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Saturday, 04 July 2015

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Distington’s £1million: how the money could be spent

VILLAGERS are being invited to hear plans of how £1million could be spent in Distington.

The proposals – which include a funding boost to Distington Club for Young People and community groups -are set to be unveiled at an upcoming meeting.

It is part of the Big Local Project – where the village was awarded a seven-figure sum to make a difference in its community.

Dave Smith, the development worker for the programme, said: “This is a once in a generation opportunity to make a real difference in Distington. There is absolutely no way that we are going to let this opportunity slip by.

“We are determined that it will reach everybody, in the same way that we reached everybody in the community consultation. No-one is going to miss out.”

Since the money was awarded in December 2012, a steering group has worked tirelessly to collate ideas on how they cash can be used.

Fifteen projects have been proposed for the next two years, paying out around £1/4 million, with others set to develop.

Plans include:

A Community Chest where groups and organisations can apply for up to £500 funding. This is available now. £2,500 has been set aside for 2014, followed by £5,000 in 2015 and 2016.

The proposals must directly benefit the Big Local area and support at least one of the six themes in the scheme’s vision.

Distington Club for Young People looks set to receive £50,000 over the next two years to support its development.

A village maintenance business, where litter picking, graffiti removal and landscape maintenance is also planned.

Mr Smith will present the draft plan at the first AGM of the Distington Big Local programme on Tuesday, August 26 at 6.30pm at Distington Community Centre. Everyone is welcome to attend.

He will give details of the projects to be delivered during the next two years, with the possibility of other viable projects also being considered.

The meeting will also include the election of the Distington Big Local Board and an update on the programme.

Mr Smith said the draft plan needs to be agreed by the Board and it can then be submitted for approval by the Local Trust.

He added: “All being well we expect approval of the plan in November and then it will be all systems go as far as project delivery is concerned. I know that local people feel that it has taken a long time but we really are nearly there now.”

The Big Local scheme is run by the Local Trust. It is working with money from the Big Lottery Fund to make a lasting difference in communities that previously missed out on funding. Those involved in the Distington project hope this money can be match funded by other organisations.

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