Jam Jar Army 2015: Who gets your vote?

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We have unveiled the shortlist of those in the running to become the Jam Jar Army’s fifth beneficiary as we march on through 2015.

Two weeks ago, we launched a search for nominees and once again we have a shortlist with a variety of causes and charities, from life-savers to support groups to museums.

And now it’s up to you – our readers – to vote for your favourite. The campaign relies on the support of the community in north Northumberland and it’s for the community to decide who to support.

The Jam Jar Army appeal was first launched in May 2011 after author Judith O’Reilly came to us with the idea, and the target of raising £10,000 for HospiceCare North Northumberland was set.

By the end of that year, the appeal, which at its simplest sees homes, shops and other businesses collecting small change in jam jars, had raised more than £13,000 for the charity.

In 2012, Alnwick Playhouse Youth Theatre was named as the beneficiary after winning a public vote and more than £12,000 was collected.

Our readers then selected dog charity SHAK to receive Jam Jar Army funds in 2013 and the £10,000 target was smashed before Christmas, eventually collecting more than £15,000.

Last year, The Stephen Carey Fund, named after the 21-year-old from Alnmouth who collapsed and died while playing football due to an undiagnosed heart defect, won the reader vote to become the fourth beneficiary.

During the past year, the Fund, which installs defibrillators as well as providing life-saving training, has become an official charity.

Its reign as Jam Jar Army charity continues until the end of the month, but so far around £9,000 has been raised, taking the overall Jam Jar Army total to nearly £50,000 raised since 2011.

To get a voting form, buy a copy of this week’s Gazette. The form will be reprinted in the February 19 edition as well.

Who is in the running?

Amble Shannon Appeal: The RNLI and lifeboat fund-raisers are trying to raise £200,000 by July 2016 to bring a much-needed and modern Shannon lifeboat to Amble.

Bailiffgate Museum: The Alnwick-based museum, which looks after the heritage of the area, want to esnure that it can look after its historic building so it can continue working with the whole community.

Berwick & District Friends of Dementia: The only dedicated support group in the Berwick area for people with dementia at the early to moderate stages and their carers would use the money to extend its activities and offer regular outings.

Great North Air Ambulance: Sometimes the charity’s three aircraft are not able to be used and the service is looking to buy a 4x4 equipped with all the life-saving kit to add even greater versatility to the service.

Hippotherapy Northumberland: Hippotherapy Northumberland is a community club bringing participative therapeutic physical fun to children with disabilities through the use of horses.

Samartians of Northumbria: The money from the Jam Jar Army would be used to support the branch, a confidential and non-judgemental listening service for anyone who is experiencing distress or despair, for the next 12 months; it costs about £20,000 each year to keep the local service operating,