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The Corporation

Posted: 15/03/10

Asha bowled over by cricketing fundraiser

A charity set up by West Nottinghamshire College principal and chief executive Asha Khemka OBE is celebrating a major cash boost.

More than £40,000 was raised at a fundraising gala dinner at Lord’s Cricket Ground, staged by Mrs Khemka’s Inspire and Achieve Foundation, which aims to provide opportunities for young people from regeneration areas.

Almost 100 guests from business, commerce and education attended the black-tie dinner and auction, held earlier this month (Friday 5 March) in the historic Long Room at the ‘home of cricket’.

Guest speakers included former England cricket captain Graham Gooch OBE, former Indian cricketer and current IPL referee Farokh Engineer, Richard Noble OBE, holder of the land-speed record between 1983 and 1997, and Professor Karen Cox, pro-vice chancellor at the University of Nottingham.

Proceeds from the event will go towards creating a centre in Mansfield for young people not in education, employment or training, known as NEETs.

College chiefs are keen to repeat the success of its Ashfield Project, which has helped transform the lives of more than 150 teenagers since it opened in Huthwaite Road, Sutton-in-Ashfield, in 2008. To date, 165 teenagers have successfully completed specially-tailored vocational programmes at the centre, with most progressing into employment or further training at the college.

Raising the funds to open a similar facility in Mansfield is now one of the foundation’s main objectives.

Mrs Khemka OBE said: “The event provided the perfect platform for sharing the aims and objectives of the foundation with influential people across business, commerce and education. I’m immensely grateful to everybody that attended and helped raise such a fantastic amount of money.

“This national fundraiser was the first step towards opening a Mansfield centre for young people who are not in work or education, or lack the confidence to access the college’s mainstream provision.”

Graham Gooch OBE said: “It’s inspiring to see people coming together to raise money for those less fortunate. Under-privileged young people deserve our help and support.”

The gala dinner was backed by major businesses and organisations.  Sponsors included Mansfield-based Linney Group, the University of Nottingham, Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets and City & Guilds.

The Inspire and Achieve Foundation was launched by Mrs Khemka at the House of Commons in 2008 to help young people with low aspirations from across the area by providing volunteering and mentoring schemes.