Monday, 18 December 2017

Community groups awarded £3,000 in town council grants

MORE than £3,000 has been handed to charities and community groups in Henley.

MORE than £3,000 has been handed to charities and community groups in Henley.

The town council’s finance, strategy and management committee has approved nine applications for grants.

Olympic silver medallist Miriam Luke was granted £500 towards prizes for this year’s Henley Women’s Regatta, which she chairs.

The prizes will be given out by Katherine Grainger, who won gold in the double sculls at the London Olympics.

Mrs Luke said the event had financial benefits for the town as crews stayed at hotels and used the restaurants.

She said: “We have 1,400 competitors that come from all over the UK, US, Australia and Canada to compete.”

The regatta costs £65,000 to run and Mrs Luke said it had made a loss over the last two years. “We have put up our fees and are looking for extra sponsors,” she added.

Councillor Lorraine Hillier supported the application, saying the grant was a very small amount for a town event.

Deputy Mayor Stefan Gawrysiak said: “The regatta is a really big event which involves lots of young people and the grant is modest.”

This year’s regatta will take place from June 21 to 23.

Henley Sea Cadets were granted £500 to pay for either two cadets to go on a week-long off-shore course or to support “many” cadets on on-shore courses.

Committee chairman Ian Reissmann said he had a “slight difficulty” with the fact the money might benefit only two members but Councillor Jeni Wood said the cadets were a “worthy” cause.

The Henley and Falaise Twinning Association applied for £500 — double its usual annual donation — towards its 40th anniversary celebrations this year. Councillor Reissmann said the grant should be kept to £250 but Cllr Wood and Cllr Gawrysiak supported the application.

Cllr Wood said: “When Henley goes to Falaise it is a cheap year. This year Falaise is bringing 40 people, which will make it more expensive and, because it is 40, they are having a posh reception.”

Other organisations to receive funding were: Henley Round Table (£500), South Oxfordshire Mencap (£500), the Henley Regatta for the Disabled (£400), Home Start Southern Oxfordshire (£400), Henley in Transition (£190) and Henley Wildlife Group (£100).

The committee also recommended spending £6,808 from its £9,500 contingency budget on a number of other grants to be considered by the full council next month.

The applicants include the Springbox gymnastics club, which recently moved base from Gillotts School to Henley Leisure Centre and wants £5,000 for new equipment. Cllr Gawrysiak said: “They have now got a new home and I am sure the club will grow, therefore I would suggest that we make a substantial contribution.”

Brain injury charity Headway Thames Valley, which is based in Greys Road, has applied for £2,708 towards a new floor covering and a sensory garden.

Councillor Will Hamilton said: “I think it is a fantastic organisation that does a fantastic amount of work.”

But Cllr Reissmann said: “This is a national charity and we need to consider whether or not this is the best way to use our grants.”

Cllr Wood replied: “We have seven residents in Henley that go to that place.”

The organisers of the Henley Summer Fireworks have applied for “any contribution” and the Henley in Transition group could also receive another £100 towards insurance costs.

The council has already agreed to increase next year’s grants budget from £6,000 to £10,000.

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