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Council announces funding for community projects

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West Berkshire Council has set aside £100,000 to help local groups kickstart 'Big Society' projects

WEST Berkshire Council has announced today (Thursday) that it is to set aside £100,000 to help local groups kickstart ‘Big Society' projects.

The announcement means that communities keen to take advantage of the Government's Big Society concept could soon be able to apply for funds to help kickstart projects to help local people, provided their proposed schemes have a good business plan.

A whole range of projects could be suitable for consideration, including improvements to the appearance of the centre of a local village, plans for village youth groups, upgrades to meeting rooms or halls or even help with setting up a form of community transport.

The leader of the council, Graham Jones (Con, Lambourn) said: “For some time now, we have been encouraging people to work together to find local solutions to local needs.

“It is quite clear that there is a willingness to take on more local responsibilities. It is, though, sometimes the case that worthwhile initiatives are stalling simply due to there not being sufficient finance available initially.”

He added that the money, found from the council's revenue underspend this year, will be used to pump prime selected initiatives where there is a sound business plan that will work providing that there is an element of start up funding to get it underway.

Mr Jones added: “We await the Localism Bill with keen interest and would hope to see an element of resource funding transferred with it.

“We need, however, to take the initiative ourselves, where it is sensible to do so and that is why we are announcing this local initiative.”

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