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Town councillor urges more Stortford groups to apply for community cash

Bishops Stortford general views. Potter Street/South Street. Pic: Vikki Lince
Bishops Stortford general views. Potter Street/South Street. Pic: Vikki Lince

Bishops Stortford Town Council wants to extend the season of giving by encouraging community groups to apply for grants.

Cllr Alastair Ward-Booth
Cllr Alastair Ward-Booth

At their last full meeting, members agreed to support the town’s Citizen’s Advice Bureau in South Street with £1,500 towards a £6,606 bill for repair maintenance and decoration of the building.

The independent charity, which gives free, confidential information and advice to help with money, legal, consumer and other problems, had also applied for the same sum from the Brazier Trust, which the town council administers.

However, owing to an administrative error by officers the correct paperwork was not available and while some councillors wanted to go ahead regardless or simply double the original grant, ultimately the authority decided that it could set a dangerous precedent.

In a supporting statement to the council, the CAB said: “The building has not had any external maintenance or decoration for around 10 years. The lack of maintenance is now causing problems including damp, leaks into the community café below and an unsafe fire exit.”

Its Brazier Trust request will be considered in the new year and it has also applied for funding from the Screwfix Foundation and the Stansted Airport Community Trust.

Jo Gill’s request for £250, to help launch her Welbeloved Club – a monthly Sunday lunch club for those aged 65-plus who are lonely and socially isolated - was also supported.

She has already raised £1,000 through an online crowdfunding project for the group inspired by her late great-grandmother Doris Welbeloved, which will initially operate from the Hailey Centre in Sawbridgeworth.

Cllr Alastair Ward-Booth, chairman of the localism and strategy committee, told the Independent he wanted more groups to come forward and request funding.

Each year there is £30,000 on offer to groups from the Brazier Trust, set up in 1928 for the benefit of residents. It draws its income from land gifted to the former urban district council by publican Joe Brazier, which is now the Link Road car park. The town leases this to East Herts Council.

Born in 1873 at the Bricklayers Arms public house in Hadham Road, Mr Brazier went on to run the pub before taking on The Chequers Hotel, now Savills estate agents in North Street, for a mammoth 44 years.

He was also a member of the urban district council for 33 years and its chairman in 1933, a magistrate and a district councillor from 1918 to 1938. He died in February 1948.

Cllr Ward-Booth said: “Every year the town council and the Brazier Trust award over £30,000 in grants to local community groups. These pots of money exist to help local groups with their worthwhile missions, but does your group know?

“The town council has recently supported a number of local groups including the Bishop’s Stortford Army Cadets, Apton Day Centre and the Bishop’s Stortford Civic Federation. The Animal Rescue Charity also received vital funds to repair mindless vandalism to their new site at Farnham Road.

“It’s important that the availability of these grants is known to as many worthwhile causes as possible.”

Information about grant applications can be found on the town council website www.bishopsstortford.org or email enquiries@bishopsstortfordtc.gov.uk.

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