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Making a difference – spreading the town’s £250,000 windfall

A YEAR after a benefactor donated £250,000 to Frome to encourage economic growth and spur on community projects, over £33,000 has already been provided to local projects.
In the latest tranche of payments, £7,000 in grants was awarded to a  Frome Community Education project, a monthly creative club for teenagers and young adults with learning difficulties, and pilot initiatives on allotments.
The money is allocated by the Frome Development Community Interest Company (FDCIC), which was set up after an anonymous benefactor was so impressed with the town that he pledged £250,000 to encourage its economic growth. The money is being given in segments of £50,000 over  five years. The FDCIC’s remit is to offer “catalyst” funding to individuals, groups and organisations to enable them to undertake specific projects.
In the latest set of grants, Frome Community Education’s ‘Learning to be Healthy’ project will enable 60 people to attend healthy living courses on growing food and cooking and courses for physical and mental wellbeing.  The FDCIC will fund those who cannot otherwise afford fees.
FDCIC is also contributing to funding for Openstorytellers’ ‘Friends Meet Up Live!’ project.  This is a monthly creative club for teenagers and young adults with learning disabilities, many of whom experience isolation when leaving special school.
Having worked closely with the town council and the Allotment Association, FDCIC has identified a number of places and ways garden sharing and community gardens are operated and will be funding schemes to help these initiatives.
FDCIC was established just over a year ago to provide funding to projects in Frome, with an emphasis on “providing a unique opportunity for organisations to access funding that is not tied to too many rules and regulations.”  Funding can enable projects to get off the ground, or provide a vital bridge while longer term plans are made.
The organisation says, “Over the first year this means that we will have funded over £33,000 of projects aimed at social cohesion, reducing poverty and helping everyone be included; around £8,000 on environmental and food-related projects; and around £10,000 on work to improve volunteering.
“It has been particularly encouraging to see some – such as the Market Yard fair for young people’s business ideas, and core funding for the Mount Community Association start to really make a real difference in the lives of people in Frome.”
The next round of grant making will be on January 1st 2013. All the details of how to apply are on the website at www.fromedevelopmentcic.org.uk

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