PLANS to regenerate a Northumberland village’s historic market square have received a funding boost.
Allendale Parish Council has been given almost £7,000 towards a project to refurbish the village market place, in the Big Lottery Fund Awards for All’s latest round of grants.
In all, 39 groups across the region are sharing funding of almost £303,000 this month, including a youth cafe in County Durham.
The Allendale council has received £6,894 towards the project to create a new open space, fit to host a range of events for the community all year round.
At present, the square attracts many locals and visitors to the businesses which are based there and the scheme aims to make it an even more welcoming place to visit.
Local people will be fully involved in the design and planning of the project.
Funding will help the council to run an open consultation, arrange displays in the village library and hold surgery sessions where people can have questions answered about the project’s long-term goals.
Parish council chairman Jan Simmonds said: “This grant from the Big Lottery Fund will enable us to develop a vision with properly-costed plans drawn up for the refurbishment of our market place.
“We’ll enter into proper consultations with local businesses and the wider community to make sure that what we do is as successful as it can be.
“Whilst it may still take several years before the whole project is completed, the task now seems much less daunting.
“Many thanks must go to the Big Lottery Fund for helping us to get started – we are most grateful for the support and encouragement.”
The youth cafe project, in the former mining village of Horden, has received £9,880 to help it reach even more young people.
Horden Colliery Residents’ Association has been running the once-weekly drop-in service from St Mary’s Church in Horden for the past two months, with the support of police and street wardens.
Now over 60 youngsters regularly take part in a range of activities, such as pool table tournaments and dance sessions.
Association chairman John Barnett said: “We’re delighted to receive this grant from Awards for All.
“It will enable our ‘Youth Café’, a joint venture with Peterlee Police, Street Wardens and Groundwork, to continue for a further 12 months until March 2012.
“The pilot scheme has been a great success, bringing in over 60 youngsters on each occasion.
“It’s clearly highlighted the need for this type of venture for the youngsters of Horden.”
Elsewhere, Westmoor Primary School in Newcastle has been awarded £4,000 to create a woodland area, maze, pond and sensory garden on its grounds for the benefit of the wider community.
The Percy Hedley Foundation, the largest regional charity for people with cerebral palsy, has been given £10,000 for an interactive exhibition project that will be toured around libraries in the North East to illustrate how attitudes to disability have changed over the years.
Age UK Sunderland has been awarded £10,000 to buy computers, on which it will teach older people IT skills.