Allocation of Thorner Community Fund Grant 2016
All village groups, clubs and societies were invited to apply for an allocation from the 2016 fund. Sixteen bids were received.
The grant meeting was held on 6th December 2016.
It was attended by the following Thorner Community Fund (TCF) executive committee:
Melvin Benn (Festival Republic)
Mark Darley (Chair)
Annette Carr sent her apologies but had provided significant advance input to the discussion.
We invited the following people to join us as an extended committee:
Rachel Lane-Fox (Bramham Park)
The committee would like to express sincere thanks to Melvin, Rachel and Alister for their involvement and contributions to the assessment process.
As well as the money received from ticket donations for Leeds Festival, Festival Republic also donated a further £7,500 to the 2016 grant fund.
There were more bids than usual this year and the level of funding requested was higher than in any previous year. This presented a real challenge for the grant committee.
The committee uses the following broad criteria to help make decisions on the allocation of grants:
- viability of the group
- how active/successful the group is in their own fundraising efforts
- actual worth or visible/tangible benefit of the award to the village
- past support from the Thorner Community Fund
- other income streams explored
As in previous years, those involved in the grant allocation process spent many hours, both individually and collectively, assessing the bids against the above aspects. Additionally this year we scored each bid. At the grant meeting itself, we again had Melvin, Rachel and Alister to ensure a fresh perspective and independent oversight, ahead of the final decisions. All in all, we are confident that the annual grant process is rigorous, fair and ensures the appropriate use of the Community Fund money, based on the stipulated criteria.
As a general observation, we were disappointed with the level of fund raising activity in many of the groups this year. We will be looking at the issue for the future, including continued scrutiny of each group’s self-help and fund raising efforts.
The following is a resume of the rationale applied, the decisions made and the amounts allocated. As well as informing the village groups of the outcome of the annual grant allocation, we hope that this may be of interest to unsuccessful applicants for future bids.
Bid request £300
Grant awarded: £ Nil
Purpose – Tutors’ Fees.
The Art Group can accommodate 25 members and maintains a waiting list. The Group’s bid was to fund three visiting tutors for three separate sessions over the course of the year, to enable members to improve and develop their personal skills. The group has had a reasonable level of funding from the TCF over the years. The group is financially stable and with a small increase in subscription fees each term, it was felt the Group could then quite easily self-fund the additional tutors. We did not fund a similar bid from them last year and decided not to support again this year.
Bid request £190
Grant awarded: £190
Purpose – Event Shelter.
1st Thorner Brownies is an established, active group of 24 girls aged 7-10. It is currently fully subscribed and has been for a number of years, hence has had to maintain a waiting list. The group has four volunteer Owls. The Brownies’ bid was for an event tent. It would be used for both shelter from the rain and the sun and could be put to use on many occasions and in a variety of places, including for fundraising and at external events. They plan to do more ventures with the Rainbows and Guide groups where it could also be utilised, as well as it acting as a kitchen base on camping trips which they hope to start to undertake. Also, it would be used at the Village Gala – all groups utilise their tents at this event, so it is not possible to borrow one for that day. The Brownies have been active in their fundraising. The amount they have raised over the last year as well as their plans in this area for the coming year impressed the TCF grant committee.
The bid was approved in full.
Bid request £2,375
Grant awarded: £292
Purpose – Concrete practice base, £1800; guard for the practice net, £292; fencing, £283.
Thorner Mexborough Cricket Club is long-established in the village. It currently has 34 senior members who play in two teams in the Wetherby League and 12 regular junior members who have completed their first season in a junior league. In recent years, like many village cricket teams, the club has struggled to attract and keep players. However, the re-emergence of a junior section two seasons ago was a positive step to help with the sustainability of the village club. The portable practice net which was purchased with financial support from the TCF two years ago has been helpful to the club both for seniors and juniors. Their bid this year was to add a skirt-guard to the base of this net, both to prevent the balls leaving the practice area and to keep out rabbits. They also applied for funding for a concrete base for the practice area, to enable sessions to take place even when the ground is wet. The third element of the bid was for fencing repair and replacement on a stretch damaged in last year’s winds.
