(A report by Maddy Eyre, Local Communities Development Officer and BTAC Grant Administrator)
The Local Communities Development Officer and BTAC Grant Administrator presented a report, which provided additional information requested by the Committee at its last meeting regarding a grant application from the Parish of Boston.
The full report submitted by the Parish of Boston was attached to the report at Appendix A and the original report submitted to the Committee on 30th January 2019 was attached for reference at Appendix B. The request was for a grant of up to £20,000 as a contribution to the overall redevelopment programme at St Botolph’s Church, Boston. The Working Group supported this application, however, recommended that the Committee should decide on the amount to award and how it would be resourced.
The additional information provided by the Parish of Boston included specific detail as to what elements of the overall Passion for People project the £20,000 would contribute and a clear demonstration that if funding was given to these particular elements of the project how this would directly impact the residents of the BTAC area.
The individual projects were as follows:
· Work with local schools (£15,000) – a schools festival, specific school tours and ‘Fun at the Stump!’ craft and activity sessions.
· Community Building (£3,000) – the ‘Boston Connected: Community Table’ scheme and Volunteer Training
· Supporting the Arts (£2,000) – Lunchtime Concerts and Community Choir
The Committee was asked to note that the Parish of Boston had already been awarded £50,000 by the Council in respect of the Passion for People project.
During Members’ debate, there were views that the amount applied for was too large and could fund projects for several community groups; that the Council had already contributed significantly; that the schools projects were part of the Church’s normal pastoral work;
There was support in principle for the Community Building and Supporting the Arts projects, which were the type of project the grants scheme funded, but it was considered essential that the Parish of Boston should provide a breakdown of how they directly benefitted the residents of the BTAC area.
[Councillor Stephen Woodliffe arrived at this point.]
Some Members stressed the importance of ‘The Stump’ as the town’s number one tourist attraction and it far more than a religious centre. The success of its activities was important and it would be the people of the town who would benefit;. The Community Table in particular was important to the community and the homeless, and many people had gained in confidence as a result of volunteering, which benefitted the town as a whole.
However, although commending the projects and the work of the volunteers, there was a view that the Church should be undertaking these activities and if funding was to be granted by BTAC then the Committee needed to see evidence of the specific benefit to the BTAC area in terms of the number of people from BTAC wards who were benefitting from the projects.
1. That the Grants Application from the Parish of Boston for £15,000 for work with local schools be refused.
2. That the Grants Application from the Parish of Boston for £3,000 Community Building projects and £2,000 for Supporting the Arts Projects be deferred until the next appropriate meeting to enable the BTAC Grant Administrator to request further information from the Parish of Boston in terms of a breakdown demonstrating the proportion of residents of the BTAC area that will specifically benefit from the projects.