Cash on offer for ideas

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HALF-a-million pounds is being offered to residents living in and around Halstead to put towards community projects which help solve a problem or community issue.

But Braintree District council has set a deadline of the end of this month for people to submit their ideas on how a cash grant of between £1,500 and £25,000 would make a good investment in their community.

Councillor Joanne Beavis, cabinet member for communities, said: “This is a call to anyone in the district who has ever thought they could come up with a better way of helping the people they know.

“If you can see a problem or issue in your community or a local service that’s not getting the best result for local people and you care enough to do something about it, then I encourage you to find out more about the community scheme. We want your ideas.

“You don’t have to be part of a formal group like a church or voluntary group, although that is useful. You can be an individual or a group of friends or neighbours who want to make a difference.”

The Mi Community Scheme will provides money to individuals, groups or organisations with ideas to improve local communities over the next four years but the deadline for entries is fast approaching.

The council wants ideas to be enterprising, creating a better or new solution to an issue or problem identified by the community, and to involve people from the community and even businesses.

It is also looking for ideas that are financially or socially beneficial and sustainable – so the idea can continue once the initial investment grant has been spent.

Councillor Gabrielle Spray, who launched the project with Mrs Beavis, said: “If you have a good idea , but don’t know what to do next, this scheme could help you.

“Not only do we provide investment to get projects started but we also provide access to practical advice and support to help shape ideas into workable projects in the early stages.

“The first port of call for anyone with a good community idea is the Mi community website or your local councillor.

“There are some very simple criteria for the scheme based around how your idea can benefit local people, and your local councillor will be there to support and encourage your initiative to help get it off the ground.”

Ideas must be described in outline to a community scheme panel by November 30 using the application form, which can be downloaded from www.micommunity.org.uk.

The panel will meet in December to select the ideas which will go forward to the next stage, with final decisions made in March 2012 for funding in the first year of the scheme.