Community projects compete to win funding

Assembly. Pic: Sophianne Morrissey

Locals take stock of the presentations. Pic: Sophianne Morrissey

A project supporting autistic children, a scheme to help people with their IT skills, an activity helping children connect with nature and a free film festival won locals’ approval to get £2000 council funding at a meeting in New Cross on Thursday.

Attendees selected the winners from eight different projects all competing for £2000 from Lewisham Council’s New Cross Assembly fund to help them set up their businesses.

Sarah Lang, who chaired the meeting, said: “The eight projects presented tonight are all local. They’re very important but unfortunately we can’t fund them all. That’s why we let the community vote.”

Signal Family Support was the first winner. The organisation focuses on the importance of routine in the life of an autistic child. Their project, “Drop in by Day,” helps to establish that routine and support families experiencing autism.

Another winner, IT & Employability Skills Training  helps people with their IT skills and in their job research. Councillor Joe Dromey said: “We heard back from a woman who benefited from this teaching in one of the recent meetings. That was the most rewarding.”

Discover Deptford  aims to help children from the borough connect with nature in London. “You don’t need to go outside the city to experience nature,” Bettina Kabutz, the project’s representative, said.

The final winner, Deptford and New Cross Free Film Festival focuses more culture and aims to give people the chance to “watch a good movie in an unexpected place.”

Lewisham council’s budget has been cut by 40 per cent over the past 10 years. “These are very challenging times for the council financially,” Dromey said.

He added: “The projects undoubtedly address the main issues in the borough. That’s why we want to fund them.

“They show what the local community wants us to focus on and it is important that we participate,  that we meet people and that we don’t stay faceless names.”

Councillor Brenda Dacres said: “It is important to keep in touch with the community and to keep funding projects like the ones presented tonight.”

Both councillors wish to continue funding local projects: “We’ve lost about £80m over the past five to 10 years but we wish to keep them alive,” Dacres said.

The four winning projects will develop in Lewisham throughout 2016, welcoming and supporting more and more people in the borough who want to get involved.

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