Slice of £160,000 pie available to volunteer schemes in Trafford as council backs innovative projects

By Phil Jones

A £160,000 pot could be dished out between volunteer groups in Trafford who are being encouraged to apply for the cash through the council’s Neighbourhood Voluntary Sector Grants Scheme.

Anyone with a project benefitting Trafford residents is encouraged to apply, but they are being told to act fast as the window for applications closes at midnight on Monday, May 6.

Trafford has been split into four sections, with eight projects per area potentially getting a £5,000 windfall.

Councillor Jonathan Coupe stressed the council’s commitment to volunteer schemes.

“This grants scheme enables us to provide real investment in innovative projects,” said Mr Coupe, the executive member for safe and strong communities.

“We want to make sure we hear from those determined to make a difference and have the chance to consider supporting their project.

“The projects will not only tackle challenging issues which are impacting on the lives of local people but also enhance the area and the wider borough.”

Each of the four areas has identified priority issues which need to be tackled, with successful grant applicants showing a strategy to combat the problems.

“In these difficult times this is something we are extremely proud to be doing and excited to see the benefits of this much-needed investment across all our communities,” added the councillor.

“We recognise each area faces different challenges and needs under each of our priority issues.”

Simply Cycling was a beneficiary of last year’s grants, receiving £3,000 to cover the track fees and public liability of Trafford Wheelers.

Volunteers at the scheme run all-ability, community-based cycling sessions for just £2 and founder Helen Hines said the grant has made the charity a more sustainable project.

“The scheme has grown over the past year through having the grant – a lot of people didn’t know about us and money certainly helps,” she said.

“We can manage, people do pay, but the grants enable us to go and buy new equipment – to buy a new bike for someone with specific needs is fantastic.

“There’s always an extra something out there that we need.  At the moment we’re looking at helping mums and toddlers, that’s one of our hopes when we bid for the next round of grants.

“I’d definitely encourage others to apply.”

And Ottilia Ordog has taken the advice, with Gorse Hill Studios set to submit an application to keep their Arts Awards projects running.

The projects all qualify under the National Curriculum, meaning young people can gain qualifications in a relaxed environment.

“We’ve got various different groups, including dance groups that go to competitions worldwide – they’re for the community and led by young people, for young people,” said Ms Ordog.

“They’re always bag-packing in Sainsbury’s to try and raise funds to go abroad.

“We would benefit from more marketing and we’ve been going through some changes so extra funding always helps to make our work a little bit more sustainable.”

Their singing group is led by Boney M singer and Manchester native, Sylvia Tella, and Ms Ordog said the studios are aiming to recruit more inspiring teachers.

“Most of the kids’ parents know of her, keeping her as an art leader and being able to bring in other visiting artists would be great,” added the youth music project leader.

“We’re trying to be more accessible and make people more aware of what we do, but things like marketing and printing costs we can’t afford anymore.”

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