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Newbury Town Council promises £8,000 for groups affected by coronavirus

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Grant allocation process also streamlined to allow funds to reach organisations faster

NEWBURY Town Council has allocated £8,000 of its usual grant funding towards organisations affected by coronavirus.

Of the £24,000 provided for grants in this year’s budget, a third of that will now be made readily available for organisations and charities in urgent need.

Charities and groups looking for grant funding can apply either through charitable funding platform The Good Exchange or directly to the council, with any grants awarded by the council matched by Greenham Trust.

The grant allocation process has also been streamlined to make it quicker for organisations to receive the money.

Previously, councillors on the grants committee needed to meet to decide who to grant money to. At Monday’s virtual meeting however, councillors voted to give that power to the council’s chief executive Hugh Peacocke.

On receiving an application for funding, Mr Peacocke will consult councillors before he makes a final decision.

Committee chairman Gary Norman (Lib Dem, Wash Common) said it was important for the town council to do anything it could to help the community in this time of crisis.

He said: “We’re elected representatives of the community and the community is suffering, and I think it’s for anybody who is elected to do anything they can to assist where they can.

“We’re only effectively a parish council and this is only a small thing, but nevertheless if we can make a difference it’s our duty to do so.”

Martha Vickers (Lib Dem, Newbury Central) said: “There are an awful lot of people on the frontline. A lot of us can’t be part of these groups, but we can do a little bit to help them carry on the wonderful work they’re doing.”

The committee agreed that if the £8,000 ran out, the figure could be reviewed. Consideration would also be given whether to divert money from different parts of the council’s budget towards grants, but these may not be matched by Greenham Trust.

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