October 23 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, April 17, 2014
A village project to build a swimming pool has received a grant of £20,000 – with only a matter of weeks before major potential funding for it ceases.
Debenham Parish Council has awarded the money to the community project which has until June 1 to raise around a further £19,000.
The committee behind the pool bid is eligible for £109,000 of Sport England funding but only if it can match fund it.
Richard Blackwell, parish chairman, said now was the time to give the substantial grant.
He said the money would be awarded if the project’s business case “stands up to independent scrutiny”.
“It’s a lot of money, they are £40,000 short but we could not fill the whole gap. If we had given £1,500 or £2,000 – it’s just a drop in the ocean,” he said.
“£20,000 shows incredible local support for a local project, it should give the fundraising team a huge lift as they are now nearer the finish line.”
He said the council wanted to see its money in the community being used rather than sitting in a bank account.
Mr Blackwell added: “There was an appraisal 10-12 years ago and top of the list by a country mile at the time was a swimming pool.
“Everybody from the village can benefit from this – from cradle to grave – people enjoy swimming, it’s an excellent form of exercise.”
The heated pool, which would measure 18x6metres, is to be built at Sir Robert Hitcham School and have three lanes.
Sacha Feeney-Howells, the committee chairman, said: “It was a bit of shock to hear about the grant, we were expecting about £1,500, so this is excellent news.
“We are still a bit short but the Aspall race should raise a few thousand pounds.
“We have got other fundraising events which have been brought forward to beat the July deadline that we have got to match the money (before).
“This definitely shows that the community wants the swimming pool and will support it.”
On May 10, the committee is organising running races to boost the project’s funds.
Races of 10k, 5k and a 1k fun run are available. The races, sponsored by Aspall Cyder, will start from Debenham Sports and Leisure Centre, entry can be made online by May 5 or through a form from the leisure centre.
Residents living in Debenham currently have to travel to Stowmarket, Ipswich or Stradbroke to access swimming pool facilities.
The grant bid for the Sport England money centred on promoting health and providing a facility for people who are isolated in rural Suffolk.
Other funders for the swimming pool project have included The Bernard Sunley Foundation, £10,000, Mid Suffolk District Council, £20,000, Suffolk County Council, £22,500 and Adnams £1,000.