Whilst the TCF was pleased to see the junior section still active it was concerned over the financial viability of the club and its sustainability. There has been limited fundraising over the course of the year and it was felt with practical support from club members the club should be more self-sufficient. With these concerns in mind, the TCF was willing to provide funding for the skirt-guard to enhance the practice area but as the club had received significant funds from TCF over the years it was decided not to support the rest of the bid on this occasion.
Friends of Thorner School PTA
Bid request £10,000
Grant awarded: £7,500
Purpose – All weather warm up/fitness/dance area.
The TCF provided funding towards the new all-weather track last year. This has enabled fitness, character and health benefits to the children. The school is now seen as a flagship school within Leeds, beyond and nationally, regarding its “Daily Mile” initiative. The school has offered the facility to any interested village groups out of school hours and has had some expressions of interest.
In addition to further benefiting those at the school, further stages of this programme of work should also be of interest to the wider community groups. This year’s bid, as the second stage of the programme, is for funding to construct an all-weather warm up/fitness/dance area.
TCF signaled last year to continuing support towards this multi-year investment programme.
Whilst three quotations have been submitted, the TCF felt there was scope for negotiation with the suppliers on the price. It was also noted that FoTPTA’s fundraising this year was considerably lower than in recent years. With both these factors taken into consideration, 75% of the requested funding was approved.
Bid request £560
Grant awarded: £416
Purpose – Tent, £416; portable boiler, £69; table-top refrigerator, £75.
The Gala Team is a small committee which organises the self-funded annual Thorner Gala. It celebrated its tenth anniversary this year and is estimated that 400-500 people (mainly Thorner residents) attend. This is a focal village day, on which all the village groups are brought together. The team currently utilises the village marquee and an event tent lent by a resident. These are used as the central point of the gala, including the charity bar. The marquee is coming to the end of its life so a replacement is required for the Gala Team’s purposes. The event tent would also be used the day after the gala, at the Community Sport’s Day. The team wishes to start raising some funds of its own to help funding for the following year’s gala: without fundraising and some additional resources the gala may become a bi-annual event. The portable boiler and fridge would be utilised to provide hot drinks for sale.
The TCF was pleased to support the bid, particularly as the group had only once before applied for funding (when it was successful in being granted £600 in 2008). It was not felt justifiable to fund the purchase of the boiler or the fridge: given they would only be used for two days per year it was felt that the Gala Team should either borrow or hire these two items. The bid for the event tent was approved in full, as the Gala Team had said it would be made available to other village groups throughout the rest of the year.
Bid request £500
Grant awarded: £Nil
Purpose – Van hire.
1st Thorner Guides currently has 20 members. Their bid was for van hire to transport and store equipment and supplies for the Poacher International Scout and Guide Jamboree taking place at the Lincolnshire Showground 28 July – 7 August 2017. This international event takes place every four years and brings together guides and scouts from around the world. Whilst the TCF committee acknowledged that this would be an exciting and rewarding experience for the Guides, it was felt inappropriate to award TCF funding on two fronts – firstly it was felt that this should be funded by fundraising activities by the Guides themselves, knowing that this event comes along every four years and secondly we were not convinced that van-hire was essential. Therefore on this occasion the bid was not supported.
Over 60s Association
Bid request £4,000
Grant awarded: £4,000
(but any monies not utilised on this project to be returned to the TCF)
Purpose – Re-roofing part of the building.
Thorner Over 60s Association was set up over 50 years ago, to “organise the social and welfare work for the Over 60s in the Parish of Thorner……. to provide for the social welfare recreation and leisure-time occupation …..and to address isolation, loneliness and health issues for the more elderly residents in the village.”
