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