Local initiative that’s bringing people together

Sompting Big Local Meeting
Sompting Big Local Meeting

COUNCILLORS, residents, and other key members of the community attended Sompting Big Local’s meeting on Saturday to see how the initiative has progressed in the last year on the go.

Organisers of the village hub, which was awarded £1m by The Big Lottery Fund two years ago, say it has gone from strength-to-strength with numerous clubs, projects and support for Sompting residents.

Ian Smith, of the Local Trust, said Sompting Big Local (SBL) was doing ‘fantastic things’.

“I congratulate you all. As one man told me, it’s all about bringing the community together,” he said.

Acting chairman Alun Jones said a lot would be happening over the next couple of months.

Club members and councillors eagerly awaited the results of the election that saw new people join the partnership.

Mel Shaw was elected chairman, Ray Downie as vice-chairman and Emma Crowter as secretary. Other roles like finance lead and communications lead were also filled.

SBL team leader Jacqui Matten said there was a good representation of people at the event, which saw around 50 people in attendance.

“We have councillors - county and parish, people who are involved with activities like my ladies from ‘Fun for Seniors’ and there’s volunteers here, too.”

A regular at ‘Fun for Seniors’, Pamela Cottrell, 80, said she had made a lot of friends.

“It’s nice to see all my friends and the volunteers are nice. We play bingo, which we all enjoy, and table tennis,” she said.

Diane Mansbridge, 72, attends the club with her husband, Paul, 77. She said: “There are people who live on our road who go that we have never laid eyes on before.”

Also in attendence was Mark Slide, of Albion in the Community, an initiative which helps people build self-esteem through football.

Twenty one-year-old Nkanyiso Mbambo, who came to SBL looking for help with employment, was found a job within days helping out at Albion in the Community.

“I love it,” said Nkanyiso. “It’s something I want to keep doing.”

All the activities and clubs in SBL are self-funding. An annual report listed all the accomplishments of the initiative in the last year.

Operating six days a week, the initiative hosts Adur Womens Network, Krafty Kids and Knit-wits, among many others.

For more details, visit www.bigsomptinglocal.org.uk, www.facebook.com/bigsomptinglocal or pop by the shop at 6 Cokeham Parade, Sompting, BN15 0AH.