A STUGGLING Dales community arts group is set to expand after a £500 boost.

Leyburn-based Blueboxt Productions is celebrating after discovering it was a winner in Skipton Building Society’s Grassroots Giving initiative, beating off competition from nearly 1,000 other applicants across the country.

After being shortlisted in the campaign by the building society, the group’s application was then in the hands of a public vote, to determine if it was to win £500 of funding.

Their story was shared nationally via social media – and as a result the group secured a large enough proportion of the 20,000 votes received to be crowned a winner.

Blueboxt Productions is a community group run by five volunteers who work with children in the area, offering performing arts mentoring through activities.

The group consists of 30 young members, who enjoy taking part in music performance activities, working towards an annual performance showcasing their talents.

With this donation the group is hoping to purchase new music stands that can withstand the rigors of being used constantly by the youngsters.

With more sustainable equipment, the group hopes they will be able to welcome more members.

Colin Bailey, chairman of the group, said: “We are a voluntary run group who give our time to provide young people with opportunities to play and create in a contemporary style not catered for by the traditional music and drama offer in North Yorkshire.

“Our focus is young people but we have a wide range of participants who benefit greatly from interacting across generations. We’re delighted we’ve received this funding as now we can look at getting some new equipment and bringing in some new members.”

Skipton Building Society launched its Grassroots Giving programme as part of its 160th anniversary celebrations earlier this year.

David Cutter, Skipton’s group chief executive said: “Skipton’s Grassroots Giving programme was set up to support groups who show commitment to their community.

“Typically these grassroots groups often struggle to secure vital funding due to their size.

“Hopefully they will continue to flourish and remain the jewels in the crown of their local communities.”

As part of its Grassroots Giving initiative, Skipton Building Society has also launched a series of free resources covering a range of key areas for community groups, available at skiptonbig160.co.uk/free-resources.