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£11,000 in grants awarded to local groups

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GRANTS of nearly £11,000 have been made to local groups and projects by Wiltshire Council’s Melksham Area Board at their meeting last week.

The village halls at Bowerhill and Berryfield, Melksham Goes Wild, Melksham Amateur Swimming Club (Melksham Swordfish), Age Friendly Melksham and the Melksham Carers Cafe all received backing.

Bowerhill Village Hall received £5,000 to help fund six new double glazed French doors and two single doors.

Mark Harris, chair of Bowerhill Village Hall Trust said, “We are asking for financial help to replace the doors in the hall, all of which are 17 years old now and have gaps in and are not very heat efficient. The new doors will make a significant difference to the quality of the hall and generally improve things for our users, many of whom are elderly or infirm, and with winter coming on, we would be very grateful of support from the Area Board.”

He said it was an ongoing battle to keep the hall in good condition.

Councillor Nick Holder, supporting the project, said the new doors will enhance what is a significant community asset which is used not just by residents of Bowerhill, but also the wider community.

The newly-opened Berryfield Village Hall was awarded £2,233 for seven new tables and 54 new chairs.

Cllr Jon Hubbard said it was fantastic to see the new hall open; “It’s an amazing facility and a big asset to the local community,” he said.

£300 was awarded to the Blue Campaign locally, which aims to encourage all gardeners to become more insect and wildlife-friendly through measures such as using peat-free compost, abandoning pesticides and allowing an area of garden to become more overgrown and wild.

“We are going to give out leaflets about the campaign and blue hearts for people who agree to embrace the Blue Heart principles,” said the group in their application.

Cllr Hubbard supported the application saying the group are working very hard to rewild Melksham. “The concept behind this project is superb and they are only asking for a small amount of money to support a really positive activity,” he said.

Melksham Amateur Swimming Club received £1,360 to help train new coaches.  A club representative said, “The money will go towards paying for investment in our club swimmers to help them become teachers. These teachers then train younger swimmers.

“We invest in our swimmers; they grow up and then teach the younger swimmers and some have even gone on to become coaches at the Melksham Pool.”

Cllr Phil Alford said, “This is just the sort of project we should be supporting; empowering younger members of society to step up and help others. A really, really positive project.”

A Health and Wellbeing grant of £1,500 was made to Wiltshire Music Centre, based in Bradford-on-Avon to help it carry on its work in Melksham, particularly in bringing arts and cultural events to older people.

“Last year, we ran 18 events in Melksham reaching approximately 360 people ranging from one-to-one conversations to large-scale events,” said Cassie Tait, head of creative learning at the centre.

Carer Support Wiltshire also received a £500 grant towards the new Carer Café in Melksham.

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