£1m National Lottery boost to transform lives in Norwich
- Credit: Submitted
Families in part of Norwich have been given the go-ahead to start spending a £1m National Lottery cash boost which will transform their community over the next decade.
Catton Grove was picked by the Big Lottery Fund to benefit from the windfall in December 2012, after the charity decided the area was a 'forgotten' community and had been overlooked for funding in the past.
It was awarded £1m through the Big Local scheme, one of 150 such projects in the country and the only one in Norfolk.
Over the past 18 months people have had the opportunity to contribute to how the £1m should be spent and the plan they drew up has now been rubber-stamped.
It means, over the next three years:
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• The former Woodcock Road police station will be turned into a resource centre where people can get advice on jobs and managing money and community groups can meet.
• Make more money available for local groups to bid for
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• Set up one-to-one mentors to help get people back into work
• Subsidise keep fit classes such as Zumba and yoga
• Organise a large-scale community event in Waterloo Park or Pointers Field
• Develop a community allotment and recruit cooking mentors
• Provide more for young people to do
• Recruit volunteer older people's champions
The plan was worked out after hundreds of people in Catton Grove took part in a survey and community groups were interviewed over what the area has lacked.
Focus groups were set up and a partnership of local people, including students, a former headteacher, a care assistant, retired business bosses and volunteers was formed to meet monthly and get the plan together.
And the work has paid off, after the plan was given approval by the administrators of the Big Local programme.
Debbie Ladds, chief executive of Local Trust, said: 'We were pleased to endorse Catton Grove's Big Local plan. Residents in the area have shown their ability and appetite for identifying and beginning to address their priorities.'
Stuart Wetton, chairman of Catton Grove Big Local Partnership said he was delighted the hard work of the community in drawing up the plan had paid off.
One of the first tasks will be to take on a lease for the old police station in Woodcock Road, which will be turned into a community hub.
Mr Wetton said: 'We were delighted to find that the old police box on Woodcock Road was up for lease. We're now in a position to make a commitment, and the box will become the resource centre for the Big Local.
'Once up and running, we'll have groups like Kings Money and the credit union on hand to help with money worries, training for those who need to sharpen their skills in order to gain employment, and other services.'
He said the plan has six main points - building an active and vibrant community; providing access to community information and advice' access to employment and training; building a healthy community; activities and services for young people and activities and services for older people.
Mr Wetton said: 'There is something for everyone in the Big Local plan with activities and opportunities for everybody in the area, regardless of their age'.
The group has been spending some of the lottery money already, through it's Community Chest scheme, which has handed up to £250 for local groups and projects.
To find out more about the project, visit www.cattongrovebiglocal.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07505 684740.
• Has your community been handed a boost thanks to the National Lottery? Tell us about it by calling reporter Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email email@example.com