I’d like to start this week’s column by expressing my best wishes to Councillor Marlene Haworth, Leader of the Council. After her recent ill health, I’m pleased to say that Marlene is recovering well and I look forward to seeing her back in action as soon as she is able to return. In the meantime, I have been appointed as Acting Leader of the Council and will strive to continue the excellent work carried out by the Council so far this year.
Before Christmas, the Council introduced a Community Chest Scheme, and I’m happy to announce that a remarkable 89 applications worth over £230,000 have flooded in from our vibrant community groups and charities from every corner of the borough. This outpouring of enthusiasm for this new scheme reflects the importance of grant programmes such as this in Hyndburn but it also presents us with a difficult task. Only £85,000 is available to bring these worthy projects to life, meaning some tough decisions lie ahead. The selection process will be rigorous, with Councillors carefully considering the impact and community reach of each proposal. In the coming weeks, successful projects will be notified and funding distributed.
While not every project can be funded, the sheer volume of applications is a testament to the incredible work being done by local groups and charities. Every application reflects the dedication and passion of individuals striving to make Hyndburn a better place.
In other news, Market Hall traders will begin their move into the impressive Market Square cabins this month, for which we worked closely with our traders to ensure these new facilities will meet their needs. We were delighted to provide them with 3 months free rent and I’d like to encourage residents to visit the Market and shop local if they are able to do so.
Finally, as long time resident of Oswaldtwistle, the future of the Civic Theatre is extremely important to me. Council Officers are currently working to ensure the building is safe and undertaking the relevant surveys and cost assessments. I know that residents really value the Civic and want it to continue as a venue that provides arts and culture for all of Hyndburn and beyond. I’ll be working closely with Officers and other Councillors to explore our options and hope that we can bring this excellent facility back into public use.