Projects approved for Big Society Fund cash

A coaching session at Petworth House Real Tennis Club
A coaching session at Petworth House Real Tennis Club

COMMUNITY projects have benefited from a £144,000 handout from the Members’ Big Society Fund.

Allocations were made by West Sussex county councillors and endorsed by the leader, Louise Goldsmith, and cabinet member for finance, Michael Brown, to come into effect on Friday.

The largest amount given out in the Observer area was £22,400 to Walberton Community Playcentre.

The money will fit out the new purpose-designed playcentre on Walberton Parish Council land between the village hall and the primary school.

Around £350,00 has already been secured for the building, but money was needed to fence and set up the outside play area and fully fit out the playcentre, with a view to opening in September.

Petworth House Real Tennis Club will receive £18,900 to fit out new changing rooms as part of an extension project.

The tennis court is within the Petworth House estate and the project, which will be funded out of donations and grants, has been passed by the South Downs National Park Planning Authority.

The non-profit making club is run by volunteers, with support from two leading professionals. It wants to extend its schools programme and hold national tournaments, but the current facilities are ‘totally inadequate’ and in a poor state.

Another sports project to benefit is Chichester Rugby Football Club, which will receive £7,000.

The club, located in Oaklands Park to the north of Chichester, has outgrown itself and needs to increase the size of the clubhouse, to include changing rooms, dining facilities and social space.

The money will be used to supply suitable tables and chairs for the new social space.

Arun Rolling Skating Club, based at Arun Leisure Centre in Felpham, will receive £6,000 to buy new skates.

The club, a volunteer community group, has become popular with all levels of skaters and all age groups and there are more than 200 members, both individuals and families.

The money will pay for a total of 75 skates in a range of sizes, to expand the free-to-use stock.

The club said in its application: “Currently, the club finds that they have to disappoint some of their guests when they run out of some sizes of loan skates.

“Therefore, some will leave without skating, and others will wait around in the hope that skates in their size will be returned before the end of the session.”

Mrs Goldsmith also agreed £11,000 from the Members’ Big Society Fund would be allocated to the Graffham Recreation Ground Charitable Trust in Petworth.

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