Gorleston projects share cash boost

THE winning bidders were revealed this week following a vote to decide which Gorleston community initiatives should share a �10,000 cash boost.

The money was provided for the Magdalen, Elmhurst Court and Shrublands areas, with residents choosing the successful projects.

Cheques were presented to the winners by the Mayor, Michael Jeal, during a special awards event at Shrublands Youth and Community Centre on Monday.

A total of nine bids were made for funding, with the money divided between the top three – Magdalen Community Association, Bridge Project and Shrublands Social Club.

The Bridge Project will be able to continue to provide a drop-in service, internet caf� and weekly meal for residents, after receiving �5,000.

It was a timely boost for the project after previous cash support from the Working Neighbourhood Fund came to an end.

Project development worker Louise Bullen said: “The service is available for anyone in the community, particularly the elderly and vulnerable.

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“Our meals are cooked by a team of dedicated volunteers and the money will ensure that the service can continue for the foreseeable future.”

Magdalen Community Association received �550 to develop its twice weekly advice service at the youth and community centre on Magdalen Way.

Association chairman Patricia Page said: “The money will be used to provide debt advice to residents at the drop-in sessions with Debbie Foster-Richardson.

“Debbie already offers advice on benefits and it is great that she will now be able to extend the service further. The money is being used to provide laptop software and register with Advice UK.”

Shrublands Youth and Adult Centre received �4,450 to set up and run a social club for the next year.

Chairman Brian Brackley said: “There are a lot of activities and sport taking place here, but little that is bringing the broader community together.

“The money will be used to form a social club, enabling events like bingo and quiz nights to be held. It will cover the setting up costs for the first year until we become self-sufficient.”

Cash was provided by Great Yarmouth Borough Council from the Government’s participatory budgeting fund. Gorleston community organisation MESH organised the bidding process and vote.

Neighbourhood manager Julie Woods said: “It is really good that local people get to decide where the money goes, and I am really pleased with the response.

“Last year money was provided for community projects, but this time we were trying to address local needs. That was assessed by everything from talking to people at bus stops and through community newsletters.

“We don’t know if any more money will be available, given the Government spending cuts, but this is certainly an example of the Big Society in action.”