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'Huge weight lifted' for Northampton after Persimmon Homes Building Futures prize

Northampton Swimming Club coach Jacquie Marshall has recalled the moment she found out her club had won £100,000 in the Persimmon Homes Building Futures charity funding competition.

After initially applying for a £1,000 grant to go towards equipment, the Northampton club were overwhelmed when they were told they had won 100 times more.

The Persimmon Homes Building Futures campaign encouraged applications in three categories – education and arts, health, and sports.

The first, second and third placed winners from each category were awarded £100,000, £50,000 or £20,000 respectively.

Thinking back to the day of the announcement, Jacquie said: “We were actually training at the time and we’d got it on and when it came to the sports category, I got the swimmers out of the pool.

“We watched it and we didn’t win the third prize, we didn’t win the second prize, and I actually put the kids back in the water and went ‘there’s no way we’ve won the first prize’.

“They said they were going to announce the second and third prize winners of the education and arts category next and then they’d do all the first prizes all in one go.

“I thought ‘well that’s that then, we’ve not won’ and I’d literally got the kids back in the water and they were just about to start when my phone rang.

“I answered the call and this voice said to me ‘hello Jacquie this is Simon McDonald from Persimmon Homes and we’re outside the building, we’re here to tell you you’ve won £100,000’.

“I was on the phone and I was saying ‘what? What?! I can’t believe it – what? Say that again!’

“All the swimmers had stopped and they’re all looking at me and Maisie Summers-Newton said to me ‘what’s the matter? And I went ‘we’ve won! We’ve won!’

“I could not believe that we’d won – it was absolutely excellent and, if I’m honest with you, from a financial perspective, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted from us.”

Within the initial grant application, Jacquie had to answer what the club would use the money for if they were to win one of the big prizes.

“I put down that we’d use the money to help support some families in need who perhaps had been made redundant, so that it would enable children to continue swimming while people try to find new jobs,” she added.

“I also said that the money would be used to help support the club because of the massive loss of income that we’ve had, so that we could be sustainable and still be around in years to come.”

Thank you to everybody

Northampton Swimming Club are now in the process of creating a hardship fund that is transparent and fair to all their members.

The club have also written to all clubs who supported and voted for them.

Jacquie said: “We just want to say thank you to everybody.

“I would absolutely encourage swimming clubs to enter this and if anybody wants any help I’m more than happy to talk to people about how we went about our social media and how we sent out details on how to vote.

“But without everybody’s support we wouldn’t be in this great position, so I’m really grateful to everybody out there who did vote for us.”

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