National Lottery grants up for grabs in Wealden villages

TWELVE Wealden villages have heard they are eligible to bid for grants of up to half-a-million pounds each to improve community halls.

The National Lottery Buildings Programme has announced that Alfriston, Chiddingly and East Hoathly, Cross in Hand and Five Ashes, Danehill, Fletching, Nutley, Hartfield, Heathfield East, Hellingly, Ninfield, Hooe and Wartling, Pevensey and Westham are in line to make the bids.

Wealden’s community cabinet member Cllr Pam Doodes said: “Investment in village halls not only boosts the income of these important community-owned assets but also supports local jobs.

“The activities run in the halls provide a wide range of benefits to the rural communities they serve, many at a very low cost thanks to the tremendous effort put in by volunteers.”

Action with Communities in Rural England’s recent report on the economic impact of community buildings in rural communities showed that when facilities were improved at village halls, income rose on average by 167 per cent with a sizable increase in weekly and monthly bookings.

Other Wealden communities not eligible can still apply to the National Lottery’s Reaching Communities Fund for grants up to £50,000 for building projects.

Information about eligibility can be found at: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk, call 01323 443520 or email communitygrants@wealden.gov.uk.