FROM sewing machines to sailing courses, the Bentley Young Person’s Trust (BYPT) has helped hundreds of people fulfil their potential.
And now, after more than 20 years under the responsibly of Portsmouth City Council, the organisation is going it alone.
BYPT, which was set up by the former Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Alex Bentley, and his wife Nicke, provides small grants to young people to help pursue their dreams.
Until now it had been closely linked to the council, where staff provided administrate and financial support.
But following council cuts trustees voted to go it alone and BYPT is now an independent charity.
Mr Bentley said: ‘When we heard the council were making cutbacks we were deeply saddened as they have been a tremendous support to us over the years.
‘But closing down the trust just wasn’t an option we were prepared to consider.’
Mr Bentley said there were several people who were key to the trust’s success while under the care of the council – Jo Wildsmith, Ian Clark and the current Lord Mayor, Cllr David Fuller.
Mr Bentley added: ‘His help has been invaluable in making our independence a reality.
‘We don’t want to lose our connection with the council completely however, so we have had it written into the deed that whoever is Lord Mayor of Portsmouth will be invited to be our honorary president during their mayoral year in order to keep those historical ties alive.’
During their mayoral year, Mr and Mrs Bentley raised money through their Helping Hands appeal.
Determined to create a lasting legacy for the city’s young people, the trust was set up.
Cllr Fuller said: ‘Over my year in office I have learnt a great deal about this charity and the vital support it provides to our young people.
‘It has been my pleasure to assist them to move on and become independent as the loss of this charity would have been devastating to our local community. ‘
And Mr Bentley added: ‘The average grant size is just a few hundred pounds but the difference it makes to the young people and their dreams is enormous.’
Funding is open to anyone under the age of 25 years who was born in Portsmouth and the surrounding area who now makes Portsmouth, and its surrounds, their home.
They will also be eligible if they were educated in Portsmouth.
Applicants must demonstrate a genuine financial need for support and a commitment to their hopes and dreams.
That can be anything from a sewing machine to make costumes for a drama production, or funding for a training course.
Applications can be made by individuals or groups.
Any young person wishing to apply for support should visit the charity’s website at bypt.org.uk.