THE CHAIRMAN of the Evesham Bell Tower fund-raising appeal has said it has moved to the next level after securing £50,000 in New Homes Bonus cash.
Dr Sue Ablett told the Observer of her and the committee’s relief after the £500,000 appeal received a confirmation letter from Evesham Town Council confirming the huge five-figure grant which she said would make a significant difference to the fund-
The cash had been in serious doubt last year after the Government proposed changes to the way New Homes Bonus funds would be allocated – meaning the town council’s earmarked grant to one of the town’s biggest fund-raising appeals lay in jeopardy.
Every time a new home is built and occupied in Wychavon, the Government gives the district council a New Homes Bonus grant each year for six years which is then re-allocated to town and parish councils.
The dramatic move meant Wychavon District Council no longer approved any new requests for advance payments – meaning bids to obtain funding for the Bell Tower appeal would not be considered.
But earlier this year council chiefs at the district council agreed to keep funding community projects through the scheme, giving hope the earmarked funding would be paid out to the appeal.
Despite Wychavon maintaining their position in not allowing advance payments to go through, Evesham Town Council has opted to fulfil its commitment to give the appeal significant funds through the scheme.
The funding means the appeal, aiming to secure the future of the Evesham landmark, has now raised more than £400,000 and stands about £90,000 away from completing its half a million pounds target.
Dr Sue Ablett said: “This is great news and it is what we have been waiting for a very long time.
“We would like to thank Evesham Town Council and Wychavon District Council for this generous grant which will make a significant difference to the appeal and will now take us to the next level of the project.
“Having this confirmed means we can now put people in the picture of how much we have raised so far as it was always vague when we were awaiting confirmation of such a big sum.
“We really have broken the back of the appeal now.”
On Saturday, August 30 the committee are hosting a charity auction at The Ivy in North Littleton from 4pm with at least 100 items on offer.
The committee are also pushing to promote Evesham’s new cyclefest event in September which they hope will see a considerable amount raised.