53 community groups given £1.2m boost from council

Published: Wednesday, 12th September 2018

Community groups in Stoke-on-Trent are celebrating after receiving a share of £1.2m from the city council – to help bring their dreams to life.

A total of 53 organisations have landed the cash from the second round of Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Community Investment Fund (CIF), with grants of up to £50,000 given out to be spent on equipment or improvements to buildings and infrastructure.

The scheme, which was launched in June 2017, saw £515,000 given to 29 organisations in the first wave. Now a further £1.2m has been awarded, meaning there is still just under £1.3m left to hand out between now and March 2019.

Successful applications in the second round include:

  • £18,000 for Goldenhill Scouts to restore their scout hut
  • £18,000 for Stoke-on-Trent Disabled Anglers to improve safety and security
  • £30,000 for Stoke Foodbank to improve infrastructure
  • £23,000 for Trubshaw Cross Ladsandads to buy a new tractor and improve the quality and capacity of its natural turf pitches
  • £10,000 for Number 11, a Burslem-based charity that support vulnerable people in the city, to buy new furniture and equipment

City of Stoke Gymnastics Club, based in Burslem, has been awarded £50,000 after applying to the fund for help with buying a new floor and replacing outdated equipment at the Newcastle Street centre.

Caroline Lewis, the group’s chairman, said: “We’re absolutely ecstatic with the news. The club has been fundraising for many years to replace the floor with events like cake sales, tombola stalls and bag packs in local supermarkets, so it’s overwhelming to suddenly have enough money after all the hard work. This revamp will make the centre more appealing to gymnasts and their families and it will allow our elite gymnasts to progress further with quality equipment to practice on. We can’t wait to see how the new gym will look.”

Stoke-on-Trent’s only Grade I-listed building, the Trentham Mausoleum, has also benefited from the second round of funding. Trentham Central Residents’ Association was successful in applying for £10,000 to open the historic venue up to the community.

Rachel Kelsall, from the Friends of the Mausoleum group, which acts as a sub-group of the residents’ association, said: “This will be the only Grade I-listed exhibition space, free to the public, in the entire West Midlands region. The funding gives this much-loved historical asset a real function, therefore protecting it for generations to come and we’re absolutely delighted.”

Through the CIF, the city council has pledged £3 million to support community groups, not-for-profit organisations, social enterprises and voluntary groups. It was launched as part of the council’s Stronger Together strategic vision to create a city everyone can be proud of.

Cllr Abi Brown, the council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for finance and partnerships, said: “We had a fantastic response to the second round of applications and I’m delighted we’ve been able to support 53 groups which are making real differences to communities across the city and people’s lives.

“Many of the applications we received were truly inspiring and I can’t wait to see them coming to fruition and helping to build stronger communities. This is all about giving our hard-working community groups some extra support to get their projects off the ground.”

Cllr Randy Conteh, cabinet member for housing, communities and safer city, said: “We still have a significant amount of money left to award in the final round. The funding is available and it’s already made a difference to 82 groups in the city through the first two phases. If a group hasn’t been successful with an application, we can work with them to develop their plans to put another bid in to give it more chance of being approved.”

Applications for the third and final round will open on September 24 and close on December 31.