£1million windfall

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RASTRICK is celebrating a £1 million Lottery windfall.

The area is one of six in Yorkshire to benefit from a cash handout from the Big Lottery Fund.

Over the next 10 years, as part of the pioneering Big Local scheme, a trust will work with members of the local community in Rastrick to decide how the money should be spent.

Rastrick has been picked for the grant - part of a £200 million pot - because it is felt to have been overlooked in the past and is known to be in need of extra help for community projects.

The money can be spent on creating new community facilities, starting training and employment schemes, tackling anti-social behaviour or providing activities for kids.

Nat Sloane, Big Lottery Fund’s England Chairman, said: “While this money is going to help this community make some very important changes, crucially, it’s going to build people’s trust, knowledge and skills in these areas. It will ensure that they are well equipped to respond to the different challenges that they face and improve their local area for generations to come.”

Head teacher at Rastrick High School, Helen Lennie, said: “This is really exciting news for all those who live and work in Rastrick”.

Mrs Lennie added: “We hope that some of the funding can be used to build sustainable links between residents, employers, schools and other organisations in the area, also to fund initiatives that will have a permanent impact on the social and employment prospects of these groups.”

Coun Christine Beal (Con, Rastrick) also welcomed the funding. “The community itself knows what needs doing. Maybe the youth and elderly of the community perhaps could do with more facilities. But the community needs to get together to decide. The potential you can do with that kind of money, it is a very exciting opportunity.”

Members of Field Lane All Residents’ Association would like to use some of the money to provide activities for young people between eight and 18.

Chair of the group, Andrea Bloom, said they had been in consultation with students from Rastrick High who suggested ideas for facilities around 12 months ago. Some of the ideas include a graffiti wall, a cycling ring, climbing wall, a seating area with music for young people, a shelter to sit in and a pitch to play various sports.

The site is near to the Highfield shops and will improve the area dramatically. “It would help with anti-social behaviour and the police have given their backing to the idea,” said Andrea.

“Another suggestion would be the Oaklands area which, according to the FLARA group, needs some attention or possibly an internet cafe.

Over the next few weeks residents will asked to come up with ideas and formulate a plan for spending the money in consultation with representatives from Local Trust, partners to Big Local, who will offer guidance.