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Growing support for Frome’s £1million Lottery bid

FROME’S bid for a £1million ‘Sustainable Communities’ grant from the National Lottery is being submitted this week, and already the bid is helping the town look to the future.

Earlier this year Frome beat off stiff competition from hundreds of applicants and was short listed to apply for the grant as one of only 30 towns in the country. These 30 applicants will now be competing with each other for one of the ten, £1million grants available.

If successful, the grant could 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.

The Cheese and Grain is the lead partner in the bid, with other partners including The Co-operative (which runs the new food store and post office in the Westway), the Astor Group (which 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).

Even if the bid is unsuccessful, Cheese and Grain manager Steve Macarthur says that the bid has helped organisations work together and look at possibilities for the future of the town.

Steve explains, “This bid is a lot of work, but it’s been a really positive experience. Lots of people have got involved, all the partner organisations have been working very hard, and it’s going to be submitted on schedule.

“The process of working out the bid has been really useful for relations with different organisations and businesses.

“It’s been very interesting to prepare, as we’ve found out things we didn’t know before. We’ve been looking at things that could be done regardless of the lottery bid. We’re saying we don’t want the effort to be wasted if we’re unsuccessful, so what can we get out of it anyway?”

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.

Steve says that, although Frome is already renowned for its energy and commitment to environmental sustainability, it cannot be complacent about the bid. “It’s a double edged sword,” he said. “On the one hand we can show the capacity and engagement and interest the town has but if you overdo that, then they say you’re sorted.” It is expected that the grants will be announced in August. You can find out more about the bid at http://frome future.wordpress.com

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