Families in part of Norwich have been given a surprise early Christmas present – £1m of National Lottery cash to spend improving their community.

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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 today 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.

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 been allocated lottery money, but becomes the first in Norfolk to be picked.

Nat Sloane, Big Lottery Fund’s England chairman, said of today’s announcement: “These areas have for many years been overlooked and have missed out on vital funding and resources – they have people who are high on aspiration but until now have been low on opportunity.

“Through our long-term funding, commitment, training and support over at least the next 10 years, we will redress that balance; giving them the power, confidence and ability to spend this funding in the ways that matter most to their community.

“This is the Lottery’s largest ever investment in community-led regeneration. This kind of investment is powerful – it goes way beyond annual budgetary cycles of local authorities or the parliamentary terms of well-intentioned governments.

“It is the kind of investment that is going to help people in these areas achieve lasting, meaningful change, for their children and generations to come.”

Debbie Ladds, chief executive at Local Trust, said the organisation was keen to work with people in Catton Grove to figure out what to spend the money on.

She said: “We look forward to helping residents identify what matters most to them and how, with the support of a range of locally trusted organisations and our partners, we can support them over at least 10 years make their areas even better places to live.

“The passion and commitment that residents in existing Big Local areas are showing is inspirational. By enabling residents to make decisions and take control of the funding we believe Big Local can achieve lasting change in their communities.”

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 do you think Catton Grove should spend the £1m to improve the local community?

Tell us your ideas by leaving a comment below, writing to Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email newsdesk@archant.co.uk

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