£40,000 to support local groups hit hard by Covid-19 crisis

Honiton Gymnastics Club, who have received £15,000 from Honiton Town Council

Honiton Gymnastics Club, who have received £15,000 from Honiton Town Council - Credit: Honiton Gymnastics Club

Generous councillors in Honiton have handed out more than £40,000 to support local groups hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis – and there is still time for more community organisations to apply for cash help.

The town council has agreed to issue 14 grants totalling £28,800 and give £15,000 to Honiton Gymnastics Club – spending more than it had originally budgeted to do because of the hardship caused by the pandemic.

Honiton Gymnastic Club’s Hallie Bennet and Catie Lee

Honiton Gymnastic Club’s Hallie Bennet and Catie Lee - Credit: Honiton Gymnastics Club

The council said: “Several local community organisations have found 2020-21 particularly financially challenging because of the impact of Covid-19.
“The town council has agreed to help these local groups by agreeing financial support and has allocated more money than budgeted.”

Councillor Phil Carrigan said: “It’s essential that the town council helps where it can, so allocating more money than was budgeted in February 2020 is the right thing to do. Additional money will be taken from council reserves.”

Honiton Gymnastics Club director James Reddy told the Herald the club was grateful to the council for its support.
Mr Reddy said: “Our grant from the town council will be a real lifeline and will help keep us afloat so we can welcome back gymnasts to Honiton Gymnastics Centre when it is deemed safe to do so.

One of Honiton Gymnastics Club’s ‘turbo toddlers'

One of Honiton Gymnastics Club’s ‘turbo toddlers' - Credit: Honiton Gymnastics Club

“Currently, regardless of whether or not we are able to run sessions, to remain in our premises Honiton Gymnastics Club has fixed costs of £5,500-plus every month for rent, standing charges and other costs. Even when the gymnastics centre has been open and running during the pandemic, we have been losing money every week due to the requirement for additional workers, the limited numbers of participants allowed in the centre at one time, and the additional thousands of pounds we continue to spend on making our centre Covid secure.
“Despite numerous grant applications and a Crowdfunder raising £6,500, Honiton Gymnastics Club still had a deficit of £27,000 in early 2021, so the grant from Honiton Town Council has gone a significant way towards plugging this gap. We look forward to repaying this debt to the community by welcoming hundreds of young people and adults back into the centre when we are allowed.”

Honiton Parent and Toddler Group and Honiton Youth Club received £3,000 to provide new seating. The TRIP Community Transport Association received £5,000 to support its work.
Citizens Advice East Devon received £4,000 to help them work with vulnerable people and Open Arms East Devon received £1,210 to help fund all aspects of its work.
Honiton 55-plus received £2,500 to finish paving their garden area while Honiton Community Spaces were given £3,250 to provide parking spaces. Honiton Health Matters received £1,000 to develop a helpline booklet and Parental Minds CIC received £2,000 to cover printing and administration costs.

Other groups benefiting from town council funding include The Vegbank Honiton, South Western Ambulance Charity, Honiton Hot Pennies, the Hospiscare day hospice, Honiton 729 Club and Honiton Millennium Green.

The town council is still keen to make further grants available – but local groups will need to get their applications in by Friday, January 29. Councillors plan to consider new bids for funding at their meeting on February 8. Application forms can be found on the council website: honiton.gov.uk

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