Community Grants Scheme open for applications
Round two of Rother District Council’s Community Grant Scheme is currently open for applications. Groups can apply for funding ranging from £500 to £30,000, up to a maximum of 50 per cent of the total cost of the project.
The scheme offers funding for community projects that enhance the lives of residents in Rother by helping them to provide community facilities, purchase equipment or host local events across the district.
The scheme has supported many varied and wide-reaching projects including new tables for Ewhurst and Staplecross Village Hall, the installation of a tea station in St James The Great Church, Ewhurst Green, and the planting of a new wood by Bexhill Environmental Group.
David Young, Chairman of Ewhurst and Staplecross Village Hall, said: “Our grant of just over £1200 has enabled us to purchase new tables for the hall, replacing ones that were over 20 years old.
“The new tables will benefit a wide range of community groups including our local art, gardening and lunch clubs, and are available for the whole village to use. We would like to express our thanks to the Council for the grant and for supporting our village.”
Paul Redstone, Treasurer of Ewhurst and Staplecross Village Hall added: “We had to provide letters of support from the local community as part of the application process to show how important the hall and its facilities are locally.
“The application process was very straight forward and as the funding is open to everyone, all sorts of community groups and organisations can benefit from the scheme.”
St James The Great Church in Ewhurst Green applied to the scheme for funding to enable the realisation of a long-held ambition to install a tea-station, opening the church up to the wider community.
Whilst extensive use of the tea-station, which was created and installed by local craftsmen, is not currently possible because of the pandemic, the facility has been used in recent weeks to provide refreshments for gatherings in the churchyard after worship services. The Parochial Church Council also have plans to open a regular community cafe in due course.
Rev Canon Christopher Irvine, Priest in Charge of Ewhurst and Bodiam, said, “We believe that the tea-station at St James’s will not only help us in our ministry of hospitality, but will function as a facility for the wider community.
“We are indebted to the hard work of our churchwardens, the financial support of the congregation, the local community, and other funders, especially Rother District Council for their generous grant and encouragement.”
In July £1500 was awarded to the Bexhill Environmental Group’s Down Wood project – an ambitious plan to plant over 500 trees underplanted with wildflowers on Bexhill Down. The group aims to create a woodland area that residents and visitors can use for recreation and exercise, as well as improving the area’s biodiversity.
Nick Redman from the Bexhill Environmental Group said: “The Community Grants scheme provides great support to local community projects and we were delighted to have our application approved, as without this additional finance we could not have gone ahead with a project of this size. This funding, combined with a generous donation from a large local business, has enabled us to start work this autumn, preparing the planting area and sowing wildflower seeds.
“We intended to plant the trees at the end of November involving local residents and community organisations but the nationwide lockdown has unfortunately impacted on this timing. We still hope to complete the project before the end of the year so that the local and wider community can enjoy the benefits of this wonderful new natural space for many years to come.”
Since the Community Grants Scheme started in 2008, over £1.2m has been awarded to approximately 175 community organisations and groups in Rother.
Cllr Susan Prochak MBE, Chair of the Community Grants Panel, said: “During the 12 years our Community Grants Scheme has been running, we have awarded grants to numerous local community groups and organisations.
“We would love to be able to distribute all our available funding to good causes around the district, and we are particularly keen to support smaller projects with grants of up to £500 through the Small Value Projects grant scheme.
“Often quite modest funding can make a huge difference and help get local projects up and running. If you run, or are part of, a local charitable organisation, volunteer group or community association please do see if you are eligible for a share of the grant funding.”
Applications for the medium awards (up to £5,000) and large grants (up to £30,000) from round two of the scheme close on January 15, 2021. Applications will be considered by a grants panel before recommendations are made to Cabinet in March 2021.
Small grants (up to £500) can be applied for all year round and are awarded by the panel throughout the year.
For more information about the Rother Community Grants Scheme and to apply please visit http://www.rother.gov.uk/communitygrantscheme