Ten New Projects Awarded Grants – May 2020 Update

Helsby Tennis Club, Frodsham Youth Association and Horn’s Mill Preschool are among the community projects that will benefit from the latest series of grants.

A variety of community-based projects have been awarded just over £73,000 in the latest, the fifth, round of awards since the Marshes Community Benefit Fund was established in 2016.

The Marshes Community Benefit Fund (MCBF) Panel reveals the projects which have been awarded funding from the annual £120,000 community payments made by Frodsham Wind Farm Limited.

Says Joycey Bailey MCBF Panel Member PR;

During these difficult times and amidst the lockdown the independent Panel were able, through the Zoom meeting platform, to consider this round’s applications. After much deliberation and discussion, members agreed to award a total of just over £73,000 to ten projects which, in the views of the Panel majority, best met the requirements and objectives of the Community Benefit Fund.

The following is a snapshot of successful applicants and how the funding they receive will be used: –

1st Helsby Scout Group is a local Scouting group that actively supports young people in their personal development and empowers them to make a positive contribution to society by following such values as integrity, care and respect, the Panel awarded £14,850 to replace old camping equipment that is no longer fit for purpose. At present the scouts are not able to meet face-to-face due to Covid-19, but they have been actively scouting at home, for many of them this has meant ‘mini camps’ in their gardens. Being able to update the equipment will mean that the young people will have something exciting to look forward to when Scouting can resume again properly.

Alvanley Village Hall providing the only facility of its type for the local community in Alvanley has been awarded £3,106. This is to replace the existing 1970s built asbestos and concrete boiler house which is in a poor state of repair, meaning that the boiler and its controls can no longer be efficiently secured and there are also associated safety issues. Once the work is completed, the Village Hall will be able to continue to provide activities to the local community such as a Bingo Social Club, Parish Council meetings and private functions for both adults and children.

Frodsham Youth Association will use the £9,724 awarded to refurbish and enable the hall access and toilet facilities at the youth club. Once the work is completed the building will be accessible to people with disabilities, as currently fire safety recommendations prevent this from happening. Eager to have the building work started soon as possible as the centre is closed due to the Covid-19 restrictions and hopeful that the work will be completed before they reopen to the Frodsham youngsters.

Frodsham & District History Society will use the £5,000 awarded to ensure that the collection of archived documents, maps, posters, books, journals, artefacts, historic images and photographic sides are available online. Ensuring that the collection will be preserved in a more appropriate archival storage. The modernisation of will raise the profile of local history and heritage in Frodsham and the surrounding area by allowing those with an interest to personally view all the materials or access them via an online search. This will also allow Frodsham’s historic past to be preserved for future research and display.

Helsby Tennis Club’s aim is to provide tennis for the local community by offering social tennis and coaching for all ages and abilities, working with local community groups and offering free tennis to a variety of charities. Amid a move to new premises, the award of £2,775 will ensuring that what they continue to offer is safe and fit for purpose. Money will be spent purchasing a wall mounted defibrillator and two ball machines. The emergency defibrillator will allow first-aid to be provided to people engaging in sport in an emergency. The ball machine will be fully accessible to all people who use the club and enable people to practice on their own. It is anticipated that this will be of particular benefit to those with mental health problems or social communication difficulties, enabling participants to exercise alone and possibly then progress to team sports. It will add an element of complexity and fun to the community sport events that take place throughout the year involving local schools and groups.

Horn’s Mill Pre School offers affordable care and education every weekday, helping to ensure that the children who attend develop the skills, attributes and attitudes to support their transition to primary education. The school works with a diverse group of children, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, with special educational needs and with disabilities. The £19,425 award will enable two roof canopies to be installed providing ultraviolet and wet weather protection. One of the canopies will enable the children to not only benefit from accessing outdoor education in all weather conditions, but it will also provide protection for special needs equipment, which currently can only be used in fair weather conditions. The other will protect the children from the elements whilst waiting for the preschool to open, which will hopefully help the children settle quicker as they will not get wet or overheated, making them more conducive to learning.

One Voice Community Choir plans to use its £280 award to purchase choral music that has been specifically arranged for rehearsals and community performances. Promoting an all-inclusive supportive environment, the choir hopes to attract more members who will benefit from the well-documented health and well-being that singing in a group brings. The choir promotes family bonding allowing children and parents groups, they run small social events and have performed an arts charity production at the Brindley Theatre. In the future choir hopes to give back to the local community by performing in community festivals and supporting local charities.

OPAL Services is the brand name of Older People Active Lives, with the strapline ‘think of me, not my age’. With an eye on addressing social isolation, they are a small charitable organisation with a mission to enrich the lives of older people and their carers. Working with residents across rural West Cheshire OPAL provides a range of valuable services. The £10,000 received will go towards funding two their community schemes within the Helsby and Frodsham area, for a further year. One of the schemes is Branching Out, which includes a social club, an activity café and a cooking group. The other befitting scheme is OPAL Go On Line. Both these schemes along with the many other community based services OPAL provides have a positive impact in the general well-being of older people and their carers, enabling those who attend to benefit from being able to remain connected and engaged with hobbies and activities with friends.

Sutton Weaver Parish Council requested funding to replace a damaged slide in the community children’s playground, which was initially established with a donation of second-hand playground equipment. The playground is very popular with local children and their families, the £5,565 awarded will ensure all work will be carried out in a timely manner. This will permit the playground to re-open and be safe to use again once the current Covid-19 situation allows, enabling the children to experience the well documented health benefit from being able to spend time playing outdoors, along with the added benefits a playground provides in developing co-ordination skills and improving mental ability and reaction times.

The Countess Charity is an organisation whose main aim is to enhance patient experience whilst attending the Countess of Chester Hospital, with eighty trust funds in their charity, relating to different wards and departments across hospital. The £2,500 that they have been awarded will go towards funding a smaller appeals fund for additional new Vital Signs machines, which are part of the new Electronic Patient Records project, to be used in the MCBF area. Vital Signs machines will free up clinical staff by, simultaneously recording and uploading vital clinical observations from patients such as blood pressure and temperature readings direct to the computer. Allowing staff to access the information instantly freeing up time for other duties, thereby releasing more time to care. The saving of lives and advancement of health benefits to patients that the new Electronic Patient Records project will bring will benefit the everyday lives of local residents.

Dianne Walker (Panel Chair) explained that Panel members considered the successful projects as clearly defined with a demonstrated need, were well thought out and are of significant benefit to the residents in the areas surrounding the Frodsham Wind Farm.

As always, the Panel members will be monitoring the projects as they develop to ensure they meet the objectives and conditions set out in the signed award agreements with good governance.

Projects that were not awarded funding in this round have also been notified. Eligible schemes that were unsuccessful in this round may reapply for future rounds.

Dianne Walker also commented that past projects have been completed on time and tangible benefits have already been felt in the respective communities – photographs and reports on their progress will continue to be available to view on the Marshes Community Benefit Fund website, Twitter and Facebook accounts.

For details of the Fund and information on the application process you can visit the FAQ page, applications for the next round of funds will re-open on 1 June 2020 and close on 31 August 2020.