�35,000 cash for Norwich community projects

Sarah HallThe first community projects to benefit from a share of �35,000 being handed out in Norwich have been selected.Sarah Hall

The first community projects to benefit from a share of �35,000 being handed out in Norwich have been selected.

Norwich City Council was awarded �35,000 as part of Norfolk's participatory budgeting project Your Norfolk Your Decision -where local people decide how to spend public money.

This money will be spent in the Bowthorpe, Lakenham and Tuckswood, and Thorpe Hamlet and Heartsease areas as part of a project called Your Neighbourhood, Your Decision.

Steering groups, made up of local people, have been formed in these areas to help plan and guide the activities and people living there were given the chance to decide how the money will be spent.

The first decisions were made at the weekend to decide where the �10,000 up for grabs in the Thorpe Hamlet and Heartsease area should go.

At the Open Academy on Saturday 20 organisations had three minutes in which to put forward their case before a vote was taken on which were the most worthy.

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More than 120 people went to the event and 14 groups were successful in obtaining money.

Among them was Magdalen Gates Primary School, which got �1,000 for an environmental project and recycling mural.

Head teacher Cara Jermy said: 'The children have designed a mural which we are going to get painted on the wall of an alleyway behind the school.

'It's an area where there's flytipping and problems like that, so we are hoping the recycling mural will make it a lot brighter and the message will make people think twice before leaving rubbish there.

'We are also planning to get the children going out picking up litter in the area, so we will use the money to buy them proper litter pickers and fluorescent jackets.'

Another successful bid was from the Silver Rooms Day Centre, which is facing closure under proposals being put forward by Norfolk County Council.

The council-run centre is facing the axe because the county council is planning to focus its in-house services on helping people with dementia and says the building, in Silver Road, is not suitable for conversion.

Hilda Bullen, 81, who uses the centre, successfully saw through a bid for a new computer, so elderly people could learn computer skills such as e-mail.

Emma Penfold, community engagement officer at Norwich City Council, said: 'I was really pleased with the event. It is a fantastic opportunity for people to be empowered to improve their community and there was a real buzz about on the day.'

The next decision day is this Saturday and will see the �20,000 earmarked for Lakenham and Tuckswood distributed.

It will take place from 2.30pm at the Norwich Young People's Theatre in the Hewett School in Cecil Road.

There is also �5,000 to spend on an activity, project or object that improves community spirit in Clover Hill, Chapel Break and Three Score.

The decision day there is on Saturday, February 20 at the Bowthorpe Church Centre in Bowthorpe Hall Road from 1.30pm to 4pm.

Are you doing something to improve the community where you live? Call Evening News reporter Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk