Funding requests lead to debate and disappointment

A HOME for ex-servicemen was sent packing and a street play scheme received funding as county councillors led a passionate debate about applications for community grants last week.

Worthing County Local Committee was assigned a pot of £54,000 to distribute between worthy community groups for small projects but this month’s applications prompted disagreement and debate in equal measure.

Several left disappointed, with the committee arguing some projects should be funded by Worthing Borough Council.

Rejected applications included calls for a community seat in Findon Valley and a volunteering project at the Queen Alexandra Hospital Home, which supports disabled ex-servicemen. Goring division councillor Steve Waight said: “Funding is provided to help things get off the ground, not to replace funding from another local authority. “People need to stop coming to the county council to support borough council facilities. If it’s important, your borough council should be taking that on board.”

Findon Valley Residents’ Association were rebuffed as a result, asking for £1,500 for a community seat.

Councillor for Worthing Pier Michael Cloake said: “I would assume the majority of the association is fairly affluent and it has a lot of members. If everyone put in a pound, could this be self funded?”

Mr Cloake had also put his support behind the Queen Alexandra Hospital Home’s bid, which was also rejected as councillors did not believe the CIF funding was appropriate.

He said: “It is an entirely voluntary organisation, which relies on fund-raising. It is getting harder and harder to raise funds, so I would fully support it.”

A decision on Maybridge Keystone Club’s request for £2,400 for equality of access to leisure facilities was deferred for more information to be gathered.

But the bid’s proposer, councillor Robin Rogers, criticised the report which recommended rejecting its funding.

He said: “It says the club has received considerable support from the county council. West Sussex County Council can find no record of any extra funding given to the club in any form or guise.”

It was a happier picture for Worthing’s Playing Out scheme, however, which received a £1,250 grant for expansion.

The initiative has proved popular in its pilot year, with a number of street closures taking place, so children could safely play outside.

It was praised for ticking all the boxes in terms of encouraging community engagement.

Mr Cloake said: “If you close a street for two hours, then you get these communities coming together and it is not just children, but older people coming out and talking to their neighbours.

“There are not many ways we can do better with the funding than expand this scheme.”

Other successful applicants included World of Words, Worthing Ladies Stoolball, Superstar Arts, Worthing Cycle Forum and Broadwater Winterfest.

Creative Waves’ application for £2,500 for school workshops was deferred awaiting further information.