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Funding of £2.5 million to transform facilities for communities

Community and voluntary groups are being urged to apply for a share of funding from the Government after a charity highlighted how money secured through the scheme is transforming a village hall in North Yorkshire to safeguard it for generations to come.

Grassington Town Hall, which is managed by a charity, the Grassington Devonshire Institute (GDI), has successfully applied for a £49,950 grant from a scheme funded by the Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF).

The grant will be used to replace part of the building’s roof and electrics and to install double-glazed windows and new, accessible doors, supplemented by further funds from Grassington Parish Council, town residents and the Duke of Devonshire, whose predecessor built the hall and gifted it to the town’s people in 1850.

More than 20 groups use the building each week from parent and toddler groups to exercise clubs, as well as a huge number of ad-hoc events throughout the year.

The chair of the GDI, Hazel Drew, said: “The building is owned by the parish council on behalf of the people, but our charity runs it and keeps it going. I think everyone lived in fear that if the roof went, the building would have to be sold because neither the parish council nor our charity could have afforded to put it right.

“Certainly, what the prosperity fund has done is give us hope that if we could raise some money towards the costs, we had a chance to get the roof renewed.

“In effect the fund gave us a route and the determination to solve the problem and I cried when I heard we had been awarded the money as it means so much to us.”

The town hall’s new doors were installed on December 18, with the rest of the improvement works beginning in the New Year.

North Yorkshire Council’s leader and the chair of the SPF’s board in North Yorkshire, Cllr Carl Les, said: “It is fantastic to see the positive effect this funding is having in our communities.

“Buildings like Grassington Town Hall play a vital role in enabling residents of all ages to come together and take part in activities to improve their lives, physical and mental health. 

“There are currently six community-focussed schemes open which we hope will be accessed by as many organisations as possible – community groups, voluntary groups, not-for-profit organisations, faith groups, social enterprises, and charities.

“These groups are often best placed to identify local needs and create solutions and we want to support them in delivering projects that benefit the people they serve.”

The open schemes – community grants, village halls and community buildings grants, sport and active travel programme, rural capital fund and community climate action grants and support – represent a combined £2.5 million commitment from the council to invest and improve life in across the county.

More information about the individual schemes and details on how to apply are available at www.northyorks.gov.uk/community-and-volunteering/grants-and-funding/uk-shared-prosperity-fund-0

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