Three well-known Fylde institutions have received a total of £58,500 through Fylde Council’s Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) Exceptions 2022 Scheme to help fund vital restoration and development, the Council are pleased to announce.
The Lowther Gardens Trust, the Ansdell Institute, and the St Annes Enterprise Partnership each successfully applied for funding through the Government-backed programme to help those businesses and organisations adversely affected by COVID-19 but which were not eligible for assistance through other support schemes. The monies received are to be invested in better facilities and infrastructure and will in turn help them provide greater value to the community.
Cllr Karen Buckley, Leader of Fylde Council, said: “It has been our great pleasure and privilege to be able to support our local businesses and organisations through the trying times of the past two years. Many of our local establishments would not have been able to survive without assistance, and we have worked hard to ensure crucial financial support was delivered where it was most needed. As we move towards a brighter future, these investments will help strengthen our economy and secure our heritage, and we are excited to watch our Borough thrive once again.”
The Lowther Pavilion, through the Lowther Gardens Trust, received a grant of £11,000 to assist in its reawakening after the pandemic. With a history dating back to 1921, the Pavilion is a well-loved entertainment and cultural hub on the Fylde coast, and the funding is to be spent on further enhancing its multifunctional space for community activities, including the successful Lowther Youth Theatre, and providing two outdoor screens to improve the visitor experience by offering interactive information for park and theatre events.
Tim Lince, CEO of the Lowther Pavilion, said “It’s a real boost that we are able to move ahead with these projects now as we encourage more of the community to get involved in the theatre and park. Lowther has successfully negotiated the perils of the pandemic with outdoor theatre, Cinema, Silver Screening to care homes and the vulnerable but it is wonderful to be back inside with our eclectic mix of culture and community use.”
The St Annes Enterprise Partnership (STEP), a local organisation of traders and businesses united with the aim of improving all aspects of the town through pooling resources and empowering members, were awarded a grant of £30,000 to purchase twelve high-quality trader cabins. These cabins, with fully secure electrical inputs and front drop-down panels allowing the display and sale of goods, food, and drink, will be made available through a framework agreement for use by other Fylde businesses and community groups throughout the borough. By providing these amenities to local merchants and groups, STEP will be able to help support traders and contribute to a flourishing Fylde.
Cllr David O’Rourke of Kilnhouse Ward, the Fylde Borough Council representative on the STEP Board, said: “I was delighted to be able to assist with the successful application to secure the funding enabling the group to acquire 12 bespoke trader’s cabins for use at future events. This will considerably reduce future costs, removing the need to hire cabins, and ensuring STEP can organise a bigger, better Christmas market this year. We plan to grow this event into a major annual St Annes attraction following the launch in December 2021. The cabins will be used for other events and will also be available to other Fylde business and community groups, free of hire charge, to use at their events, although there will be some cost involved in transport and set up of the cabins. We will be announcing arrangements for the booking system soon.”
The Ansdell Institute, the Grade II-listed building on Woodlands Road, were awarded a grant of £18,500 for essential refurbishment and repair. Built in 1909, the Grade II-listed building is a beautiful Edwardian landmark and beloved community hub, hosting the Rarity School of Dance, the Sewing Institute, Belle and the Beanstalk children’s wear, and a café. The funding is to be used to fully refit the kitchen to further enhance the community café and refurbish the public hall section toilets, greatly improving the offering for room hire service, with any funding remaining to be used to support the maintenance and repair of the building including restoration of the roof and façade.
Cllr Ben Aitken of Ansdell Ward, Chair of the Friends of Ansdell Institute, said: “This award represents an excellent starting point for our long-held aim of restoring the Institute to its full glory. The Friends of Ansdell Institute are excited to take another step towards our goal of sustainability, and we hope the building and its facilities will continue to be enjoyed by the community for at least another hundred years.”
The allocation of these grants was made possible through funding from central Government as part of the wider COVID-19 business grants schemes. The payment deadline date for all such grants was 31 March 2022, and since the start of the programme Fylde Council have paid £37m in total to local businesses, organisations, and charitable groups, with the ARG Exceptions Scheme representing just once tranche of the money the Council was able to award to the community.
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