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Monday, 01 September 2014

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£1m boost for 'forgotten' Cumbrian village

Villagers are being handed at least £1 million to spend on schemes that could transform their community.

People living in Distington are getting the money from a cash pot aimed at supporting ‘forgotten’ communities.

And they will have the power to decide how it is spent.

Councillor John Bowman, who represents the village on Copeland Council, said: “All of the community will benefit. “Especially the young people without jobs.”

The money comes as part of a £200m scheme for ‘forgotten’ communities. These are areas with social and economic problems overlooked for funding in the past.

Distington is one of 50 places to receive this funding in the latest round of grants. Seventeen of these are in the north west.

They join 100 other towns across England who have received funding in the past.

The exact amount of money the town will receive has not been confirmed.

However, every community that receives funding gets at least £1m.

It is up to the community to decide exactly how this cash will be spent.

Examples from other areas include training and education schemes, improving housing, tackling antisocial behaviour or providing more activities for young people.

Mr Bowman added: “We have tried over the years and had different funding from various schemes to get people back into work – getting them to write CVs and apply for jobs – and at the end of these schemes they can’t measure what the output is.

“I assure you that if I am involved at all I will be looking for outputs.”

Copeland Council leader Elaine Woodburn said: “It is great for Distington. They need a boost.

“They have got some really strong community groups already and I am sure they will come together and spend the money wisely.”

Big Lottery Fund chairman Nat Sloane said: “Through our long-term funding, commitment, training and support over at least the next 10 years, we will redress that balance; giving them the power, confidence and ability to spend this funding in the ways that matter most to their community.”

The fund’s chief executive, Debbie Ladds, added: “We are delighted to have a further 50 communities to support. We look forward to helping residents identify what matters most to them and how, with the support of a range of locally-trusted organisations and our partners, we can support them over at least 10 years make their areas even better places to live.”

Distington is the second place in Cumbria to receive this funding. The first was Barrow Island.

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