What a moment for East Cambridgeshire as three community projects - including a new arts centre for Soham - win £1.4m funding from the county council

PUBLISHED: 17:54 09 August 2020 | UPDATED: 17:54 09 August 2020

Spencer Mill, Soham, set to become a modern arts theatre. Additional funding has been received from the county council to make the dream happen. Picture; ARCHANT/FILE

Spencer Mill, Soham, set to become a modern arts theatre. Additional funding has been received from the county council to make the dream happen. Picture; ARCHANT/FILE

Archant

East Cambridgeshire is getting a massive boost from the county council that will see £1.4m awarded to projects in Littleport, Soham and Stretham.

Vivas dreams are to become a reality thanks to a county council for their Spencer Mill Project, which will bring Sohams only remaining mill back to life. This is what the derelict mill once looked like. Picture: RACHAEL POLSOM.Vivas dreams are to become a reality thanks to a county council for their Spencer Mill Project, which will bring Sohams only remaining mill back to life. This is what the derelict mill once looked like. Picture: RACHAEL POLSOM.

Stretham Village Centre will receive £500,000, £498,000 will be for the refurbishment of Spencer Mill in Soham and Littleport will get £406,000 for a youth and community centre.

A total of 16 initiatives across the county will receive funding in the latest round of applications agreed by the council’s community and partnership committee.

The money is coming from Cambridgeshire Communities Capital Fund that was launched in April and sets aside up to £5m to support community projects.

Its objective is to support community-led projects to improve health, wellbeing, social and economic opportunities.

Spencer Mill, Soham, set to become a modern arts theatre. Additional funding has been received from the county council to make the dream happen. Picture; ARCHANT/FILESpencer Mill, Soham, set to become a modern arts theatre. Additional funding has been received from the county council to make the dream happen. Picture; ARCHANT/FILE

The existing parish rooms in Stretham are said to be outdated, in poor repair and unable to meet the needs of the community.

The building was last refurbished in the 1960s and cannot be extended further.

“Following consultation with the local community, a demand was identified for a community space where increased community events and activities could take place,” said a council spokesman.

“A new community hub in the village will increase opportunities for all residents, but particularly for the more vulnerable.

Residents of Soham welcomed a grant of nearly £500,000 from the county council towards the cost of converting a derelict mill into an arts and community centre. The Viva Arts and Community Group had already raised £1.9m in match funding from over 40 different funders and required a further £498,317 to complete the project Residents of Soham welcomed a grant of nearly £500,000 from the county council towards the cost of converting a derelict mill into an arts and community centre. The Viva Arts and Community Group had already raised £1.9m in match funding from over 40 different funders and required a further £498,317 to complete the project

“Match funding of £1m will be provided from the parish council.”

The project in Soham is to redevelop the derelict Spencer Mill site into an arts and community hub.

The building has been derelict for over 30 years and is often a magnet for anti-social behaviour, vandalism and drug related issues.

“The project will seek to restore and extend this building into a vibrant community asset which will host a range of arts and culture activities and provide a community space,” said the spokesman.

Residents of Soham welcomed a grant of nearly £500,000 from the county council towards the cost of converting a derelict mill into an arts and community centre. The Viva Arts and Community Group had already raised £1.9m in match funding from over 40 different funders and required a further £498,317 to complete the projectResidents of Soham welcomed a grant of nearly £500,000 from the county council towards the cost of converting a derelict mill into an arts and community centre. The Viva Arts and Community Group had already raised £1.9m in match funding from over 40 different funders and required a further £498,317 to complete the project

The project has already raised £1.9m in match funding from over 40 different funders and requires a further £498,317 to complete the project.

The council felt that the project has demonstrated local need and would make a significant impact to the Soham community, bringing a historic building back into community use.

The council had previously approved loans of £450,000 to Viva however just £300,000 of this amount has been taken up.

The funds have been used towards the cost of the purchase of the building and the redevelopment works. The grant is for work that is in addition to the works which the council has loaned money for and will include fit out costs for the building. The centre is estimated to be completed in March 2021.

Residents of Soham welcomed a grant of nearly £500,000 from the county council towards the cost of converting a derelict mill into an arts and community centre. The Viva Arts and Community Group had already raised £1.9m in match funding from over 40 different funders and required a further £498,317 to complete the project Residents of Soham welcomed a grant of nearly £500,000 from the county council towards the cost of converting a derelict mill into an arts and community centre. The Viva Arts and Community Group had already raised £1.9m in match funding from over 40 different funders and required a further £498,317 to complete the project

In Littleport there is no place to locate the youth club and organisers are keen to expand and develop it further for the 150 children it supports.

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The spokesman said: “Within the village, there have been a number of problems with youth related anti-social behaviour and drug-related issues.

“The development of a new community hub within the village will provide a base from which youth services can be delivered.”

The parish council will be employing outreach workers to engage with young people, and will provide match funding of £58,500

Since the council launched its fund, 63 applications have been received, of which 29 have been approved.

Just over £4m will have been allocated in total – nearly £3m of that by this week’s committee.

One of the other large grants, for £500,000, was to Fenstanton Community Hub.

The other projects granted funding by the committee are:

£198,000 to extend the Community Hall in Gorefield

Up to £10,000 for new audio/visual equipment at Hilton Village Hall

£20,000 for new playground equipment for Eversden Parish Council

Up to £150,000 for Market Place enhancements in Wisbech

£88,855 for Hauxton Village Hall

£50,000 for the Brampton’s Men’s Shed

£12,000 to refurbish the Youth Centre for Stapleford and Shelford Youth Initiative

£15,000 for outdoor equipment for Christchurch Community Centre

£81,000 for a stable block conversion at St Mary’s Church, Bartlow

£65,000 for the Melbourn Village Hub

£275,000 for the extension of the pavilion in Girton

Up to £75,000 for improvements to West End Park, March.


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