Councillors’ cash windfall for groups

Left to right, Councillor Carl Richardson, Mary Pringle, from Grays Friendship Club, Sandra Chow, from the Hartlepool Chinese Association, Jean Hand, from the St Luke's District Infant Welfare Mothers' Club, Councillor Pamela Hargreaves, Maureen Ledington, of Cobden Area Residents' Association, Paul Burton, from Hartlepool Credit Union, and Councillor Chris Simmons

Left to right, Councillor Carl Richardson, Mary Pringle, from Grays Friendship Club, Sandra Chow, from the Hartlepool Chinese Association, Jean Hand, from the St Luke's District Infant Welfare Mothers' Club, Councillor Pamela Hargreaves, Maureen Ledington, of Cobden Area Residents' Association, Paul Burton, from Hartlepool Credit Union, and Councillor Chris Simmons

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CASH help of over £11,000 has been granted to community groups and organisations in a part of Hartlepool.

Councillors Carl Richardson, Pamela Hargreaves and Chris Simmons, who represent the Victoria ward on Hartlepool Borough Council, decided to pool their individual ward member budgets to create a community cash fund.

Local groups and organisations were then invited to apply for financial assistance and funding, and around £11,000 has so far been allocated.

The beneficiaries include residents’ groups, a mothers’ club, a local football club, Hartlepool Swimming Club, Hartlepool Credit Union and the Hartlepool Chinese Association. Maureen Ledington, a representative of Cobden Area Residents’ Association and the St Luke’s District Infant Welfare Mother’s Club, both of which are benefitting from the fund, said: “All three offer residents a great deal of support.”

She said the Cobden Area Residents group plans to use the £650 awarded to pay for social activities, including a theatre trip and summer outing, while the mothers’ club planned to organise celebrations to mark its 50th anniversary.

Individual ward member budgets were introduced by the council earlier this year and each of its 33 councillors received £5,500 to address specific resident and ward issues.

Coun Simmons said: “By creating a community fund in this way, we have been able to make money available to support a range of very important projects.”

Coun Richardson said: “At this time of Government cuts, funds are hard to come by for lots of groups and we are delighted to be helping in this way.”

Coun Hargreaves said: “We still have about £5,000 that is uncommitted and we would urge groups to come forward in the New Year if they have any projects that they would like funding for.”

Groups wishing to bid for some of the remaining cash should contact neighbourhood development officer Irene Cross on (01429) 855560.