There have been issues with parts of the roof of the premises on and off for some years and now the Association has applied for funding to re-roof where required. Whilst the group has had a reasonable level of TCF funding over the years, it has not received any since 2011.
TCF supported the need to maintain this building in good condition and was pleased to support the bid in full (not all the quotations amounted to £4000; if the final cost is a lesser sum, the TCF should be re-funded the difference).
Bid request £15,000
Grant awarded: £7,500
Purpose – New windows
The Parish Centre is a well-used building – both regularly by many local groups as well as being utilised by visitors from further afield, for receptions, exhibitions and training sessions. In addition to the hire fees the annual fundraising is boosted by the 100 Club. This year’s bid is to complete the window replacement project. This has taken longer, and is costing significantly more, than planned due to finding the poor state of the masonry once the project began. The TCF was asked to provide a third of the funding at the outset of the original work in 2014. It appears from the figures provided in this year’s bid that the final third portion of funding did not fully come to fruition, so this factor as well as the increased costs has resulted in a bid to TCF of £15,000, which is a major portion of the additional costs. We appreciate that projects over-run and often end up costing more than originally planned, so we are happy to support the completion of the window-replacement project. However, we will stick by the initial agreement of providing part-funding. We will allocate 50% of the requested amount on this occasion.
Parish Council Playground Working Group
Bid request £15,000
Grant awarded: £ Nil
Purpose – Teenage and adult fitness equipment.
The Playground Working Group is a new sub-group of the Parish Council. The Parish Council reviewed the current village playground facilities in the spring of 2016. The Parish Council has funds to refurbish the existing facilities but insufficient funds to provide new equipment for older children. One strand of future provision was identified as fitness equipment, near to the current playground, suitable for teenagers and adults. The long-term benefit is to support Thorner residents of all ages in improving and maintaining their fitness. Some consultation took place with residents at the 2016 village gala: a range of equipment was displayed and preferences were then identified by 200 people on feedback forms. Outline quotations have been received from a number of companies and further consultation with villagers is planned.
The bid did state that the group wished to maintain contact with the school over its programme of work on health and fitness provision: TCF recognised that this was important to avoid duplication of effort and provision (given that the school wishes to make its new facilities available to community groups).
The TCF felt it was too early to consider allocating money to this project as there was still much consultation to be had with villagers and especially in relation to residents living adjacent to the proposed siting. Until TCF was confident that the project had a mandate to proceed, by way of evidence of strong community support, it was unwilling to consider the provision of funding, at this early stage. It was also felt that this project may be best left under the full umbrella of Parish Council funding, given it is Parish Council owned land where the equipment will be housed.
On this occasion the bid was not supported.
Quarry Feasibility Group
Bid request £990 or £1860
Grant awarded: £Nil
Purpose – One or two interpretation panels.
The group’s bid was for the funding of one or two interpretation panels. These will be erected at the entrance to the site of the old quarry on Church Hill. The panels will provide the historical background of the site – there will be text, photographs and old maps. The remains of the old houses will be explained as well as the geological origins of the rock face. Some fundraising has been achieved by the group itself to date.
TCF rejected a bid for surveying work from the group last year on the grounds of no evidence of a strong mandate of support from villagers. We agreed then that the project was too controversial for TCF to consider funding. We also understand that the landowner has recently said that no form of public access will be allowed.
The bid was therefore not supported.
Bid request £500
Grant awarded: £500
Purpose – Christmas Lights.
TCF acknowledged the good work carried out by the volunteers in the Residents’ Association in ensuring the “top” of the village has a Christmas image, as well as the planting it does in the warmer parts of the year. The bid is for additional and replacement lights for the tree on the green and around Shaun the Sheep at the top of Church Hill. The lights required come to a total over £700 but the group plans to use some of its small bank balance to contribute to the purchase.
The group has had only modest sums of funding over the years and has not put in a bid since 2013.
The TCF was pleased to support the bid in full.
Scouts, Cubs, Beavers
Bid request £867
Grant awarded: £227
Purpose – Gas equipment, £227 and tents, £640.
