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HS2 Community Fund awards over £40,000 to Westbury village project

Today (Friday 28 August) Westbury Parish Council in Buckinghamshire has become the latest to benefit from the HS2 Community and Environment Fund, as it is announced that they have been awarded £40,574 for a series of community space improvements.

HS2 Community Fund awards over £40,000 to Westbury village project: Westbury Village Hall September 2020

The ‘Westbury Investing in the Future’ project will deliver upgraded outdoor spaces including a large tarmacked area to the side of the village hall which can be used by young people in the village to play sport, as well as a permanent gazebo on the patio which will offer the ability for events to be delivered all year round whatever the weather.

The project is a continuation of other upgrades which began in 2016 with the rebuilding of the village hall, surrounding road improvements and a revamp of existing village play facilities. The success of these has driven the need for further work to increase the capacity of the space for community activities. In addition to the physical upgrades, the project will also see improvements made to signposting for the local village trail and an updated booklet, encouraging more people to enjoy the outdoor historic space the village has to offer.

Two funds, with a combined total of £40million, are available to local communities and businesses that are demonstrably disrupted by the construction of Britain’s new high speed railway between London and the West Midlands. This funding has come from the Community and Environment Fund, which is for projects that benefit the community and have a positive environmental outcome.

To date, over £7.5million has been awarded from the funds across 125 projects near the HS2 route. In Buckinghamshire, 40 projects have benefitted, sharing over £2.4million between them. The projects range from upgrades to community facilities, to a contribution to the multi-million pound redevelopment of Wendover Woods, where the funds helped build a new café and visitors centre.

Other projects include two that have received grants from the Business and Local Economy Fund including £120,303 the ‘Open for Business’ project run by the Chilterns Conservation Board which aims to promote tourism in the HS2 central Chilterns corridor, and £75,000 for Buckinghamshire Business First for their Visit Buckinghamshire Business Advisory Service.

Speaking about the new award, Cathy Elliott, Independent Chair of the HS2 Funds said:

“Now more than ever, the provision of local community space is vital, and I am pleased that the award is being used to improve the facilities on offer in the village of Westbury.

“The Funds are available to support local communities and businesses that are impacted by the construction of HS2 and I encourage other organisations near to the line of route to apply and gain the tangible benefits of these Funds.”

James Stone, Chairman of Westbury Parish Council said:

“What we've seen during Lockdown is that the Village Hall has really come into its own and truly became a focal point for the village and surrounding area. The funding from HS2 will help us to enhance the facilities and offering available to all now and into the future as part of the ‘Westbury Investing in the Future’ project.

“The monies awarded as part of the HS2 Community Environment Funding scheme will allow the Parish Council to enhance the facilities offered for young people, increase the amount of flexible outdoor covered space at the village hall, update and promote the historic trail around Westbury and improve access around the hall too.

“These projects would not have been possible without the support and our amazing volunteers and fellow councillors and of course funding from HS2.”

As construction of HS2 gets underway, applications for the funds are still being welcomed. The Funds for Phase One, independently administered by community charity Groundwork UK, support urban and rural, community, environmental and business projects.

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