It was a huge pleasure to be part of a Council working group where we scored bids for nine brilliant community projects across the district. The quality and variety of the bids was fantastic.
In fact, we were so impressed that we asked the relevant Committee for the fund to be increased from £2m to £2.3m so that all projects could be given the go ahead – and the Committee agreed!
The Council funding is the final piece of the jigsaw for these projects which all had to show where the rest of their funding package was coming from.
Hats off to all the applicants – I can’t wait to see their projects coming to life over the coming months.
- Soham to Wicken cycleway – this long dreamed for project was put forward by Soham Town Council and will enable cyclists to avoid the busy A142.
- Adapting the footbridge over Burwell Lode at Wicken Fen – this National Trust project will really open up this route to walkers, cyclists, horse riders and wheelchair users. Grazing animals will also have a segregated route over the bridge allowing them to roam freely!
- Viva Arts in Soham are going to create an Apprenticeship, Trainee and Learning Hub at Spencer Mill – it’s inspiring to see this grass roots community group delivering local learning opportunities in the creative arts sector.
- A new Community Hub and GP consulting rooms for Stretham – this dual use Hub will replace old and condemned buildings in the village and will support all sorts of clubs and organisations as well as provide a new location for local delivery of GP health services.
- Witchford Playing Fields Association will be making improvements to the village hall including new changing facilities, the creation of new space for indoor activities and the installation of solar panels on the roof of the village hall.
- Little Thetford Village Hall Trustees are making green energy improvements to the village hall including solar panels, insulation and improved electrical power supply for greener energy.
- Soham Town Rangers will be improving their Club facilities to make them more flexible and able to work for more community groups, including changes to the lounge area.
- Isleham Community Association will be installing a new commercial kitchen at The Beeches Community Centre.
- Bottisham Parish Council will be purchasing land for a new cemetery which will include areas for nature conservation and new planting to encourage biodiversity – biodiversity net gain of 79%.
I spent many hours in many meetings over a long period of time, receiving legal and technical advice and support to negotiate this money for East Cambridgeshire. The money came from Cambridgeshire Horizons, a company that holds historical funds originally received from central Government many years ago to deliver projects that support growth. Until now, the money (and it was many millions) had largely been used for projects in Cambridge City and South Cambs – it’s great to see some of it coming to East Cambs!
Seeing that money, which was languishing in the Cambridgeshire Horizons bank account, being converted into these brilliant community projects that will benefit East Cambs residents for years to come makes all that long, technical hard work so worth it.
Thanks to all the people involved in putting these brilliant projects forward – we are chuffed to bits to support you!