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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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£65,000 windfall for Copeland community groups

Community groups across west Cumbria have been given a £65,000 cash boost.

Frank Morgan photo
Frank Morgan

The money comes from councillors who have £10,000 to spend on projects they choose.

The funding has been welcomed as the district battles government cuts of £1.4m, with Whitehaven’s Civic Hall closing down last month. Across Copeland, the latest raft of funding includes;

  • £13,000 for fixing roads in Egremont, St Bees, Hillcrest and Hensingham, Mirehouse, Bransty and Kells and Sandwith;
  • £10,000 for Egremont swimming pool;
  • £4,000 to boost green schemes and recycling in Hensingham;
  • £3,000 for the Howgill family centre to help them provide new services after the Woodhouse Family Advice Centre was closed;
  • £6,000 to help pay for equipment for Copelandstadium;
  • £1,385 for a defibrilator in Whitehaven town centre.

Extra money has also been set aside to pay for Christmas trees in Moor Row and Bigrigg.

Frank Morgan, chair of the local committee and councillor for Cleator Moor West, said that the scheme made a “real difference” to local communities.

“It’s a good example of how county councillors are working with local people to deliver projects and priorities,” he added.

“As a local committee we recognise the valuable contribution these projects make to our communities and I’m pleased we can support them.”

The grants come as the district council battles funding cuts of £1.4million from its budget in 2014/15.

Gillian Troughton, Copeland’s portfolio holder for Finance and HR, said their funding had been cut by a third in the past three years. As part of the cuts, Whitehaven’s Civic Hall closed down a month ago with the council saying it did not have the £200,000-a-year it costs to keep the facility open.

“As time goes on our options become fewer – many savings can only be made once and our support from government continues to ebb away even as demand for our services grows,” Ms Troughton said.

“We have no choice but to keep making incredibly difficult decisions about what to stop, reduce or charge for. I know people have strong views on cuts to services, so I would urge them to take part in our consultation and let us know exactly what their priorities are.”

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