The Scouts, Beavers and Cubs continue to be an established, successful and growing group: with 68 members currently. The bid was for four replacement tents and gas equipment for cooking. In view of the high level of funding given by TCF to the scouts over many years, it was decided to only part-fund this bid. Many tents for the group have been funded in the past. The bid indicated that from last year’s allocation from TCF for a mess tent, £100 remained unspent. It was decided that the group could retain this under-spend towards its proposed purchase of new tents.
It was agreed to fully support the purchase of gas equipment for cooking.
St. Peter’s Church
Bid request £6551
Grant awarded: £Nil
Purpose – Church tower repairs.
Following inspection in May 2016 the Church had been advised that leakage in the church in recent years was as a result of damage to the lead lined timber gutters resulting in rotting timber and loose leading. This requires attention to prevent further and more significant damage. Three quotations had been received and the Church’s chosen bid was the least expensive at £14,626. With other funds already identified, including impressive fundraising specifically for this project of £5,638, the amount TCF were being asked to consider funding was £6551, which included some contingency. Whilst TCF was sympathetic towards the needs of the Church, given the high level of demand on the funding pot this year, we felt we had to uphold an agreement we made with the Church in 2014. This was when they had asked for a sum of money to be phased over three years. As we were unwilling to phase money we agreed with the Church to fund the full amount of the bid in one lump sum in 2014 on the proviso that for three years they could not then request further TCF funding i.e. not until 2017. To be fair to other groups we feel TCF needs to maintain this agreement given the high level of demand on the TCF this year. Should the work still be needed when the next TCF funding round arrives, we will happily re-consider this bid.
No funding has been granted this year.
The Victory Hall
Bid request £7,500
Grant awarded: £7,500
Purpose – New heating system
A new heating system is planned to be installed next year. Three quotations have been received by the Victory Hall, ranging from £13,055 plus VAT to £23,500 plus VAT. The bid is for what is expected to be around £50% of the funding of this project. We recognise that the Victory Hall has consistently has large amounts of funding from TCF year on year. We continue to be supportive as we recognise this excellent village facility; which is well used and open to all villagers. We are aware that there are still improvements to be made, including to the kitchen and bar areas. For this group, and indeed for others, as part of next year’s funding round we will be considering asking to see groups’ five year plans, particularly where infrastructure works are known. This will help assess where TCF funding is most likely to be needed over the next few years.
On this occasion we confirm support for the full bid.
Village Show Society
Bid request £250
Grant awarded: £ Nil
Purpose – Cup engraving
The group does good work in ensuring the annual show takes place. They have requested little funding over the years, other than in 2007 when they were granted £250. This was used to engrave the trophies. The TCF’s expectation was that the engraving would then be kept up with by the group or by the cup winners every year. However, it became evident last year when we received a bid for cup engraving that this had not been the case. We rejected the bid saying they should consider increasing the entry fees slightly to cover the modest costs. An almost identical bid was submitted this year. The group has said they are unwilling to increase entries for fear of deterring entries, especially from children. The group may therefore need to utilise some of its banked funds.
The bid was not supported.
Youth Club (junior)
Bid request £350
Grant awarded: £350
Purpose – External activities
The club offers a safe and friendly environment for 8-13 year olds. The volunteers are to be admired for the excellent work they do for the junior youth club, especially in increasingly difficult times in relation to any funding from the local authority. The group has had a fair level of funding over the many years of the TCF and from 2012 onwards it had been typically modest sums of £200 – £300 per year. This year the bid is to help fund external trips on the nights that the Parish Centre is unavailable. It was noted at the TCF grant meeting that there are some children attending the junior youth club that are now from a wider demographic of families than maybe was the case going back some years – with this in mind we urge the group not to hold back from approaching parents, asking for those who feel they can afford it, to discreetly give additional voluntary contributions towards certain activities, including external trips.
The bid was supported in full.
Thorner Community Fund Committee.