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£1 million awarded to community groups across Norfolk

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Norfolk County Council has handed out over £1 million to 25 different organisations. St Mary Magdalene Church in Gorleston and All Saints North Church, North Runcton have both benefitted from the fund.

St Mary Magdalene Church in Gorleston has been awarded just over £38,000 for work towards a new kitchen, chairs and accessible toilets to expand their community offer.

The Revd Matthew Price, Vicar of St Mary Magdalene, said:

“We were absolutely delighted to hear that we had been awarded a grant. When we re-opened the church after the initial lockdown, we received temporary permission to remove our pews, primarily to enable social distancing. But it also opened up new opportunities for our work in the wider community – we have already launched a new baby and toddler group using the space, our community lunch has expanded into it and it gets used as a games space for our Friday evening youth club. The grant will enable our worship space to be properly developed into a multi-function space, including a new kitchenette to provide hospitality and a cafe area. The grant will also enable the long-overdue refurbishment and updating of our toilets and the creation of a fully accessible toilet. Mindful of the General Synod’s target that all parts of the Church be ‘net zero carbon’ by 2030, we are also taking the opportunity to introduce some insulation into our building. We are so grateful to the Norfolk Social Infrastructure Fund for enabling this work.”

All Saints North Church, North Runcton has also been awarded nearly £8,000 for connecting the church to a mains water supply, the provision of an assessable toilet plus a kitchenette. Churchwarden, Ken Matthews said:

“Fundraising has been hampered by the pandemic so we are very pleased to be granted this excellent award to take us close to the position where work can commence. The project includes connecting the church to a mains water supply, the provision of an accessible toilet plus a kitchenette. They will not only provide an enhanced environment for worship but also open up the opportunity to hold social and educational events such as classes for local schools under the ‘Inspired Classrooms’ initiative. All Saints’ is steeped in history and the plan is to make this known on a wide scale to firmly put North Runcton on a “must visit” list with all the benefits this will bring.”

Andrew Proctor, Leader of Norfolk County Council, said: “Our county’s voluntary and community groups are an essential part of Norfolk’s infrastructure and that has been demonstrated by the excellent work they have done and continue to do in the pandemic. The funding through the Social Infrastructure Fund will support some of Norfolk’s most vulnerable people and communities and enable them to safely come together again to enjoy a range of activities in improved facilities.”

The Norfolk Social Infrastructure Fund was established to award £1million to community groups and voluntary organisations for new initiatives or improvements to existing offers or facilities. This year the grant was widened to make more money available smaller projects, with 25% or £250,000 offered for grants of between £5,000 and £50,000.