Funding boost for community projects

FUNDING of £467,000 will boost neighbourhood projects across the borough, including ones in Springhead, Friezland and Lydgate.

Oldham Council’s Local Improvement Fund (LIF) Sub-Committee has approved the money for 18 projects after receiving 42 expressions of interest from elected members.

The LIF was established in 2019 to provide funding for projects that aim to improve Oldham’s neighbourhoods for the benefit of local residents.

A bid for £10,000 to repair the back of Springhead Community Centre, which is home to numerous local groups and organisations, was successful.

Springhead Village Hall

Cllr Barbara Beeley, chair of the centre, explained: “It desperately needs pointing and the chimney stack needs sorting out as rain is getting in round it and the plaster in two rooms underneath the chimney is crumbling.

“They will need replastering and redecorating when the external work is completed.

“If this work isn’t done it may mean we have to close part, if not all, of the building, which would leave many groups with nowhere to meet.

“Many users rely on the groups for contact and friendship and would be devastated if the Centre had to close.

“Many thanks to our three ward councillors for their support.”

Visit www.springheadcommunitycentre.co.uk for more information about the centre.

Lydgate Parish Hall

In Lydgate, £20,000 will go towards the community association’s project to renovate the Parish Hall and transform it into a hub for the village.

Lydgate Community Association (LCA) took over the management of the hall and in a short time have already made a big improvement but the hall, once the village school, is large, old and in need of repair and refurbishment.

Jennifer Greenwood, Chair of the LCA Trustees, said: “Our hall is vital not just to the village but the wider community.

“Like other places across the country the pandemic has damaged people’s confidence and mental and physical well-being as well as the obvious illness and loss brought about by Covid.

“Young and old alike need activities and support to help get things back on track.

“We like to think we are a ‘can do’ community and we have had fantastic local support both financially and in terms of skills and time but to really make a difference we needed a big injection of cash. Thank goodness for OMBC’s foresight and support.

“The plan is to make the hall a viable and accessible space so we can add to the many activities already held there, a drop in centre supported by Mind, youth activities and additional projects for the elderly and vulnerable and much more.

“153 years ago Sir Edmund Buckley and his business associates had the vision to gift this building as a centre for learning and community activities.

“Now Lydgate Community Association, Love Lydgate and St Anne’s Church hope to work together with the support of OMBC’s Local Improvement Fund to realise his vision for now and many more generations to come.”

See www.lydgateparishhall.org.uk for more information.

Funding has also been given for essential repairs to Friezland Arena, which needs work carrying out to replace fencing and relevel the base of the arena, which has been down for about 30 years, and install drainage.

Friezland Arena and Park

More information will follow on this project once the formal agreement and details have been put in place.

Oldham Council Leader, Councillor Arooj Shah said: “During such hard times it is vital that Oldham Council supports residents to recover both socially and economically and the Local Improvement Fund is a great way of achieving this.

“We have seen so many deserving applications but we have selected the ones we feel will have the most positive impact on our local communities.

“I can’t wait to see these projects come to life and see residents reap the benefits.”

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