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Victory Housing Trust community giving breaks through £½ million mark

5th Dec 2014
John Archibald 1

Eight community groups are to share a total of £18,000 in grants following the latest round of grants from the Victory Housing Community Fund – a figure which means that Victory Housing Trust has now given out more than £½ million from its Funds designed to provide support to local communities.

Play areas, a volunteer car scheme, village halls and a community shop were amongst the latest grants made by the Victory Community Fund, which has made 102 grants totalling £289,482 since it was set up in October 2008.

A panel consisting of Victory residents made eight awards of between £500 and £5,000 in the latest bi-annual grants round.

Organisations receiving support were:

  • Happisburgh Parish Council, which received £5,000 to contribute the costs of providing a safe play area for the village
  • Ryburgh Community Enterprise, which was granted £2,500 to replace IT equipment in the community owned shop
  • Blakeney Parish Council, which received £2,250 to provide new recreational, leisure and fitness equipment aimed at those over the age of 11
  • Southrepps Parish Council, which was given £2,250 to install new play equipment for younger children
  • The Wensum Centre in Fakenham, which received £2,000 towards its core costs
  • New Life Community Church in North Walsham, which was granted £2,000 to purchase a range of equipment for the youth club
  • New Victory Hall in Neatishead, Barton Turf and Irstead which received £1,500 to improve the access road into the hall
  • Ludham PCC, which was given £500 to contribute to the mileage allowance for volunteer drivers involved in the car scheme

Combining the 102 grants given out by the Victory Housing Community Fund (and decided by a residents’ panel) with a further 19 strategic community grants made from a Strategic Fund (decided by Victory’s Board), means that the total invested in local communities by the Trust since 2008 has now passed the £500,000 mark.

“Making sure that we support strong communities in which our residents live is just as important as building, maintaining and managing the actual homes in which they live,” said Victory chief executive John Archibald.

“That is why we have invested so heavily in supporting our local communities, and the fabulous voluntary groups and charities which act as the glue which keeps our communities together.

“When we set up the first Community Fund in 2008, it was our intention to build it for the long-term; the fact that we have since distributed grants totalling over half a million pounds, shows that we were serious.

“Most of the grant decisions are taken by panels of residents themselves; this is very much for the community, by the community – supported by Victory, which works very hard to be an integral part of those communities.”

The Victory Housing Trust Community and Strategic Funds are administered by the Norfolk Community Foundation.

Quotes from grant recipients

Andrew Purdy, chairman of the Ryburgh shop committee and managing director of the Community Interest Company that operates the shop:

“We are delighted to have been awarded a grant from the Victory Housing Community Fund to replace the IT in Ryburgh Village Shop.  All the existing IT equipment was donated when we set up the shop; the computers were several years old when we were given them six years ago.  

“A large proportion of the residents of Great Ryburgh are on rural wages or benefits.  A great many of them do not have internet access at home, yet most government benefits must be accessed online.  

“Quite a lot of school homework must now be accessed online which is a real problem for some families. We have a number of children do their homework on the PC in the village shop.  

“Our new IT systems will mean the internet café will provide much better internet access for children doing school homework and projects, people accessing benefits online and so on.  There will also be better printing and photocopying facilities available.

“Many people simply can't afford a computer and these are the same people who are being told to apply for their benefits online.  Great Ryburgh has a high proportion of people on rural wages and benefits and the computer in the shop is essential for more than a few of them.  This grant will help us to address a major source of disadvantage in the village.”

Rosemary Munday, member of the Play Space Steering Group (under Happisburgh Parish Council):

“The grant from the Victory Housing Trust Community Fund is a fantastic boost to the fundraising that has taken place to provide a much-needed play space for the young people of Happisburgh and also from surrounding villages that do not have facilities of their own.  Against a backdrop of negative press because of the coastal erosion, this project yet again shows the determination and resilience of the local community.”