Some more insights into the Your Fund Surrey project, by local resident Ian Strutt.
The website for Your Fund Surrey poses the question:
“How can the council [Surrey County Council] afford to spend £100 million” to fund projects in the county?”
Purchase of the Wells Social Centre fits right into many of the aims of this new scheme designed to “empower communities.” Our Wells community has been very much impoverished by the Residents’ Association (RA) council having closed the Wells Social Centre some five years ago. The planned mini replacement centre was already proven to be unfit for use and has now been utterly blown off course with the advent of COVID-19. It could not possibly provide space for socially-distanced activities – unlike the present large centre. The importance of the Wells Centre to the wider community was disregarded, even though it catered for the next generation, with a pre-school, right up to providing help and community facilities for the pensioner generation (of which I am now one).
Scheme designed to last five years
In describing its scheme, Your Fund Surrey says it is “part of Surrey County Council’s Medium Term – Financial Strategy announced in 2020/21, with a fully costed capital programme of well over £1 bn. over five years.”
“The £100 million Your Fund Surrey allocation is designed to help empower communities to deliver big place-changing projects that local areas need and will improve opportunities and quality of life for residents.”
With the quality of Wells residents’ lives having been so cruelly downgraded with the closure of our centre, a successful fund application would certainly restore the cohesion this community has benefitted from for around the past 65 years.
Improving quality of life “is particularly important as communities recover from the impact of COVID-19 over the coming years,” according to the aims of the fund.
Running costs are not included
Your Fund Surrey points out:
- “The fund is for capital funding. Revenue funding costs such as running and maintenance of your project cannot be covered by this fund.
- “As part of your project idea, you could think about how any ongoing costs associated could be covered – is there something you could introduce that would generate revenue, like a cafe for example?
- “Or, if it’s part of an existing organisation or building (like a school or charity), would any additional running costs be able to be met through existing budgets?
- “The council wants to ensure that the projects we fund have a long-term impact on the communities they serve; as such, we ask that projects try to incorporate a means to generate revenue.
- “The purpose of this revenue is to cover on-going maintenance costs, which cannot be funded by Your Fund Surrey as a capital-only fund.
- “These monies are for reinvestment in the project and will not benefit either Surrey County Council or your local district or borough council.”
The portal to submit ideas opens in February 2021.
The Epsom Wells Community Association is currently refining its forthcoming application for funding. How wonderful it would be if it was successful!