ELEVEN worthy projects from across South Devon are celebrating after winning thousands of pounds in the Herald Express Community Cash Awards.
We teamed up with the Big Lottery Fund to hand out £250,000 to the projects who received the most votes from our readers.
Scores of projects entered and you have now chosen your favourites from a shortlist selected by our judging panel.
Dharmendra Kanani, Big Lottery Fund England director, said: "Congratulations to all of the outstanding projects which you as a readers of the Herald Express have chosen to receive a share of £250,000 in Lottery funding.
"A great range of projects are today receiving funding which will benefit many local people from trying to get people more fit and healthy by cooking, singing and dancing.
"I am heartened to see so many examples of how people-powered change is underway in your own neighbourhoods.
"But don't let it stop here, hopefully the projects which have benefited today will inspire you to unleash your community spirit and think about approaching the Big Lottery Fund for a grant to put your aspirations into action."
Herald Express editor Jim Parker said: "The support from readers for our Community Cash initiative has been really inspiring and we are delighted to play our part in supporting so many worthwhile projects across Torbay, Teignbridge and South Hams.
"We look forward to seeing how the money will help residents."
Acorn Youth, Community and Sport Centre
THE Acorn Youth, Community and Sport Centre in Torquay is celebrating being awarded £10,595.
It will help with the Small Steps project, which will enable the centre in Barton to run workshops for local people to stay fit and healthy.
The aim will be to reduce ongoing health issues.
“We’re over the moon,” said Marilyn Marin from the centre.
“We can’t wait to tell everyone and get the project going.”
Food in the Community
TOTNES-BASED Food in the Community is thrilled to receive £26,370 for its Cooking Up A Treat scheme.
It will offer a series of sessions all based around food, giving local people the opportunity to learn new skills around cooking and budgeting, reducing food waste and nutrition.
Social and shared meal sessions will bring together those with a shared interest, such as parents with special needs children, and tea dances.
THOSE with dementia in Dartmouth and the surrounding area are set to benefit from £11,800 which has been awarded to Dartmouth Caring who applied for the cash for the project Active with Dementia.
The money will establish a new art, music and singing programme for older people with dementia and their carers.
It will also provide a central point for support and social contact.
These activities will provide opportunities for stimulation and reduce social isolation for both sufferers and carers.
“We are so very pleased,” said Alison Stocks, of Dartmouth Caring.
“We saw all the others shortlisted and didn’t think we stood a chance. We are very grateful.”
Dance in Devon
A WEEKLY dance and social events programme will be set up in residential homes in Teignbridge and the South Hams thanks to Dance in Devon gaining £29,960 from the Community Cash Fund pot.
The project, titled T-Dance, aims to improve general well being, balance, coordination, confidence and to raise awareness of the importance of physical activity for older people living in residential homes.
“It’s wonderful we’ve been selected, we’re truly delighted,” said Sarah Cobley, of Dance in Devon.
“We believe around 150 residents will benefit from the project. It will not only help them physically, but also emotionally as we’ll be doing dances through the ages, which will bring back memories of years go by.”
Great Parks Community Centre
A GRANT of £20,000 will enable Great Parks Community Centre, Paignton, to provide kitchen facilities to run a weekly lunch and cooking sessions for young people.
The cash will also help form a community cafe to engage with members of the community.
The facilities will also provide an opportunity for the group to generate more income by the centre hiring out the hall.
“We are absolutely delighted, this money means so much to the users,” said Kathleen Sowden, of the centre.
“It will make such a vast difference. Our three youth groups will be able to cook and it will really help them with life skills.”
Kingsway Residents’ Association
A FEAST for a Fiver project will come to fruition after Kingsway Residents’ Association, Teignmouth, received £11,734.
The funding will provide a cooking club for adults providing families and individuals on low incomes with the skills and start up equipment to cook healthy meals on a low budget.
“We’re so pleased and pushed for people to vote for us on our Facebook page,” said Sarah Holmes, from the KRA.
“It won’t just help adults, as they’ll pass on the skills to their families. We hope to help 200 people overall.”
Bidwell Brook School
THE Treehouse Project at Bidwell Brook School, Dartington, will become a reality after it received £23,300 funding.
The aim is to build an accessible tree house designed to provide alternative sensory experiences for children with special needs and their families, allowing them to make better use of the outdoor activity areas the school has and enhance their choices and opportunities to express themselves, learn play and communicate.
A spokesman for the school said: “A big thank you to everyone who voted for us.
“This is an exciting and innovative project. We know it will benefit our pupils and families. We are also delighted to have these wonderful new resources to share with the community. We can’t wait to have a party in the Tree House.”
TORQUAY-BASED organisation Anode has received £30,000 to relocate a family and community resource centre.
It will allow them to expand their existing service and provide a drop-in service and courses in cooking, debt management and other life skills.
This project will bring back an empty building in use for the community and providing a central hub for support, information and training.
“We seriously didn’t believe we got picked,” said Richard James, of Anode.
“It’s like winning the lottery, literally. It will help us fulfil a dream.”
Totnes Community Bus Association
A GRANT of £30,000 will enable Totnes Community Bus Association to provide a Stoke Gabriel Tuesday Service. It will help supplement the cost of a new community bus to expand the existing community bus service and provide additional transport to the neighbouring parish of Stoke Gabriel.
The service is used by older people, people with disabilities and low income families.
Disabled Sailing Association
A GRANT of £27,000 will let the Disabled Sailing Association fund its Freedom 2 project.
It will contribute to the cost of a new boat adapted to meet the needs of people with a disability, enabling them to learn the skills of sailing and providing the opportunity to access more formal qualifications.
Working as a team onboard provides opportunities to develop social skills, life skills and build confidence.
“We found out we’d been awarded the money when I got back from holiday and I was very happy,” said David Musgrove from the group.
“I’m glad people recognised the need for the project. Now we’ll be getting hold of our other funders so we can start the project.
PAIGNTON’S CentrePeace is celebrating a cash boost of £20,400 which will be used to help residents gain life skills in things like cooking, numeracy and computers.
The money will mean the organisation can set up a new programme of training courses and workshops at their drop-in centre.
Teresa Emberson, centre manager, said: “This will make a huge difference to us.
“It will transform the centre into a real community hub to help local people. The money has given us a huge leap forward to where we could only hope to have been in a year’s time.”