Community projects’ boost from Lotto cash

The community fair at the weekend
The community fair at the weekend

Ukulele lessons, youth football, cookery courses for the over 65s and improved access at the Leaf Hall were among the Devonshire West projects to receive a lottery cheque at the weekend.

The Big Local resident-led team held a community grant fair to bring together all the groups that were receiving funding from the first slice of this year’s instalment from the Lottery £1 million cash.

As well as cheques and handshakes, all the grants had displays to introduce and explain their projects. Ten grants were awarded in this round. The art project Finding your Way received a contribution towards sign-making workshops between Devonshire West and the Towner; Age Concern will be offering cookery courses for the over 65s; Devonshire West Big Local will be part-funding a project manager at Matthew 25, supporting some of the most vulnerable members of society; and Shackleton Close Residents Association applied for cash for a community garden.

There was also money for a holiday play scheme and Sue Morris of Community Stuff said, “We’re delighted to get this money from Big Local. It will enable us to run free activities in the school summer holidays, including craft, cookery and art.”

A mentoring scheme for unemployed women received £730.

Laura Murphy, of Wayfinderwoman, said, “What’s so important about these grants is that the projects deal with issues that residents have identified as being important to their community.

“We’re proud to be part of that and to help women get the confidence and skills to enter the world of work.”

Jane Dubery, the Big Local chair, said “It all started two years ago with those infamous ‘Good, Bad & Dream’ boards and hundreds and hundreds of Post-It notes.

“Now we are starting to show that dreams can come true. These projects will be starting to happen very soon, some of them this week – free football for 12-19 year olds on Tuesdays at 6pm on Seaside Recreation ground. Youngsters can just turn up.

“People can look out for details on the others.”

The award decisions were made by the elected resident-led Big Local board, based on analysis of consultation events during 2013 and 2014. The next round for grant applications will be open soon.

Devonshire West Big Local is working with the Big Lottery Fund to help people to make massive, lasting and positive differences in their own communities.

Devonshire West is one of 150 spots around England that have been allocated £1 million over a 10 year period to make their area an even better place to live.

Big Local has four aims: communities able to identify local needs and take action in response, people will have increased skills and confidence, so they continue to identify and respond to future need and the community will make a difference to needs it prioritises.