YOUR favourite local paper is giving local charities the chance to take a share of a whopping £125k cash giveaway.

Our parent company’s charitable arm, The Gannett Foundation, is providing £125k in cash to support local charities across the country and we are delighted to have a £20k share to give away in our area.

And we asked YOU to decide where this money should be spent.

You nominated in your thousands and our editorial team chose a shortlist of eight charities from these nominations that will share in the £20k.

Winchester Go LD is our local finalist. The charity support adults with learning disabilities to live as independently as possible in the Winchester district and has about 100 members.

If successful they will put the money to fund an online weekly Makaton signing group.

Chief executive Betty Chadwick said: “We have a strong focus on wellbeing and the development of lifeskills."

Matakon uses signs, symbols and speech; giving a person different options when communicating. This is a particularly useful form of communication for adults with learning disabilities.

"We are fortunate to be able to team up with Steve Maloney at Sign with Steve. Steve is a special needs teacher from Southampton. Steve has worked with the neurodiverse community for many years and has a passion for signing. His aim is to encourage as many people as possible to take up signing and help create accessible communication for all. Steve is supported by Sarah Criddle from Osborne School.

“These signing to music classes provide an energetic, fun, social and happy environment for our Winchester Go LD members to develop their Makaton signing skills.”

Ms Chadwick added: “Signing with Steve is the highlight of my week. A lot of laughter and fun, great tunes and it’s fantastic to see the progress, confidence and skills our members have at Makaton signing.”

The other charities vying for a slice of the money in this region are Amelia’s Rainbow, Cornwall Accessible Activities Programme, Communicare in Southampton, South Wight Area Youth Partnership, The Bridge Youth Project, The Safe Basingstoke and The Will Mackaness Trust. Now we are putting the power to allocate the cash back into the hands of our readers.

During November, you are invited to collect tokens from our newspapers which can then be sent to collection points across our region or posted. Each token collected will then be used to allocate cash to the nominated charity – so if your favourite charity collects 50 per cent of all to tokens collected, it will receive 50 per cent of the £20,000.

See this week's paper for the token

Collection points in Winchester can be found at:

Pickards, 5A Stockbridge Road, Winchester, SO22 6RN

The Bridge Shop, 22 Bridge Street, Winchester, SO23 9BH

Andersons, 81 – 83 Hiltinbury Road, Chandlers Ford, SO53 5NQ

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