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West Norfolk Council confirms successful grant applicants for Rural England Prosperity Fund

Car parks, playing fields and food banks are among the facilities that will be boosted in West Norfolk after a successful round of funding applications.

West Norfolk Council has confirmed that 13 projects in the borough have been awarded capital grants totalling more than £57,000 through the Rural England Prosperity Fund.

The fund provides 75% grant funding to enable communities to build upon local provision and invest in resilient rural community services, facilities and assets, to address the challenges of rural isolation, support social cohesion, and “boost local pride”.

Wereham Village Hall is among the facilities that will benefit from the funding. Picture: Google Maps
Wereham Village Hall is among the facilities that will benefit from the funding. Picture: Google Maps

It is being delivered by Norfolk Community Foundation on behalf of the borough council.

Cllr Chris Morley, the borough council’s cabinet member for finance, said: “We know that rural communities face a number of challenges.

“By improving facilities, amenities and equipment, these projects will help to deliver on the aims of the fund, which are to support the wellbeing of residents, tackle rural isolation, support social cohesion and boost local pride.

“I look forward to seeing these projects come to fruition.”

Grants awarded include:

- Amy Robsart (Syderstone) Village Hall, near Fakenham: to fund electrical work as part of equipping a small meeting room

- Clackclose District Guiding in Downham: to resurface the car park and add recycled planters and cycle storage

- Heacham Parish Council: to improve IT facilities in the community library

- Hunstanton Society: to purchase an audio tour guide system in order to implement guided town walks

- Mary Esther Holloway Memorial Trust (MEHM Trust): to purchase 30 chairs for seated keep-fit classes and 40 cushions to be used on existing chairs for film nights

- National Coastwatch Institution Brancaster: to purchase binoculars and a telescope for observing the coast

- Lynn-based Pandora Project: to purchase laptops and other equipment to support five new volunteers in a dedicated rural team working with women in rural communities

- Shouldham Bowls and Social Club: to improve insulation, and purchase a storage unit

- Stoke Ferry Playing Field Association: to improve toilet facilities

- SWAN Youth Project (Norfolk): to refurbish the kitchen

- The Food Pantry Feltwell: to provide a chiller, heater and unit for the till at the food hub

- Wereham Village Hall: to set up a community computer service

Claire Cullens, chief executive of Norfolk Community Foundation, said: “Norfolk Community Foundation is pleased to help support these much-needed projects that will make a real difference in communities across West Norfolk.

“We recognise the positive impact these grants will have on local people in rural areas and wish all the funded organisations every success.”

A spokesperson for Coastwatch added: “National Coastwatch Brancaster were delighted to be awarded the grant from the West Norfolk Rural Community Capital Grant Fund.

“These funds will enable us to replace our current dated optics with newer and better quality equipment. We are a registered charity who receive no government funding and grants such as these are a lifeline for us to continue to operate effectively.

“Our objective is to assist in the protection and preservation of life at sea and along the coastline, and our Watchkeepers provide a vital link with all emergency services for both sea and shore users.

“Having good quality equipment to maintain a visual watch is key to what we do, so the funds made available will enable us to continue this vital service. Once again - many thanks.”

Emma Smith, district commissioner for Clackclose Girlguiding, said: "We are absolutely thrilled to have received this funding. It's a game-changer for us.

“This grant will significantly boost our ability to create a lasting impact in our community. We anticipate it not only enhancing our facilities but also creating a sense of community involvement and an opportunity for Girlguiding and Scouts to work together on ‘Project Planters’.

“We hope that it will bring more volunteers to Girlguiding to join us on this exciting journey."

Further grant opportunities will be opening early 2024 to support larger scale improvements to infrastructure and local facilities in rural communities during 2024/25.

Grants of up to 75% will be available for between £10,000-£50,000.

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