Communities putting funds to good use

Funding helped pay to properly reconnect the marshy Exe Valley Way between Brampford Speke and Upton Pyne

Posted on: 7 November 2017

Community groups are being reminded that funds are available to help kick-start projects that benefit local people.

Devon County Council and Devon’s District, Borough and City Councils, made £661,086 available this year for projects that ‘enhance and make a difference to communities.’

The Town and Parish Fund, known also by other titles, is administered by District, Borough and City Councils, and is allocated to each according to the numbers of people on their electoral role. Devon County Council puts in £1 and City, Borough and District Councils 10p per electorate.

Councillor John Hart, Leader of Devon County Council, said:

“The money is to encourage communities to work together to identify new ideas for their mutual benefit. It is money to kick start projects, available to help get good ideas off the ground. We’d like to hear from communities about projects that enhance and make a difference to communities.”

And communities are putting the money to good use, including:

In East Devon, where the fund is known as the Parishes Together Fund, Axminster, All Saints and Chardstock will soon have public access defibrillators; The Sid Valley Youth Netball Club has been able to set up and buy all the kit and equipment they needed to get started; and the communities of Brampford Speke and Upton Pyne are now properly reconnected by the Exe Valley Way with funding helping pay for the laying of wooden railway sleepers along a significant part of the footpath and the creation of a bridge in a particularly marshy area.

The Chairman of the East Devon District Council Parishes Together Fund decision making panel, Councillor Phil Twiss said:

“It’s great to see the Parishes Together Fund helping our local communities. It’s always a pleasure to be involved in this type of local funding and to hear about the useful projects it helps to happen. I urge all of our town and parish councils to make use of their available funding.”

In Mid Devon, Kennerleigh has set up a community shop and Cullompton has visitor information signs; Willand Rovers Football Club has improved changing facilities; Cheriton Bishop has a new bus shelter; and new equipment has been bought for the Culm Valley Comets.

Councillor Colin Slade, Mid Devon District Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Well-being said:

“I think it’s a great use of the available funds to support community and charitable projects throughout Mid Devon. The efforts of community groups greatly augments the work done by the Councils in helping build and support our communities; and Town and Parish Councils working together. I would encourage any eligible organisations to apply by the 28th February 2018 for consideration in the second funding round for 2017/18.”

In North Devon, Ilfracombe Swimming Club has been awarded £5,000 this year to enable them to set up the “Verity Development Gala” and to buy specialist equipment so that swimmers can officially record their swim qualifying times; The Devon Ambulance Response Team were awarded £800 towards the purchase of a co-responder pager, so that an additional response team member can be available to attend emergencies throughout some of the more remote parishes; and Witheridge, Bratton Fleming and Stoke Rivers received grants towards the creation of ‘Air ambulance’ landing sites.

Councillor Dick Jones, Lead Member for Health and Wellbeing at North Devon Council, said:

“This fund can help make a big difference in our local communities. It’s great that we can work together with the county council to help provide vital services and facilities that enhance the quality of life for our residents and keep our local communities thriving.”

In Torridge, several groups of parishes have installed landing lights to enable Devon Air Ambulance to extend its hours of service; West Putford and East Putford received help with establishing a heritage festival, which enjoyed a second successful edition this summer; Berry Castle, a prehistoric site near the boundaries of Alverdiscott, Huntshaw and Weare Giffard, has been opened up and an interpretation board provided; Great Torrington now has a flourishing Men’s Shed; Bradford, Thornbury and Cookworthy have installed defibrillators and trained members of the community in their use; St Giles on the Heath and Clawton have bought equipment for use by volunteer road wardens; and several communities have replaced or refurbished play equipment.

Councillor Phil Pennington, Torridge District Council’s Lead Member for Community, Culture and Leisure said:

“These collaborative projects are a great way for parishes to join together and provide much needed equipment or facilities across a wider area. The money is also crucial in supporting a variety of voluntary initiatives as well.”

In West Devon this year, a community bus shelter initiative has been granted funds to provide a safe and covered place for residents and students to wait; Projects including village noticeboards and a Devon Air Ambulance night landing site in one of the remote Dartmoor towns have also been offered funding following successful applications.

The Leader of West Devon Borough Council, Councillor Philip Sanders, said:

“The Town And Parish fund is a great way for smaller organisations and community groups to access funds that wouldn’t be otherwise available to them. Our communities and volunteer groups are the lifeblood of our areas, and we are proud to support them”.

In South Hams, the District Council accepts applications for the fund throughout the year, but decides which projects to support at its annual meeting in February. Last year, the Town and Parish fund was used to help start up a community nursery, provide equipment for an outdoor gym and to improve public gardens and provide bicycle racks.

Cllr John Tucker, Leader of South Hams District Council, said:

“The Tap funding has been fantastic for our Town and Parish Councils, who have benefited greatly. We now have several defibrillators in situ within the Town and Parishes where they are accessible instantly and some have contributed to night time landing spots for the Air Ambulance, providing support in our rural communities where it is most needed.”

In Teignbridge, Shaldon now has much needed changing facilities for local league football teams; Tedburn St Mary and Ide have been able to upgrade their children’s play areas; the community of Exminster has been able to buy IT equipment for the village hall and Abbotskerswell is about to embark on some digital training, providing opportunities for older people to maintain their independence and for young people to have better skills for future life.

Teignbridge District Council’s Executive Portfolio Holder for Communities Cllr John Goodey said:

“There’s so many great examples of where funding has made a real difference helping to bring to fruition local projects, or helping to revitalise existing community groups and organisations. Councillors are keen to help their towns and parishes get access to the funding streams available that bring new ideas to life and contribute to stronger communities. I’d encourage groups to contact their local District or city councillor to talk it through – we’re keen to help where we are able.”

And in Exeter, funds are supporting the extension of the WESC Foundation’s training programme for visually impaired young people; helping volunteers at St Sidwell’s Centre develop skills and the experience of running a new canteen; and Exeter Dementia Action Alliance is receiving welcome support.

Councillor Phil Bialyk, Exeter’s City Council’s Lead Councillor responsible for Communities, said:

“I’m delighted that Exeter Board grants are making a real difference in our communities, helping so many projects and initiatives and supporting the people of this great city.”

The Councils recently reviewed the criteria and want to encourage even more collaboration between communities, be they projects led by voluntary and community groups, or Town and Parish Councils. For more information about the fund, whether applying this financial year or next, contact your local District, City or Borough Council, which administers the Fund for your area:

East Devon

North Devon

Mid Devon



South Hams

West Devon

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