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Community groups win cash from a public ‘dragons’ den’

Press Release   •   Feb 08, 2017 14:23 GMT

Seven community groups have won funding for projects after a ‘dragons’ den’ and public vote by Prestwich residents.

The special meeting was held at the Longfield Suite on Monday (6 Feb), chaired by councillors Alan Quinn and Tamoor Tariq, to award money raised at the ParkLife concerts in Heaton Park.

The Parklife Community Funding scheme is about working together to improve green open spaces and the health/wellbeing of Prestwich residents through community-led initiatives and projects that put local people in control.

Thirteen community groups pitched for a share of the funding pot, each delivering a presentation showing how their project supports local communities within Prestwich.

Following the presentations, Prestwich residents voted for the following seven community groups to share the ParkLife fund:

  • Diversity Prestwich Picnic: Prestwich Together – awarded £150.

    “To host a 'Diversity Picnic' in St Mary's Park (and hire Phoenix Centre as a backup for an indoor picnic/gathering in case of rain). We aim to create a family friendly, safe and welcoming space where Prestwich residents from different backgrounds, religions and nationalities can gather and meet. Participants may bring their own picnic food and non-alcoholic refreshments which they may share if they wish. Balloons, crafts and bubbles available for children plus possible story telling or informal music. This is to be a two to three hour event on a Sunday afternoon in the early summer. The picnic will be a celebration of the great diversity within Prestwich and a show of solidarity in our community to residents of all backgrounds. We will create art work, stickers and posters to spread this message using non-political wording.”

  • Prestwich Clough Day: Prestwich Clough Day Committee – awarded £1,000.

    “Prestwich Clough Day is an annual free family event, held in May in our public green space Prestwich Clough. The event celebrates and raises awareness of local community groups, charities and businesses, and also serves to educate the younger attendees about our local traditions with brass bands, Morris dancers and craft and history group stalls. We have lots of educational stalls showcasing local wildlife and greenery as well as our famous bird displays and bat walk. This year we aim to really blend the old with the new and have more entertainment than ever before with new theatre pieces, musicians and dancers. Our event aims to get the community to engage with the green spaces in their area. We also offer volunteering opportunities to youngsters and provide references for them to take forward to future employment.”

  • The Phoenix Centre: Prestwich Methodist Youth Association – awarded £1,000.

    “The Phoenix Centre delivers much-needed community services to the people of Prestwich. It provides a before and after school club and a youth club, as well as providing a space for community groups to meet. Other activities delivered in the centre include karate, yoga, tutoring and a Six Town Housing job club. The centre is in use seven days a week and 50 weeks a year. As a result it requires much maintenance and upkeep of equipment. The centre has a meeting room where children, young people and the local community use the four computers on offer. Unfortunately these computers are in poor condition and very old and funds spent to repair them are proving to be less than cost effective. There has been a request from the children, young people and trustees that we replace these computers.”

  • Young Carers in Prestwich: Friends of Young Carers – awarded £1,000.

    “This project will support young people aged 7-18 with caring responsibilities for a parent or carer who has a physical illness or disability, mental health, sensory disability or has a problematic use of drugs/alcohol in the Prestwich area. The aim is to offer these young carers a residential experience, because due to their caring responsibilities they rarely get the opportunity to be children and young people, as well as giving them respite from their caring role. Objectives are to offer an opportunity to make friends, learn new skills, share new experiences, build confidence and self esteem, to be themselves and have fun. We are currently setting up a new weekly drop in to start in the new year for all young carers in the Prestwich area; this residential opportunity would be great to bring them all together.”

  • Philips Park Nursery Garden: Incredible Edible Prestwich and District – awarded £336.

    “The aim of Incredible Edible is to promote and develop the concept of locally produced sustainable food for the community. The project at Philips Park is the largest of our projects. Over the past two years corporate and community volunteers have enhanced the site and provided fruit and vegetable to volunteers and local community cafes. We would like to expand the nursery garden by adding extra raised beds and providing tools for the use by local children who began attending our Saturday sessions in 2016. We also are looking to respond to a request for sessions for the ‘Boom Project,’ providing their young people with raised beds in which they can grow vegetables and soft fruit.”

  • Getting Together: Jigsaw – awarded £752.

    “Project “Getting Together” will support the organisation of a summer disco for Jigsaw’s members and friends of the charity. Jigsaw is a sports and social group for young disabled people, and we anticipate that up to 100 of our members and friends will attend the event. The disco will be planned, organised and run by a team of our members, with the support of group leaders. Project “Getting Together” promotes the Jigsaw values of ‘fun, freedom and independence’, affording the committee organising the disco autonomy in managing a catering budget, purchasing essential supplies, raising awareness of the event, setting up before guests arrive, and ensuring the evening runs smoothly.”

  • Outdoor Classroom – Garden Redevelopment: St. Mary’s Primary School – awarded £1,000.

    “Our main aim is to transform an area of unused/overgrown school land into an excellent learning environment that creates space for an outdoor classroom for Early Years’ Foundation Stage children to use in all weathers and across the curriculum. We would like to incorporate the following play based learning elements: a mud kitchen, bug hotel, bird feeding station, mark making learning resources, moveable stumps for seating/climbing, log piles to be used as natural habitat piles, retractable covering/awning and a den for the children to play in. It would be wonderful if we could learn how to plant, grow and sell our own produce and make a currently unloved space into somewhere we would be proud of. The dimensions of the space are 1400cm x 1650cm x 960cm. Once established we would like to explore running Forest School sessions and a gardening club.”

  • You can follow the progress of each project via their dedicated project page at Community groups are asked to keep posted for further details of the 2017 ParkLife Community Fund where they will be able to apply later in the year.

  • Councillor Tamoor Tariq, Bury Council’s cabinet member for communities and safer neighbourhoods, said: “We were all blown away by the quality of bids and the excellent work that local community groups are undertaking day in and day out in Prestwich. They are all our local heroes.”

    And Prestwich councillor Alan Quinn, cabinet member for the environment, said: “I’d like to say well done to all those involved and thank them for the good work they all do. For those who were not successful, I know officers are keen to work with them to offer support. Everybody’s presentation was excellent; it was so hard for people to choose!”

    Ben Turner, ParkLife community impact manager, said: “The range of applications and public turnout on the evening was really impressive. The Community Fund is a long term commitment from Parklife and I would encourage community groups to make an application when the second round of funding opens later in the year."


    Press release issued: 8 February 2017.