Tuesday, December 11, 2012
A community in north Norwich has been urged to come together to decide on how to spend £1m in National Lottery cash.
As reported, families in Catton Grove, to the north of the city centre, have been given a surprise early Christmas present – £1m of National Lottery cash to spend on improving their community.
Catton Grove has been picked by the Big Lottery Fund to benefit from the unexpected windfall after the charity decided the area was a “forgotten” community and had been overlooked for funding in the past.
It is one of 50 across England which the Big Lottery Fund announced would benefit from a share of £200m, with people who live in Catton Grove set to decide exactly how to spend the windfall.
Lottery bosses said people must come together to do the best they can with their £1m, which can be used on anything from training and employment schemes, to tackling anti-social behaviour, creating new community facilities or providing more activities for young people.
Catton Grove ward city councillor Mike Stonard wants residents to have the final say on how the money is spent.
He said: “It’s fantastic news just before Christmas. Catton Grove is the seventh most deprived ward in the city, so is not always at the top of the queue when it comes to getting cash.
“It’s right that the local community should think how the money should be spent and prioritised, and the National Lottery needs to make sure the consultation is as wide as possible, and reaches the type of people who often don’t get consulted.
“They should also realise that a lot of good work is already being done in the community by the council, police, community groups and others, and it’s important they tap into and work with those groups.”
Daniel Browne, chairman of the Catton Grove Residents’ Association, said tackling anti-social behaviour should be a priority.
“Anti-social behaviour in the area is up slightly. I would also like to see the football pitch at Pointers Field upgraded.”
Ian Savory, senior pastor at Oak Grove Chapel, a community church based in the Catton Grove area, said the National Lottery needed to work with community leaders.
He said: “I would like to see more done for young people. Catton Grove Primary School is the largest in the county and growing fast. There is a lot of need here and children are living in deprivation.”
Businesses and shoppers in Catton Grove Road yesterday were pleased the area had been awarded the cash, and had several suggestions for its use.
Edna and John Smith, from Foster Road, said the money should be spent on finding somewhere for the young people to go.
“You need to give them something to do so they don’t have to be on the streets at night. The young people have not got anything to do or anywhere to go,” Mr Smith said.
Meanwhile, Mark Kemp, from Kemp Butchers, wants traffic calming measures introduced to parts of Catton Grove Road.
“Motorcycles drive by our shop at incredible speeds. Whether it’s speed humps or a pedestrian crossing, I think it’s needed. There are a lot of elderly people round here and it can be dangerous crossing the road. That would help the community safety-wise.”
Ron Jarvis, who shops in Catton Grove Road but lives in nearby Penn Grove, New Catton, said: “It’s definitely good for the area. I think there is a need in the area for more training and employment schemes, new community facilities and a need to tackle anti-social behaviour.”
Nick Lowe, chef/manager of Knife, Fork and Spoon cafe, which opened less than two weeks ago, said: “It’s been going well since we moved in, but while there are lots of shops round here, there’s not much signage to say we are here. We are part of the community facilities in the area, and people maybe don’t know we are here.”
However, Stu Jeffries, owner of Stu’s Convenience Store, said his gut response was that while it was good news, he questioned whether any new facilities or centres for young people would be used.
He said: “I can see some benefits in providing training and employment schemes and tackling anti-social behaviour, but I think the new facilities and young people’s centre could be a waste of time – would they be used? It sounds good in theory, but will it work in practice?”
Meanwhile, Catton Grove Road resident and former Norwich City Council leader Steve Morphew said that, if the Woodcock Road pits was cleared up, it could be turned into a wildlife and woodland study centre for children.
As well as funding for improvements, Catton Grove will receive training and support from Local Trust – an organisation set up to help communities spend the funding and increase their confidence, skills and know-how so they are better able to come together to make positive changes in their areas in future.
Catton Grove joins 100 communities across the country which have previously been allocated lottery money, but becomes the first in Norfolk to be picked.
The Big Lottery Fund is the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding and is responsible for giving out 40pc of the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.
How would you spend £1m in your Norwich community? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email firstname.lastname@example.org