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Issue 348 – Frome given the go-ahead to apply for a £1million Lottery grant

DESPITE stiff competition from hundreds of applicants from every part of the country, Frome has been short listed by the National Lottery to apply for a massive “Sustainable Communities grant.”The Cheese and Grain, the lead partner in the bid, has won permission to apply for a £1million grant. Only 30 towns were shortlisted from across the country. These 30 applicants will now be competing with each other for one of the ten, £1million grants available. If the second stage application were successful, it would help pay for a wide range of environmental initiatives such as extensive new tree planting, insulating homes, more micro-generation of electricity, helping people cut their fuels bills and producing more food locally, including helping people grow their own food. Most of the money would not be spent by the Cheese and Grain, but by a partnership of local organisations including the Co-op and Frome’s biggest housing association. Steve Macarthur, the Cheese and Grain manager explained, “Our partnership approach with Frome Town Council over the fitting of solar panels to our roof helped us win the first round bid. It’s our roof, but the panels belong to the people of Frome. In the end the panels only cost about £34,000 and will make Frome a handsome profit. “But, and this is probably more important, by working together on the project we demonstrated Frome Town Council’s, and the Cheese and Grain’s, commitment to dealing with environmental issues in a way that benefits lots of people.”The partners include; The Co-operative (that runs the new food store and post office in the Westway, the Astor Group (that now runs Flourish Homes), Sustainable Frome, Frome Town Council and the Frome Development Community Interest Company, (who initiated the project and supported it from the very start). Communities Living Sustainably is a Lottery scheme to bring together the public, private, voluntary and community sectors to help 10 towns be examples of how to deal with the impact of climate change. These ten communities will provide inspiration and share their learning with other communities across England. Special attention is given to how low income households might be helped to cope with rising food and heating costs. The Cheese and Grain must now submit a complex and detailed application to the Lottery by the 25th June, but the manager warns that these are extraordinarily difficult grants to get. He adds, “Even if we are unsuccessful at round two, the preparation of the application will blueprint dozens of worthwhile projects that we may be able to fund separately in the future.”

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