Communities benefit from £1m Essex grant funding

Essex County Council has awarded more than £1million to community projects across the county – including over £100,000 in Uttlesford.

From play equipment in parks to renovating village halls, the authority has published the list of towns and villages that will benefit from its Community Initiatives Fund.

Just over £7,000 was awarded to Saffron Walden Town Council for the sprucing up of the town hall. This will see blinds, curtains and a new stage added to the facility, along with the renovation of worn floors in the main hall and committee room.

Enhancements will also be made to the Garden Room. The serving area is to be re-modelled, complete with a cool food display cabinet and work surfaces, while extractors and hoods will be introduced for kitchen ovens and secure storage added for crockery and glasses. The total grant is £5,500.

Elsewhere, £6,000 was awarded to refurbish the annexe of Newport Village Hall, £1,300 to replace the old single cradle swing at Clavering Jubilee Field with a double cradle toddler swing, and £7,300 to rejuvenate Thaxted’s Bolford Street Hall.

Just under £10,000 has been allocated to re-surfacing the multi-sports courts at the Recreation Ground in Great Chesterford, while £18,295 will go towards replacing old play equipment at Chrishall Adventure Playground, including the installing of disabled equipment.

Chrishall residents are also set to benefit from a further £15,000 grant to be used to buy and renovate the Methodist Chapel & Hall for community use.

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The Community Initiatives Fund is a small grants scheme run by Essex County Council designed to help community projects. The money has been split between 12 districts – with each being given around £120,000.

There were 170 applications to the fund this year and judging panels, made up of representatives from the voluntary sector, town and parish councils, residents groups, had the difficult decisions to make. Seventy-two per cent of the groups that applied were successful.

Councillor John Jowers, cabinet member for libraries, communities and planning, said: “The changing make-up of our society is placing huge pressure on our communities so I am absolutely delighted to be able to assist local groups with the projects which are important to them and projects that will benefit, enhance and strengthen the community.”