Toothill £1m lottery grant ready for release
THE Toothill £1m is finally ready to be released to residents three years after the grant was awarded to the community by the Lottery Fund.
Since Toothill was chosen as one of the first 50 areas of 150 across the country to benefit from the jackpot, progress has stalled on releasing the funds.
The Toothill Steering Group was set up to run events in the community, and since March an 11-member partnership committee has been working to release the funds, which can only be drawn down on a six-monthly basis over a 10-year period.
Kareen Boyd, chairman of the Toothill Big Local Partnership Committee, said: “We are now at the stage where we are going to open up the Community Chest bids in October of this year, so people in the community can bid for up to £500 at a time for worthwhile projects.
“The sole bid process will open up next year. We will be doing sessions where people can submit their bids so we are now informing people how the process works so they will know whether they have been successful or not.”
The first Toothill Big Local Community Chest will open after the first rounds of training classes, which will be held on September 24 from 6.30pm to 8.30pm, October 2 from 3.30pm to 5.30pm, and October 10 from 6.30pm to 8.30pm, at Toothill Community Centre.
Local groups and organisations will be able to apply for grants of up to £500 which must bring about a direct benefit to the Toothill area.
The development comes after Swindon Council deferred any progress on revitalising the Toothill Village Centre until the committee had decided what the £1m would be spent on.
Coun Jim Robbins (Lab, Mannington and Western), claimed this was an excuse for the council to stall work beginning on the centre.
“We want to know exactly what is happening for the residents of Toothill,” he said.
“There are issues with flooding going into the community centre there because slabs of pavement outside have shifted over time, so there is a real need for this development. But there is a silence from the council about what is being done. The Toothill £1m is there for the people of Toothill to spend on what they want, and I think it is being used as a smokescreen.
“I have been speaking to residents about it and as far as I know they are working really hard as a group to decide what the money should be spent on.
“I understand they really want to focus on provision for children and the youth of Toothill, and I back them fully to make their own decision.”
Coun Dale Heenan, cabinet member for strategic planning and sustainability, said: “I am fully supportive of the Toothill village centre improvements but it has to wait its turn.
“There were five projects which stalled, and so far we have seen progress on Lawn, Freshbrook and Covingham centres.
“We will go ahead with Liden in October, and Toothill in November.
“It is for residents to decide how the Toothill £1m will be spent. If we had not done it this way, none of the projects would have gone forward. Toothill will be the last to be dealt with, but we expect all the centres to be dealt with in 12 months.”
The Community Chest will open for bids on October 15, with the first funding round of £3,750 available until the end of 2013.
A second funding round of £15,000 will then go live on January 1, 2014.
The Toothill Big Local Office will be open from October 14. In the meantime residents can email Toothill.BL2013@outlook.com or write to Toothill Big Local at Toothill Community Centre, Dunwich Drive, Toothill, Swindon, SN5 8DH.
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