Controversy over council grants for community groups

SEAT OF POWER: Lyme Guildhall

'MOVING GOALPOSTS' Cllr Lucy Campbell

CASH COW FEARS: Cllr Owen Lovell

First published in News by , Reporter

GRANT-GIVING at Lyme Regis Town Council proved controversial once again with some organisations slammed for failing to generate their own income.

An extraordinary full council meeting had been called to allocate grants of up to £3,000 to local organisations.

However, despite a new policy being introduced last year, councillors admitted that promises of improvements to it had not been completed.

The council considered 22 applications requesting a total of £32,439.

The authority handed out just £22,156.

This total does not include a grant request of £1,500 from the Guitars on the Beach event, which was approved but will be funded by the tourism and economic development committee.

Deputy town clerk Mark Tredwin reminded councillors of the ‘huge amount of tourism and positive publicity’ the event brings to the town.

But Cllr Lucy Campbell said if the council ‘moved the goalposts’ for guidelines relating to one organisation then others may expect the same.

Grant applications which qualified for Section 137 funding were also approved from the Get Together Club, the Lyme Regis branch of the First Dorset Credit Union, Lyme Regis Community Trips and Life Education Wessex.

However, the grant request by the Lyme Regis Community Trips for £1,294 triggered controversy, with Cllr Owen Lovell saying he did not want the town council to ‘become a cash cow for one organisation’.

He added that the council should make it clear organisations should generate their own income, rather than just rely on council grants.

Councillors voted to award Lyme Regis Community Trips the full amount requested.

A proposal by Cllr Stan Williams to award the organisation just £750, and a proposal by Cllr Owen Lovell to award £1,094 were both lost.

Cllr Chris Clipson said awarding the organisation less money would not give them enough time to raise funds for the trips, which usually take place in the summer holidays.

Councillors were also concerned that the application from Uplyme and Lyme Regis Cricket Club for £1,906 for grounds equipment showed no evidence of alternative grants or fundraising efforts.

As a result, the club was granted £959.50, just over half of what was requested.

The Woodmead Halls management committee’s grant request of £1,500 towards a defibrillator for the community was approved.

All remaining organisations were then awarded any leftover money on an equal percentage basis.

Here is the full list of the groups Lyme Regis Town Council handed grants to, with the amounts requested by the applicants in brackets...

  • Ring and Ride: £2,000 (£2,000)
  • Bridport and District Citizens Advice Bureau: £3,000 (£3,000)
  • St Michael's Primary PFA: £1,510 (£3,000)
  • Victim Support: £300 (£300)
  • Lyme Regis Museum: £503.50 (£1,000)
  • Lyme Regis Operatic Society: £607 (£1,205)
  • Lyme Regis Estates Residents Association: £300 (£300)
  • Woodmead Halls Management Committee: £1,500 (£1,500)
  • B Sharp: £1,510 (£3,000)
  • Uplyme and Lyme Regis Cricket Club: £959.50 (£1,906)
  • The Hub Toddlers: £300 (£300)
  • Pantomime Society: £503.50 (£1,000)
  • Lyme Regis Fossil Festival: £503.50 (£1,000)
  • Town Mill Trust: £1,510 (£3,000)
  • The Hub: £534 (£1,061)
  • LymeForward: £1,510 (£3,000)
  • Lyme Regis Majorettes: £1,510 (£3,000)
  • First Dorset Credit Union: £160 (£320)
  • Get Together Club: £574 (£1,164)
  • Life Education Wessex: £150 (£150)
  • Lyme Regis Community Trips: £1,294 (£1,294)

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