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Cash boost for community projects

Published: 30 Jan 2013 17:301 comment

CASH-STRAPPED projects in need of a funding boost could get thousands of pounds from Bracknell Forest Council.

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The borough's 42 councillors will each be given a budget of £10,000 to spend in their wards - despite the fact that £83,728 of the £420,000 allocated in a similar scheme four years ago is still unspent.

Now that £420,000 will be set aside in the 2013/14 budget, the council is keen to spread the word that money is available for the right cause.

Speaking at the full council meeting last Wednesday, Labour councillor Mary Temperton questioned the publicity around the scheme, particularly as there was still money left over last year from when a similar initiative was launched 2009/10.

Cllr Temperton said: "It is proposed that another £420,000 of taxpayers' money be released to fund small projects based on members' knowledge of local ward priorities, or in conjunction with partners and other stakeholders.

"Considering all the pressures on the council, this must be unexpected but welcome news for each community, to be able to spend its money on local priorities.

"How will the residents in each ward be made aware that this money is available?"

Cllr Alan Ward, executive member for finance on the Tory-run council, said: "In terms of how residents will be made aware, we have got our excellent local newspapers who I'm sure will publicise that there is a such a scheme. Some people will talk to their local councillors too, who I'm sure will be glad to have suggestions from them. And some councillors will every day be Tweeting and blogging to let people know what it's about."

Finance chief Cllr Alan Ward highlighted previous successes of the 2009/10 scheme, such as the traffic lights which were installed on the humpback bridge along Forest Road, Binfield.

He added: "A lot of things have happened as a result of this programme. It's been a good scheme and if we could run it every year I would like to do that."

The money will be spent on community groups, projects and initiatives in need of a helping hand.

Contact your councillor to suggest a project. See www.bracknell-forest.gov.uk for their contact details.

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