JASON Middleton is a man with a mission - to help Rastrick spend £1 million.
Enthusiastic and sports mad, Jason is chairman of Rastrick Big Local and he is keen to put his abundant energy to use in making Rastrick a better place.
He is cricket manager at Rastrick Cricket Club - and admits he spends more time in Rastrick than in Scapegoat Hill where he lives.
Earlier this year Rastrick heard the news that it is to receive £1 million of Big Local lottery funding to spend on projects to benefit the community over the next decade.
“This is an unprecendented opportunity for Rastrick - but with it comes a huge responsibility to make sure we spend the money sensibly and do our very best for the area,” said Jason.
“I have a massive interest in Rastrick - even though I live on the outskirts of Huddersfield! But I don’t have allegiances to any particular area - I just want to make sure that, having been granted this money, Rastrick’s residents benefit in the best way they can.”
For Jason that means cutting through the red tape and making sure that everyone has their say.
The Community Foundation for Calderdale has added its support to the lottery-backed funding by making £10,000 available for ‘quick wins’ community projects.
More than 5,500 leaflets about the Community Projects Fund have been distributed to homes in the Rastrick area and information has been also made available through a stall at Brighouse Gala and Brighouse library. The launch of the fund will take place on Thursday, December 6 at Rastrick High School Academy at 7pm.
“We want any groups or organisations who think they could benefit from small grants to come along. There are very few criteria and the application process has been deliberately kept as simple as possible.
“Basically any school, youth group, club or sports organisation in Rastrick can apply and all they need to do is tell us how they will spend the money.
“Even organisations such as the police will be able to apply for one-off grants that will be used to benefit the community.
“The application forms will be kept as simple as possible and if anyone is having trouble all they have to do is phone me for advice.”
Jason, who has two young children, works as a trainee assessor. As well as running his own business, he is a ski instructor and cricket coach.
“I’ve been passionate about cricket all my life and it’s sad to see that so many clubs in the district are struggling. At Rastrick we had to find ways of ensuring the future of the club.”
It was his experience of helping Rastrick Cricket Club become a community hub - with events being organised to support the sporting activities - that gave him an insight into how the Community Projects Fund could bring benefits to Rastrick.
“I think Rastrick does feel a bit cut off from the rest of Calderdale sometimes. We want as many people as possible to get involved and help change Rastrick for the future.”
Jason is already busy planning ahead and next summer Big Local plans to hold an It’s a Knockout Fun Day with the support of NHS Calderdale at Rastrick Cricket Club.
“It’s not going to be about which team is the fittest or strongest. There will be challenges that all age groups will be able to compete in and enjoy. We want the event to be be a real showcase for Rastrick.”
l Rastrick Big Local is keen to hear from any local trades or professional people who are willing to use their skills to bring projects to fruition.
l The launch event on December 6 will include a free supper. To assist with catering please contact Adrian Hartshorn on 01484 386023 if you are planning to attend. For more information log onto rastrickbiglocal.co.uk