Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Community Funds Give Villagers Hope; Big Local Aid Aims to Alter Local Fortunes

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Community Funds Give Villagers Hope; Big Local Aid Aims to Alter Local Fortunes

Article excerpt

Byline: Dave Black ? 07884 117069 ? dave.black@ncjmedia.co.uk

ACLUSTER of villages in the shadow of the doomed, 500-job Alcan aluminum smelter have been given a PS1m funding boost aimed at helping transform their fortunes.

Lynemouth, together with its neighbouring communities of Ellington, Linton and Cresswell, has been awarded the Lottery cash in the final, PS200m round of grants from the Big Local programme.

The former pit villages near the Northumberland coastline are among 50 "forgotten" areas chosen for assistance because they have major social and economic needs, and have missed out on funding and investment in the past.

The PS1m boost comes as welcome news for the area, which is coming to terms with the phased closure of the Rio Tinto Alcan plant in Lynemouth and the loss of its 515 jobs.

Villagers will work with Local Trust - the organisation set up to deliver the Big Local programme - to establish a residents' panel, which will decide how the windfall should be spent over the next 10 years.

It can be used for anything from training and employment schemes, to tackling anti-social behaviour, creating new community facilities or providing more activities for young people.

A Local Trust representative will help residents decide how to spend the funding, and provide training to increase their confidence, skills and knowledge so they are better equipped to make positive changes in the future.

Lynemouth is the first community in Northumberland to receive funding from the Big Local programme, which has previously handed out grants to 100 others across the country.

Yesterday Lynemouth parish council chairman Cath Davidson said: "This is wonderful news and we have to be very careful about how we use the funding, because it might be the only bit of good news we get for a long time.

"It is a lot of money, which doesn't seem to have many strings attached, and I believe we will have to bring the whole community together and discuss how to spend it. …

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