�1million Lottery funding boost for Ramsey

AMSEY is to get more than �1million over the next 10 years to fund community projects.

RAMSEY is to get more than �1million over the next 10 years to fund community projects.

The town is one of just 50 areas in England to receive money from the ‘Big Local Trust’ Lottery programme and the only one in Cambridgeshire.

The targeted neighbourhoods have all been selected following extensive analysis, and are all places where there are social obstacles and a history of difficulty in obtaining resources, a Lottery spokesman said.

Sarah Betsworth, Big Lottery Fund head of East of England region, added: “The Big Local Trust is a dedicated Lottery funding-stream to help people in neighbourhoods such as Ramsey to identify local issues and to develop the skills and confidence necessary to change things for the better.

“We hope that by securing funding for the long-term and by offering a commitment to providing dedicated local support, the Big Local Trust will bring lasting positive changes to Ramsey and its residents.”

An independent charitable trust will be set up to run the programme and BIG is calling for organisations who wish to apply to run the trust to step forward.

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But where the funds are spent will be decided by residents’ representatives, though it is still unclear how they will be chosen.

The national charitable trust is not expected to be up and running until June next year, with the first money becoming available towards the end of 2011. Voluntary and community organisations are expected to benefit most.

“We selected disadvantaged communities that have been overlooked for funding in the past, particularly funding from the Big Lottery Fund,” a spokesman said. “We have also aimed to select communities from across the country, both in urban and rural areas. We discussed our selections with key local partners to ensure that we took into account local issues and views on priorities.”

Huntingdonshire District Council, which has for years identified Ramsey and its surrounding villages as being in need of special help, particular for employment and training opportunities, is claiming credit for having pointed the area out to the fund organisers.

Its leader, Councillor Ian Bates, said: “This Lottery funding for Ramsey is great news. The investment over 10 years will enable Ramsey residents to see major changes in their community.”

Ramsey District Councillor Phillip Swales added: “The funding will help bring real improvements to one of the Huntingdonshire communities that has in the past been overlooked by the Big Lottery Fund. This could make a real difference to residents’ lives.”