Bigger efforts are to be made to spread the word about Uckfield Town Council’s community grants scheme.
Every year, the council allocates money to support small groups promoting community life in Uckfield.
Now, the council wants to ensure groups in nearby villages, which provide services for townspeople, are aware of the system.
It has made the decision to try and make its scheme more widely known having received a request to help Framfield and Blackboys Monday Club.
The application for £109 was agreed, although it fell outside the council’s normal grants process.
Councillors feel more requests are coming in for financial support once budgets have been set, and no money allocated, meaning the cash has to be taken from reserves.
Allocations for the current financial year were made last autumn.
Payments are made to successful organisations in May of each year – in two instalments for those organisations that are granted in excess of £1,000.
In these circumstances, the first payment is made in May and the second instalment in October.
Town clerk, Holly Goring, explained details of the latest application to members of the council’s general purposes committee on Monday (April 16).
She said the club had discovered they needed insurance when they had outings, which would cost £218.
“Framfield Parish Council have asked us to consider whether we and them might help share the cost,” she said.
Forty per cent of the clients were from Uckfield, three of the eleven helpers were from the town and their two minibus drivers are from Uckfield.
“This is a small group who are now struggling to find insurance costs,” she commented.
Cllr Helen Firth, Conservative, Central Ward, said she felt the group should be supported because of the number of Uckfield people using the service.
Cllr Mick Dean, Trust Independent, questioned whether the council was going to stop the old people’s outing for £109.
Cllr Louise Eastwood, Trust Independent, Uckfield North, pointed out that more and more activities for elderly people were dwindling.
Committee chairman, Cllr Diane Ward, Trust Independent, Central, said it would help if ways could be found to get details of the grants scheme out to groups so applications could be considered at the right time and budgeted for.
“I know the ones who come year in year out who know about it but possibly these don’t,” she said.
Cllr Paul Meakin, Liberal Democrat, Central, said over the last three years they had more and more applications for assistance, including for buses.
Line in sand
“Sometimes you have to put a line in the sand and say use the grants process which is a way of managing, so we don’t have favourites,” he said.
“I feel a little nervous in this situation.”
Councillors agreed to make the £109 grant but remind the group that in future, the grants process should be used.
Framfield and Blackboys Monday Club holds twice-monthly meetings at the Memorial Hall, Framfield, 2.30-4.30pm, £12.00 per year fee.
- Tea and biscuits are provided and an activity/speaker/entertainment.
- Coach trips in the summer and visits to local garden with a tea provided.
- No meetings in August.
How Uckfield Town Council’s grants system works
Application packs for grants for the financial year 2019/2020 will be available from June this year.
Closing date for applications will be August 24.
Allocation of grants is scheduled for a meeting on September 12, when those applying are invited to briefly speak, setting out their case, and answer questions from councillors on the sub committee.
That night’s decision is subject to ratification by the council’s general purposes committee at a later date.
Who got what last year:
- Wealden CAB £18,836
- Uckfield Bonfire and Carnival Society £3,950
- Uckfield Festival £3,950
- Field First Responders (towards equipment/training) £2,665
- Uckfield FM (for licences to broadcast and play music) £2,500
- Uckfield Preservation Society (towards insurances for Bridge Cottage) £1,639
- UCTC student counselling (contribution towards running the service) £1,500
- Uckfield Foodbank (towards rent) £1,560
- Brighter Uckfield (towards equipment) £1,165.
- ATC 2530 (Uckfield) Sqn £800
- The 4th Uckfield Beavers £550
- Uckfield and District Age Concern £500
- Uckfield Theatre Guild £500
- Riverside Friendship Group £300
- Sussex Horse Rescue £250
- Uckfield Royal British Legion £210
- Uckfield Twin Club £250
- Tunbridge Wells and District Samaritans £160.