Groups welcome £210,000 grants

Haydn Austin of Voluntary Wheels
Haydn Austin of Voluntary Wheels

DOZENS of community and voluntary groups are celebrating after councillors rubber stamped a series of grants worth more than £200,000.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s grants committee hands out cash from its community pool to charities, voluntary and community groups across the town.

In the latest round, the committee backed 23 applications worth £210,000 for the rest of the financial year, between October and March next year.

Groups in town say they are “delighted” with the funding, which will go towards a variety of uses including paying utility bills, insurance, staffing costs and general running costs.

Among those to receive six-months funding was a lifeline transport scheme that provides services for elderly and disabled residents.

Voluntary Wheels has been operating in Hartlepool and the surrounding area for 25 years providing low cost transport to the voluntary and community sector.

It has received £2,833 from the grants committee towards salary costs. Haydn Austin, 59, co-ordinator of the not-for-profit scheme, said: “This money will keep me going for the next six months.

“I am very grateful for the donation,” added the dad-of-three, of Cornwall Street, Hartlepool.

Others given a financial boost include Hartlepool charity Red Dreams, which inspires young people through the arts.

Founders Ian and Dawn McManus launched Red Dreams, in Whitby Street South, after their only child Kyle, who was a talented student of the arts, died suddenly from a brain haemorrhage in April 2007, aged just 17.

The grants committee awarded the charity £2,896 towards utilities, internet, telephone and insurance costs.

Dawn, 40, said: “We didn’t budget for this money because we weren’t sure whether the last six months of funding would be there so we are delighted.”

Meanwhile Hart Gables, a support group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people received £5,200 towards salary costs.

Manager Joanne Fairless said: “It is great news for us and there are a lot of good services in Hartlepool that will also be benefiting.”

The support group is based in York Road.

Other groups or organisations to receive funding include Hartlepool Citizens’ Advice Bureau which was awarded £36,000, Hartlepool Carers which received £14,000 and Owton Fens Community Association which is set to benefit from a £10,000 grant.

The Hartlepool People Centre was granted £12,000, Hartlepool Voluntary Development Agency £12,000, The Salaam Centre £7,000, West View Project £9,000 and Epilepsy Outlook £4,000.

All of the groups given grants had received funding for the first six months of the year. But due to an ongoing review of the community pool it was agreed to defer approving the remaining year’s funding until now.

A decision on a £10,000 grant for Belle Vue Community Sports and Youth Centre has been deferred to the council’s cabinet committee.

The remaining balance in the community pool is £65,000.