Still plenty for Sidley community group to spend

Heart of Sidley mascot Sid at the Family Fun Day
Heart of Sidley mascot Sid at the Family Fun Day

The £1million grant used to support a community group in Sidley is far from gone despite rumours it had all been spent.

The Heart of Sidley has only spent £54,351 of its National Lottery BigLocal grant so far with £175,300 agreed to be spent this year.

Scouts and other children making lanterns for the Christmas Extravaganza MXvQwqwHKgCveHQM_BY8

Scouts and other children making lanterns for the Christmas Extravaganza MXvQwqwHKgCveHQM_BY8

The grant is to be spent over 10 years and after a successful 2015 full of events and projects, the organisers are looking forward to the next 12 months.

“It’s been a busy but rewarding year for the Heart of Sidley and a big thanks goes out to everyone who has participated or helped us along the way,” said project coordinator Victoria Ferguson.

“We have lots of plans for 2016, with new projects on the horizon, so watch this space.”

The partners in charge of the group do not have access to the £1 million directly.

The Heart of Sidley float at Bexhill Carnival won Best in Show fYwgnhjSCaQn3xvmVx6I

The Heart of Sidley float at Bexhill Carnival won Best in Show fYwgnhjSCaQn3xvmVx6I

A business plan is submitted annually and has to be approved by BigLocal before any funds are released.

Once approved, the money for that year is held by two Local Trusted Organisations who manage the money and make sure it is spent in the way that has been agreed.

Then match-funding is sought before the project gets underway.

Victoria said its hard work with only two employees and six partners, but hoped to recruit some more help this year in whatever form.

Children enjoying Knockhatch Adventure Park on a Heart of Sidley trip XneENEdE119nig77JADn

Children enjoying Knockhatch Adventure Park on a Heart of Sidley trip XneENEdE119nig77JADn

“We would really like more people to get involved,” she said.

“It doesn’t have to be a full time commitment and volunteers can dip in and out as they please.

“Being a partner has more responsibility but you get to help decide what we do with the money.”

You do not have to be a resident to volunteer but partners need to either live or work in Sidley.

One of their most successful projects last year was Youth in Motion at Sidley Young People’s Centre.

The project gets young adults playing musical instruments and making their own films, and ends with an official certificate to use on their CVs.

It has been so popular that it now runs twice weekly due to demand for places.

Another highlight for Heart of Sidley was winning Best in Show at the Bexhill Carnival, as well as getting a certificate of Excellence from Bexhill in Bloom.

The Free Family Fun Day and Christmas Extravaganza each had more than 500 people attending and was a brilliant opportunity for children and families to have quality time together, without having to spend lots of money.

Other projects included a free family day out at Knockhatch Adventure Park, the installation of planters on Ninfield Road, the over-60s lunch club and monthly clean ups around Sidley.

If you want to get involved or to learn more about the project, call Victoria on 01424 728041 or Audrey Pinnington on 01424 728042.

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