THREE Dorset charities have benefitted from a £2,000 each from Bournemouth-based banking giant JP Morgan after their popular dragon boat event was cancelled this year.

Due to current social distancing restrictions, the racing event, which was due to be held last month, had to be postponed until July next year.

At the 2019 event over £24,000 was split between Alzheimer’s Society, Hope House Training and Support and Macmillan Caring Locally as 350 employees making up 23 teams took part.

This year, Dorset Mind, Dorset Children’s Foundation and Forest Holme Hospice missed out from funding from the event but have instead accepted a £2,000 donation each courtesy of the multinational investment bank .

“We could appreciate how disappointing it was for the three charities that were due to benefit from this year’s event,” said Lottie Forte, from the bank's community relations section.

“To try and help minimise the impact we have made a donation of £2,000 to each of them.

“Our employees are equally disappointed we can’t go ahead, but everyone understands the reasons the decision to postpone was taken and cannot wait for a bigger and better event next year.”

Hannah Elson, communities lead, added. “Our Bournemouth colleagues are extremely passionate about supporting our local community and all involved thoroughly enjoyed the 2019 Dragon Boat Challenge event.

“We look forward to coming together once again next year for a great event raising vital funds for our local charity partners.”

The three charities have all struggled with donations due to cancelled events during the year and the closing of charity shops due to the two national lockdowns.

The banks has recently developed a bespoke data management system for Dorset Mind through its ‘Force for Good’ programme. The donation will be used to help implement this across the charity.

Events coordinator for Dorset Mind Hannah Garrett said: “Whilst we’re sorry that the Dragon Boat Race wasn’t able to go ahead, we’re extremely grateful to JP Morgan for their generous donation.

“It’s come at a crucial time for the charity as we continue to expand our mental health services across Dorset whilst facing funding uncertainty.

“On behalf of our trustees and our team, I’d like to say a huge thank you for JP Morgan’s continued support.”

The Dorset Children’s Foundation was set up in 2013 to improve the lives of local sick and disabled children.

Since then they have donated over £750,000 to over 150 local children, specialist schools, children’s centres and stay and play disability groups.

Adrienne Coles, head of marketing for Dorset Children’s Foundation, said: “We are a small, independent charity and fund medical expenses, mobility equipment and therapies not covered by Statutory Services.

“We have used £1,100 of this donation on remedial work in a garden. This was required to allow two children, who have both been diagnosed with special needs, a safe place in which to play which had previously been dangerous.”

Forest Holme Hospice have re-forecast a deficit budget of £350,000 for this financial year. JP Morgan’s donation will help us to continue their vital services during the second lockdown and beyond.

“Our team were so touched to receive a donation of £2,000 following the postponement of the JP Morgan Charity Boat Race,” said Hannah O’Hare, development manager for Forest Holme Hospice.