Community groups across Tendring have been awarded almost £800,000 from Tendring District Council (TDC) since a funding scheme was started seven years ago.
TDC launched the Big Society scheme in April 2011 to support organisations providing services to residents in the District.
So far 79 awards have been made totalling £758,967, with the latest including £20,000 given to Community Voluntary Services Tendring (CVST) for a refurbishment of its Harwich Community Wellbeing Centre, announced last week.
And with at least three projects working up their stage two bids, if they are successful the total awarded will rise to just under £800,000 by the end of the financial year.
The projects funded are a diverse mix of initiatives, ranging from £900 for a loft ladder for the Pier Avenue Players drama group, £3,240 for the School of Slam Wrestling School for equipment, and almost £8,500 for Churches Together to fund a Street Pastor scheme.
In some cases the cash from the Big Society Fund has been one part of a wider project, while in others it has unlocked further grant funding – meaning without the Big Society grant, the scheme would not have gone ahead.
Carlo Guglielmi, TDC’s Cabinet Member for Finance and Chairman of the Big Society Fund, said the benefit to the groups was immeasurable.
“I am delighted that over the past seven years we have been able to support so many different groups across our District,” he said.
“While some of the amounts awarded may seem small, the grants will have had a big impact for the organisations receiving them – and for the people who use their services.
“Our ambition is to keep topping up the Big Society Fund as and when the Council can, so we can continue to support these fantastic community groups in the vital work they do for residents.
“Tendring is blessed with a wealth of these organisations all working to improve quality of life in our District.”
The Big Society Fund was launched with an initial cash pot of £500,000 to replace annual grants of around £100,000 given to just 32 community organisations and instead widen its reach to all such local groups.