"Ashington Town Council Awards £66,000 in Annual Community Grants”

Ashington Town Council has announced the allocation of £66,000 in grants to local organisations as part of its annual funding initiative. This significant investment in community projects and running costs underscores the Council's priorities of ‘supporting the community via events, engagement, and grant funding’, and ‘improving the environment by providing a pleasant and safe place to live’.

Council Leader, Cllr John Tully, highlighted the challenging circumstances reflected in many applications, particularly noting the unfortunate necessity for foodbanks in the 21st century. Cllr Tully stated,

"It is with great pleasure and satisfaction that we as a Council can help those who are supporting those who need it most, but also that we can assist organisations that help to make this a thriving and active town."

This year the following groups have been awarded funding from Ashington Town Council for a variety of different projects and activities.

Citizens Advice Northumberland £10,000 financial support to ensure that Ashington residents continue to have access to free, quality marked information, advice and guidance services which ultimately will help them with their wide range of issues including welfare benefits, debt, employment, and fuel poverty.

Wansbeck Valley Foodbank £15,000 towards the provision of food supplied to Ashington, which has seen increased costs as well as the demand for the service.

Full Circle Food Project £2,000 towards costs of continuing their Food Larder.  This project aims to take food from their community garden and turn it into ready meals prepared by dedicated volunteers. Wansbeck Valley Food Bank will then distribute the meals to people in our area.

Cambois Rowing Club £2,000 towards the purchase of a second-hand club boat which will allow a greater number of potential members who can be offered the rowing experience.

Ashington Hirst Welfare £5,000 towards utility bills and maintenance costs which are the lifeblood of the Centre ensuring its smooth and safe operation for all users.

Koast Radio £2,000 which will be used to upgrade and modernise critical broadcasting equipment for Koast Radio, ensuring continued service to the Ashington community. This initiative aims to maintain and enhance the station's ability to deliver quality programming to local listeners

Mortal Fools £2,000 awarded to this local non-profit organisation to maintain and expand its critical services for disadvantaged children and young people in Ashington. This funding will support Creative Monday sessions with YMCA.

YMCA Northumberland £2,000 will go towards Creative Mondays - a weekly session in collaboration with Mortal Fools for young people who want to try out a range of art, drama, music and craft activities in a supportive environment.

Woodhorn Narrow Gauge Railway £1,000 towards critical track restoration.  The funding will be used to purchase 'dog spikes', specialised railway connectors essential for securing the track to wooden sleepers.

This funding will play a vital role in the ongoing efforts to preserve and enhance this important piece of local heritage. The restoration project aims to ensure the continued operation and longevity of the narrow-gauge railway, which serves as both a historical attraction and a unique transportation experience for visitors.

Escape Family Support £3,000 to support the much-needed work of this local charity. The Council receive regular updates from Escape Family Support, which includes widely circulated newsletters and good news stories. Escape is an award-winning charity with a great team at the helm.

Northumberland County of Sanctuary £3,000 towards costs of their 2024/25 programme including extra rental costs and materials for a new Art Programme.

Ashington Joint Welfare Rugby Football Club £2,000 towards the development of the junior section of the Club by engaging a Schools Development Officer in conjunction with other clubs to provide training and organise tournaments.

Ashington Sea Cadets £2,000 towards critical operational challenges and to enhance the educational offerings. The funding will primarily help offset soaring utility costs, which have recently tripled, threatening the unit's ability to keep its doors open.

Ashington Football Club £2,000 to enable the Club to start-up and maintenance costs. The club hopes to further engage with a broader demographic within the community and to create opportunities for participation in football.

Northumberland Wildlife Trust £1,000 to sustain and expand its vital community engagement work in Ashington. This grant will support the staffing costs of the Trust's dedicated Communities Officer and provide essential equipment and resources for local conservation initiatives.

Pride Action North £2,000 to establish a vital weekly support group for the LGBTQIA+ community in Ashington. As the sole LGBTQIA+-focused charity in both Ashington and the wider Northumberland area, Pride Action North aims to fill a critical gap left by recent cuts to services and organisations.

The charity recognises that the mental health and well-being of LGBTQIA+ individuals have been significantly impacted by these service reductions, leaving many feeling overlooked by both statutory and community services. This new weekly group will provide a much-needed, accessible space for LGBTQIA+ individuals to feel empowered and accepted within their local community.

Ashington Hirst Running Club £2,000 towards the costs associated with the festive Fell Em Doon race. The grant will allow improved safety and experience of events while also investing in the future of the club.

Ashington Cricket Club £2,000 funding to purchase a new bowling machine, a crucial piece of equipment for developing the batting skills of all our players.

Ashington & District Male Voice Choir £2,000 towards key events and community outreach, new publicity material, developing new member musical skills and enriching the Choir’s repertoire.

ARK Youth Club £2,000. ARK Youth Club is a youth-led group who are going to develop their skills and knowledge in the decision-making processes, deciding on a community-based activity each year and the impact that will have on the community and deciding on what activities they want to do. The group are just at the beginning of learning how to be a youth-led group. Some of the members are asylum seekers and refugees, some members have learning disabilities and other disabilities.

The funding will be used for volunteer DBS Checks and training, as well as room hire, equipment and resources.

NCC Sports Facilities £2,000 support costs for the Abilty2Play programme working with a wide variety of external partners.  The funding will be used to buy a pool table and safety mats.

The funded organisations will receive further recognition as Civic Head Cllr Caroline Ball presents cheques at various events and meetings throughout the year. Residents are encouraged to follow the Council's Facebook and Instagram pages for updates on the positive impact of these grants, as we regularly keep in touch with groups and share what they are doing.

To ensure responsible use of public funds, the Executive Officer has been tasked with verifying that successful applicants who have not received full project funding from the council have either secured the remaining funds required, are using their own resources, or have proposed an alternative or reduced project scope before the council's award is paid. This flexible approach allows organisations to adapt their plans while still safeguarding the appropriate use of grant funds. The process ensures that funds are used for the intended purpose as outlined in the application and agreed by the Council, whether that's for the original proposal or an adjusted version.

Cllr John Tully commented on this process, saying, "We are committed to supporting our community while also being responsible stewards of public funds. This verification process allows us to ensure that projects are fully viable and that our contributions will have the maximum positive impact."

Residents are encouraged to follow the Council's Facebook and Instagram pages for updates on the positive impact of these grants, as we regularly keep in touch with groups and share what they are doing.

For more information about the grant recipients and future funding opportunities, please visit www.ashingtontowncouncil.gov.uk


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