Milton Keynes based UK Astronomy has been awarded £50,000 as part of Persimmon Homes’ hugely successful Building Futures campaign.
The charity represented Persimmon Homes Midlands as one of 96 finalists in the housebuilder’s £1million giveaway to good causes working with young people aged under 18.
From February to May, Building Futures donated £128,000 to regional organisations supporting young people in sport, education & arts and health throughout England, Scotland and Wales.
The competition culminated in a gala dinner at York Racecourse, where three finalists were each awarded a top prize of £100,000, three the second prize of £50,000 and three the third prize of £20,000. The remaining 87 finalists were handed £5,000 each.
Ross Hockham from UK Astronomy said: “Winning £50,000 was beyond our wildest dreams.
“This is a huge boost to us and will allow us to purchase a van that can be converted into a mobile observatory and allow us to reach and inspire even more children to look up.
“Taking part in Building Future has been a fantastic experience for us and it was so exciting to reach the finals, never mind winning a huge sum like this.
“It was a very emotional evening with such a broad range of groups being represented and we can’t thank Persimmon Homes enough.”
Simon McDonald, regional managing director for Persimmon Homes Midlands, added: “The Building Futures scheme has been a great success and we had a brilliant evening at York Racecourse celebrating the fantastic work of so many organisations supporting young people in our communities.
“We have been overwhelmed by both the response to the competition, and the hard work and dedication of those involved within all the groups.”
The first, second and third prize winners were decided by a public vote and more than 225,000 votes were cast.
The £100,000 prize winner in the sport category was Scrappers Gym based in Swindon, Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association secured the award for education &arts and the Young People’s Counselling Service Annabelle Davis project in Peterborough was handed the health award.
The other second prize awards of £50,000 went to Leeds Rowing Club for sport and Norwich-based Toy Like Me for health.
Andover BMX Club scooped £20,000 for sport in third place, while Wargrave House in Newton-le Willows won the education & arts award and Butterwick Hospice Kidz Club in Stockton was handed the health award.