LYME Regis Town Council has handed out almost £6,000 to local organisations, despite having lost an estimated £300,000 this year due to COVID-19.
Before coronavirus event reared its head, the budget for local grants was reduced from about £130,000 to £80,000 this year, in light of some major expenditure projects, including resurfacing the flat roof area at the bottom of Lister Gardens and refurbishing the council offices.
The council also completely changed its system for allocating funds, scrapping the former minor, medium and major grants for two new pots – £20,000 a year for annual community grants and £60,000 a year for term grants.
The £60,000 was allocated in February to the Marine Theatre, LymeForward, The Hub, B Sharp, Bridport & District Citizens Advice Bureau, Axe Valley and West Dorset Ring & Ride and Lyme Regis Museum.
Organisations were then invited to apply for community grants up to £1,000 each. Almost 30 local organisations initially applied but after the coronavirus pandemic struck, councillors questioned whether they should be giving away any more money.
The grants process was delayed as face-to-face meetings were put on hold, but councillors eventually agreed they would at least consider applications from those still seeking funds.
From the 29 initial applications, 19 organisations withdrew their grant requests. Organisations were told they could not submit a new application and some were thought to now be irrelevant or not needed, as they were for specific events which has since been cancelled.
This left nine applications requesting a total of £7,774 – way below the £20,000 budget set for community grants.
Councillors considered the applications during a virtual meeting last night (Wednesday).
They were informed the application from Lyme Regis Development Trust for £975 for the purchase of security gates and fencing to secure a new Community Workshop at The Hub had been also been withdrawn at the last minute, as the work had already been carried out and it is council policy not to allow retrospective funding.
Grants totalling £5,799 were then agreed by members as follows:
Lyme Regis Majorettes – £1,000 to replace music equipment in the trailer, including speakers, amplifiers and cabling.
1st Lym Valley Scout Group – £499 for the purchase of archery equipment, including bows and arrows and safety training.
The Town Mill – £500 to purchase a computer tablet to show a film guide of the mill and create up to 10 educational information boards as part of a new exhibition ‘Grain to Loaf’.
btheChange CIC – £1,000 to deliver Crime Consequences and Anti-Social Behaviour Diversion programme at the Woodroffe School.
Dorset Youth Association – £300 for the delivery of support services for youth clubs and groups, based at The Hub.
Lyme Regis Junior Parkrun – £1,000 to pay the one-off capital costs to set up a Junior Parkrun in Lyme Regis.
Lyme Regis Roman Catholic Church – £1,000 towards the repair and restoration of the stonework at the Church of St Michael and St George in Silver Street.
Plastic Free Lyme Regis – £500 for further extending public knowledge of environmental matters through education and awareness raising.