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The Corporation

Posted: 13/07/11

Howzat! Foundation bowled over by cricketing fundraiser

A charitable foundation set up by West Nottinghamshire College principal Asha Khemka OBE is celebrating a major cash boost.

The Inspire and Achieve Foundation, which tackles youth unemployment and disengagement, raised more than £33,000 by staging its second annual gala fundraising dinner at Lord’s Cricket Ground.

Over 100 guests from business, commerce and education attended the black-tie dinner and charity auction on Thursday 30 June in the historic Long Room at the ‘home of cricket’.

Sponsored by Pearson UK and White Rose Beauty Colleges, proceeds from the event will support the foundation’s aim of creating a vocational support centre for hard-to-reach young people.

The foundation wants to repeat the success of West Nottinghamshire College’s Ashfield Centre – which runs specially-tailored programmes for young people not in education, employment or training – by opening one in Mansfield.

Ex-England hockey player Roger Dakin introduced the evening’s proceedings and hosted the auction of sporting memorabilia and other prizes.

Guest speaker was former England cricket captain Mike Gatting OBE, who led his country to Ashes glory in Australia in 1987. 

Professor David Greenaway, vice-chancellor at the University of Nottingham and patron of the Inspire and Achieve Foundation, gave the keynote speech.

A group of students from the college’s Ashfield Centre also attended and were treated to a tour of the Marylebone Cricket Club.

Mrs Khemka said: “The event was a fantastic success, both in terms of boosting funds and shining the spotlight on the very serious issue of youth unemployment.

“It was heartening to bring together people who share a passion for raising the aspirations and achievements of young people in our society.  I’m immensely grateful to everybody that attended and am truly humbled by the amount raised.

“The most special guests, of course, were students from the Ashfield Centre whose lives have been transformed by the tailored vocational support that it offers.  Creating a similar centre in Mansfield remains the number one priority for the foundation.”

Mr Gatting said:  “There are many young people in the UK who don’t get chances in life the first time round for a whole host of reasons.

“The Inspire and Achieve Foundation is doing a marvellous job in helping to support people such as this – providing them with that vital second chance to succeed and turn their lives around.”

Mrs Khemka set up the Inspire and Achieve Foundation in 2008 after growing increasingly concerned about the affects that the decline of the coalmining and textiles industries were having on communities in Nottinghamshire.

Its patrons and trustees include high-profile business people, educationalists and politicians.