‘Community animators’ to inspire regeneration projects

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A GO-AHEAD group of volunteers is considering bidding for £500,000 to help inject new life into Bulwell — and inspire the community to work together.

The town’s Bulwell Forest Action Group (BFAG) has been at the heart of several high-profile initiatives in the last 18 months.

These have included a programme of activities to improve the health of local residents.

The programme was inspired by a series of damning reports that revealed Bulwell residents suffer from alarming levels of obesity and are at increased risk of heart disease. Furthermore, men in the town die ten years younger, on average, than counterparts elsewhere in Nottingham.

Now BFAG has teamed up with local churches and the London-based charity RE:generate with a view to applying for National Lottery cash.

If the bid is formally launched and if successful, the idea is to extend a scheme already being rolled out to employ two ‘community animators’.

Cash is already available to fund the animators for a year. Their role will be to work with local groups, knock on doors, chat with residents and then help launch new projects designed to support the town.

These projects could range from opening a skate park to launching a football school or setting up playgroups.

If the Lottery cash is secured, it would fund the animators for a further four years. It would mean they could continue to provide advice and guidance on how to get schemes off the ground and how to access funding sources — a crucial skill at a time of public-spending cuts.

Tony Prior, who is a trustee of RE:generate, said: “The funding will give people from all walks of life and people with low aspirations the opportunity to come together and create something better in their community.”

Even if the Lottery bid doesn’t get off the ground, BFAG is confident the animators will have a big role to play during their year in the town.

Bill Blackamore, secretary of BFAG, has said the project would help inspire locals and give them the skills and aspirations to make Bulwell the “great place we all know it could be”.