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11 June 2003

Northern Star Community Arts Project awarded 94,852


Northern Star Community Arts Project has been awarded 94,852.00 by a new Lottery consortium. The Community Buildings Trial Programme, currently only available in the West Midlands, is aimed at groups wishing to extend or refurbish existing buildings. Three lottery distributors - the Community Fund, the Arts Council for England and Sport England - have created a joint pot of 2 million.

"We are very pleased to have received this grant," said Neil Roberts, Baptist Minister. "Although the building is owned by the church, we want it to be a hub for the local community and to offer activities that are not solely centred around worship, and provide a platform for the community to speak and act. People can meet here to discuss ideas for starting new groups. At the moment the Centre is used for play schemes, graffiti classes, boxercise, band practise and dance classes. There are also other community activities like lunch clubs and drop-ins but we'd like to see it used even more".

The Centre is conscious of the need to meet community interests, "In our graffiti classes we try to encourage people to express themselves in a creative and constructive way and not engage in anti-social activities. The response has been very good," said Matt Press, volunteer.

The grant, which will be paid over three years, will be used in part to recruit a Centre Manager. "This will be a pivotal role," explained Neil. "The Centre Manager will not only take responsibility for ensuring the sustainability of the Centre, but will also play an administrative, strategic and public affairs role."

Local opinion on the use of the Centre has been sought and an architect has provided a model and plans to show how the Centre could look following the refurbishment.

Nikki Clews, Community Buildings Trial Programme co-ordinator said, "This project shows the important role of Community Centres. In the heart of an urban area the Centre aims to provide what many of its rural counterparts also aim for - a central meeting place where everyone is welcome and all ideas have potential. I look forward to watching the progression of this project".

To find out more about Northern Star Community Centre, including volunteering opportunities contact Neil Roberts on 0121 770 8590. Nikki Clews can be contacted on 0121 200 3500.

Notes to editors

1. The Community Fund gives out money raised by the National Lottery to charities and to voluntary and community groups. Out of every 1 spent on the National Lottery the Community Fund gets 4.7 pence.

2. The legal name of the Community Fund remains the National Lottery Charities Board.

3. The National Lottery Charities Board was set up in 1994 and changed its operating name to Community Fund - Lottery Money Making a Difference - in April 2001.

4. Since 1995 the Community Fund has awarded 2.3bn to more than 49,000 projects. For more information, visit the 'What we've funded > Search past grants' section of this website.


Media enquiries
The Community Fund can be contacted on 0121 200 2536.