Christmas has come early for a number of community organisations and projects in Swindon after the Government approved more than £3m in new funding.
The council will receive and distribute £3,279,686 from the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which aims to build pride in places and increase life opportunities for residents.
A number of community groups and charities will receive a share of the funding, including: Julia’s House, The Big Dog Art Trail, the Harbour Project, Alzheimer’s Society and Wrong Shoes Theatre Company
Organisations working with and for the council will also receive funding, including Beechcroft Library in Upper Stratton, where accessibility will be improved for those wishing to use the resources. Money will also be allocated to improve apprenticeship offerings within the council.
In order to receive the funding, the council submitted an investment plan to the Government, setting out how the money would be used to help tackle Swindon’s levelling up challenges and to support youth work in the Borough.
Of the total funding allocation, £1.2m will be spent on an adult numeracy programme called Multiply, which aims to help improve numeracy skills in adults who don’t have a maths GCSE at grade C or equivalent.
Cllr Gary Sumner, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Strategic Infrastructure, Transport and Planning, said: “With the economic challenges facing the council at the moment, it’s great that we have some good news to share right before Christmas.
“So many organisations and projects will benefit from this funding and it will help to make Swindon a better place to live, work and socialise.
“One of the projects I’m most looking forward to is The Big Dog Art Trail which will take place next Summer. This funding will support the art trail and allow Julia’s House to provide Swinpups to a number of schools and really get the community engaged.
“But that’s not to take away from the great work done by so many other community organisations in the town and we’re very pleased to be able to give them this wonderful gift during this festive season.”
More than 30 larger than life balloon dog sculptures, the Swindogs, are set to be unleashed during summer 2023, creating a free art trail across Swindon.
Schools and young people have the unique opportunity to take part in the Big Dog Art Trail Learning Programme and adopt and decorate their own mini Swinpup sculpture, which will feature on the trail.
Brought to Swindon by Julia’s House children’s hospice and the global public art producer, Wild in Art, the art spectacle will raise vital funds to support local seriously ill children and deliver benefits to teachers, young people and the Swindon community.
Mike Bartlett, Deputy CEO of Julia’s House, said, “We’re sure that the Big Dog Art Trail will bring great joy and colour to Swindon next summer.
"This project is a great collaboration between the council, local businesses, schools, community groups and artists.
"This funding will play a big part in the event’s success, allowing more people and organisations to get involved.
"As a result, this will also mean more money raised to support the most seriously ill children in the area, cared for by Julia’s House.”
Applications for the Learning Programme will open in January. Schools can register their interest at www.bigdogarttrail.co.uk/schools or email email@example.com
Money given to the Alzheimer’s Society will help the charity reach those who may be affected in minority groups to make sure they have the support they need.
Kelly Inwood, Area Manager at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “There are 2,700 people living with dementia in the Swindon and too many people are facing it alone without a diagnosis and adequate support.
“We want everyone affected by dementia to know that whoever you are, whatever you are going through, you can turn to Alzheimer’s Society for support, help and advice.
“The generous funding from Swindon Borough Council and Shared Prosperity Fund will help us reach and support more people affected by dementia from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities in the area.
“The funding will support us to improve the understanding of dementia and make services more accessible through a programme of community development so that people affected by dementia can live more fulfilling lives.”
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund provides £2.6bn of new funding nationwide which has to be spent by March 2025. Areas received funding allocations via a funding formula rather than a competition.
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