Local News

Locality grants announced

Saturday 8 January 2022

A county councillor has awarded grants to four local organisations to spend on projects that promote social, economic or environmental wellbeing.

Councillor Ben Crystall, who represents the All Saints ward of the town, has given money to Bengeo Primary School, Courtyard Arts, Sele School and Folly Island Residents Association.

Every year, each of Hertfordshire's 78 county councillors are provided with a Locality Budget of £15,000 to spend on projects in their local area.

Courtyard Arts and Community Centre has been awarded a grant of £750 towards the costs of a free community art weekend at the centre to welcome supporters and new visitors. Tutors will be on hand to offer "have a go" sessions in screen printing and ceramics. Communal ceramic sculpture for one of the walls of the Courtyard will have a nature theme around the idea of growth (visitors can make leaves, flowers, bugs, and birds to add to our sculpture). The money will be used for materials for both workshops including ink for the screen printing, clay (suitable for outdoors), glazing and firing costs and creating the sculpture and affixing it to the wall.

The Sele School receives a grant of £600 towards the participation fee for students to attend a face-to-face workshop in Japan in 2022. Five students took part in a 2021 workshop which was held via a virtual platform.

Commenting on the grants to Sele School, Cllr Crystall said: "I'm very excited to be able to support this valuable opportunity for students at Sele School. International collaboration is fundamental for the science community and this project inspires students, and others following them, to explore careers in STEM, as well as providing important cross-cultural experiences for all involved."

Bengeo Primary School also receives a grant of £1500 to develop a school library with a therapeutic space for staff to work and for groups or individual children, in addition to a space to celebrate books and reading. This also provides an opportunity to develop an outside space as a quiet reading area linked to the library.

Cllr Crystall said: "I'm delighted to help provide funds which will be used to improve Bengeo School's library and to ensure that it is a welcoming place where students can celebrate reading and books. Many studies have shown that encouraging reading at an early age is not only key to a child's education, but it develops a life-long habit that will bring mental health benefits as well as a huge amount of pleasure."

Folly Island Association benefits from £300 to provide seasonal maintenance of the grass embankment along the riverside towpath.

Commenting on the grants to Folly Island Residents Association, Cllr Crystal commented: "Where communities are keen to help maintain their environment, it's vital that their County Councillor supports them. Folly Island residents have shown time and again that they have great community spirit and I'm delighted to support their efforts."

Councillor Crystall won the seat of All Saints for the Green Party in last year's county council elections. The ward was previously represented by Conservative Andrew Stevenson.

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