Hundreds of thousands of pounds has been pumped into community projects by WNDC’s Stronger Communities Fund. The fund, managed by Northamptonshire Community Foundation, was launched at the tail end of 2008 and has supported a host of groups across the Northampton, Daventry and Towcester area.
Projects which have secured money range from a play area in Blisworth to Community Radio Station Inspiration FM.
The fund empowers communities to improve their surroundings and make their area a better place to live. Blisworth Village Hall and Playing Fields Association used their money to provide a multi-use games area for local children.
Association Vice Chair Jane Percival explained: “We got £10,000 from WNDC for the multi use games area. The previous year with other money we’d put in a youth shelter for the youngsters and the next thing they wanted was a games court. We thought it seemed to make sense to apply for this money towards it. We couldn’t have done it without the WNDC, it was marvellous.”
Helping to make community facilities safer and more secure is also an important aspect of the fund. At the Bants Lane allotments, a grant of £5,000 was used to purchase a steel, secure office to store equipment and mitigate against vandalism.
In Daventry, a wide range of groups have received funding, including Daventry Area Community Transport (DACT). They provide transport to individuals and community groups in the area and were given £20,000 towards the £60,000 needed to buy a new minibus. The vehicle is fully accessible to people with disabilities. The Manager of the scheme, Ron Kinning said: “We are extremely grateful to WNDC and NCF for their support of DACT, which in turn helps us to bring transport solutions to over 190 affiliated groups throughout the Daventry district.”
Meanwhile, in Northampton, the Sikh Community Centre has been among the groups to benefits from the fund. Pindy Chahal said the Centre, set up in 1996, aimed to develop a community gym for people of all ages, which has flourished since the cash injection from WNDC.
He said: “There has been a significant increase in user participation since the new equipment has been installed. Overall, there is a clear indication of more people working towards healthier lifestyles.”
The fund reaches people young and old, across land and water! Most recently, Northampton Canoe and Kayak Club was awarded £10,000. Jim McCarthy from the club explained: “Among other things, the grant will enable us to purchase and upgrade our equipment to provide a wider range of boats. This will offer local people as well as club members the chance to experience a range of different canoes and kayaks.”