More than £109,000 has been given to local groups and good causes in Runnymede in the past three years from the Council's Community First fund, a new report has highlighted.
On Thursday night, councillors on the Community Services Committee heard how the fund has supported local people through 42 separate grants. They also approved a new budget for the next 3 financial years 2020/21 - 2022/23 of £65,000 per annum. Part of this funding is to support council tenants.
The Community First initiative was first established by the Council in 2013 and targets five areas in the Borough. Each targeted area has a multi-agency task group to set action plans and put forward bids to the fund.
Among the projects which the fund has supported between 2017 and 2019 were:
Re-establishing The Goose Fair
River Celebration 2015
Cuckooing pilot to prevent vulnerable residents losing their housing
Youthbox taster sessions
Prison me, No Way to divert young people from crime
The local task groups work in specific areas of the Borough and some of the work they have been involved in includes:
A community event was held with PA Housing and Sayes Court Children's Centre on the new Strawberry Fields development to help people connect and build a sense of community. Funding was also given to the Runnymede Job Club at the King's Centre, Marsh Lane for lunchtime training to upskill residents to access employment.
A grant supports the Egham Hythe Matters newsletter which led to the creation of a history group. Events in the area such as the Frogs Island Fair, Hythe Park anniversary and The Hythe Centre Christmas fair were also funded.
The fund helped develop the Forest Estate Community Hub and increased demand since the closure of a youth centre in Corby Drive. They offer youth activities, employment and skills courses, community lunches and more.
A carers pilot will be launched in the next few months to improve the quality of life of carers with a volunteering buddying scheme led by Dr Catharine Millington-Sanders, Stepgates Health Centre and St Peter's Church.
Cllr Nigel King, Chairman of the Community Services Committee said: "I am delighted that we are able to continue approving grant funds that contribute toward positive community projects and support local people.
"Projects have included launching incentives to form healthier and safer communities in vulnerable areas of need within the borough. This is making Runnymede a better place to live. It has financed projects including: employment and parenting courses; mental health initiatives; activities for young people and the contribution towards many community events such as the I Am Able Festival for persons with disabilities."
Community groups are eligible to apply for Community First funding if they are situated within Council wards in the targeted areas of:
Addlestone North and South
Chertsey St Ann's
Englefield Green West
Please contact the Partnership and Policy Officer for more information and an application form by emailing Suzanne.Stronge@runnymede.gov.uk