DELIGHTED Lynemouth residents are celebrating a £1million lottery win to improve their community over the next 10 years.
The massive funding boost has been awarded through the Big Lottery Fund’s Big Local programme to boost regeneration.
Residents will decide among themselves how the cash will be spent and training and support will be offered by Local Trust to give them the confidence and skills they need to identify suitable schemes.
Lynemouth Parish Council Chairman Cath Davidson said: “It is wonderful news.
“It’s the best Christmas present we have ever had.
“When I first heard this was coming my immediate thought was to make sure that the whole village feels involved – we want everyone’s opinion.
“We will not be able to satisfy everybody because there will be 100 opinions and 100 projects they want to do, it would take dear knows how many millions to do them all, but we need to give everyone the chance to put forward what they are thinking.
“I want the community to feel it is them making the decisions, rather than the community trust or the parish council.
“Really, it is only starting now, in fact I still haven’t come down from flying after hearing the wonderful news, but I will be hoping that whatever ideas come forward, the money will be spent on long-term initiatives because who knows when we ever could get this kind of money again.”
The comments were echoed by county councillor for the area Milburn Douglas.
He said: “It is brilliant news. We’re all looking forward to getting on with deciding how the money will be spent.
“It could be anything, from getting some recreation for young people to bringing something in for employment or training, as long as it is sustainable for future generations in Lynemouth.
“Obviously the residents will be involved in deciding that. We need to listen to the public and that will probably be co-ordinated through the resource centre and the parishes.”
Lynemouth Community Trust Manager Andrew Gooding said the funding will help to redress the balance where Lynemouth missed out on grants in the past.
“A lot of the reasoning behind why Lynemouth has got this money dates back quite a while because when it was in the old Castle Morpeth district, it was never eligible for a lot of the area-based funding that the likes of Wansbeck and Blyth benefited from,” he said.
“Even though Lynemouth had very similar levels of deprivation it wasn’t able to access these funds because they were allocated on a district basis.
“Even though it shares a lot of the issues that Wansbeck has, it hasn’t been able to access the kinds of initiatives that Wansbeck has been able to enjoy over the last 10 years or so.
“The message that we are trying to get across is that this brings us up to a level of the kind of investment that other areas have had previously, but we don’t want funders and trustees to think that this is Lynemouth sorted because it certainly won’t be.
“It will be a fair while before we will be able to access this money for initiatives and there is a lot of work to do before that happens.”
He added: “We have got to have a plan of what the community wants to happen with the money and that process has got to be as inclusive as possible.
“It will not be a case of who shouts loudest, but what are the best ideas with the most support.”
The Big Local programme has awarded 50 grants across the country in the latest round, with areas chosen for having been overlooked for investment in the past, facing a range of issues, such as unemployment, crime and the decline of industry, or having a pressing need for new support services.