COMMUNITY projects aimed at “levelling up” Cinderford have been successful in securing more than £150,000 from a county-wide fund.
Six organisations which work to support the community are set to receive thousands of pounds through Gloucestershire County Council’s Levelling up Together grant scheme.
The successful projects include those aimed at supporting young people, families and the elderly.
The biggest beneficiary is the Forest Voluntary Action Forum (FVAF), who secured £82,500 to create a new multi-use community hub in the centre of town.
The project, dubbed Vibrant Cinderford Spaces, will see FVAF renovate the old Dockham Road doctors’ surgery building into a community pantry and café, alongside a wide array of support services and meeting space for community groups.
Following the relocation of the doctors’ surgery to the new Cinderford Health Centre on Valley Road, the Dockham Road building was most recently used as a Covid vaccination centre during the pandemic.
Penny Hulbert, Chair of the Board of Trustees at FVAF, said: “Receiving this funding will enable us to create a much-needed welcoming, vibrant community space which will have a transformative impact for people living in Cinderford and the wider district.
“We have ambitious plans and will be working closely with local people to create an inspiring and supportive space, offering something positive for every member of the community to experience and feel pride in the place they live.”
FVAF says more information about the project will be shared soon.
Elsewhere, The Forest of Dean & Wye Valley Men’s Shed CIC will receive £25,000 to support the shed’s relocation, while sports organisation Sportily has secured £10,000 to improve health and wellbeing in the community.
The Gloucestershire branch of national young families charity Home-Start has been allocated £29,000 to set up a Cinderford division, and the Family Wellbeing CIC will receive £4,770.50 for coaching parents towards “positive wellbeing”.
Lastly, the 1st Cinderford Scouts will receive £3,257 to improve equality, diversity, and inclusion in local scouting.
It brings the total allocation for Cinderford projects to £154,527.50.
The Levelling Up Together scheme launched in October last year to support areas in the county that were identified as being some of the most deprived in the UK.
Cinderford is one of ten areas in Gloucestershire to fall into the bottom ten per cent nationally, according to government statistics.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government combine a number of indicators to measure areas of deprivation, including income, employment, education, health, crime, housing and environment.
The £1.5 million fund is a response to the UK Levelling Up agenda to support areas in need of investment to increase economic growth.
The council says the fund received an “overwhelming” response - with nearly 130 applications submitted - for projects in areas including health and wellbeing, education and skills, arts and culture, and the environment.
It is hoped the successful projects will make “a real difference” to the lives of local people.