RNAS Yeovilton Community Centre wins grant
Delighted representatives of the Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton Tall Trees Community Centre gathered at the Centre in Ilchester on Tuesday, 17 September to receive a £69,000 cheque awarded by the Armed Forces Community Covenant.
Councillor Christopher Le Hardy, Lieutenant Colonel (retired) and Chairman of the Somerset Armed Forces Community Covenant Partnership presented the cheque to Commodore Jock Alexander, Commanding Officer of RNAS Yeovilton, who gratefully received it on behalf of the Community Centre.
Success with the bid means that the structure can be refurbished and the kitchen area updated. Money will also be spent on the playroom floor and the children’s play area. The management team plan to expand the current range of events that already include toddlers and young children’s activities, a youth club, Pilates, Spanish and dance lessons for children, food and bar facilities and a programme of Saturday evening entertainment. The refurbished Centre coupled with the wider range of activities is expected to attract much greater use by both the Service and civilian communities.
The Tall Trees Community Centre is adjacent to the main Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton married quarters site in Ilchester, and is a self-funding amenity used by both Service and civilian members of the local community. Extensive use over the last 20 years has taken its toll on the fabric of the mainly wooden-framed building; the kitchen and external recreation area are all in need of a makeover. An application for funds was submitted through the Somerset Armed Forces Community Covenant Partnership and this was supported by both the Ilchester Parish Council and South Somerset District Council, both of which were represented at the ceremony.
Christopher Le Hardy said, “It gives me great pleasure to present the cheque that will enhance such an admirable facility that embraces many of the key objectives of the Covenant; in particular it encourages activities which help to integrate the Armed Forces Community into local life and also encourages the Armed Forces Community to help and support the wider community.”
Commodore Jock Alexander said, “This is wonderful news for us all. It epitomizes the positive and forward looking approach of our communities and cements another element of what is a very bright future for the Air Station. There is considerable scope for us to use the Community Covenant funds and other sources of funding provided by the Government (LIBOR) to improve the lot of our Service personnel and the communities in which they live. Members of my team play a major part in the business of the Somerset Community Covenant and I’m delighted to see the result of their hard work. Now we’ve got to crack on and start the refurbishment works.”
The £30m Covenant Grants scheme is a Ministry of Defence led initiative which provides financial support to local projects which strengthen ties or mutual understanding between the Armed Forces and the surrounding community. Each application must be endorsed and monitored by the local Covenant partnership which is actively promoting the grants scheme and encouraging community groups to apply for funding.
Sally Crawford Community Development Worker for Tall Trees said “this is absolutely marvellous for Tall Trees Community Centre and all who use it. It’s a great way to support and encourage integration within our local community.”