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Free facility hire launched for Wellington Gate community 

Wellington Gate residents and non-profit organisations can now apply to hire free local facilities and event space to help connect the community. 

Vale of White Horse District Council has secured funding from local developer, Persimmon Homes (Wessex), to help community groups access local facilities while plans for a new Community Hub are being finalised.

Local residents, interest groups and non-profit organisations may be eligible for space to run events that help bring people together and foster community pride within the Wellington Gate community in Grove. 

Currently facilities available to hire for free include Old Mill Hall, Grove Village Hall and many other local venues, with Vale of White Horse District Council and Grove Parish Council working together to source additional facilities as needed. 

Cllr Andy Crawford, Cabinet member for finance and property at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “Having spaces for neighbourhoods to meet up, make connections and grow their community pride is important for all, but especially in new developments. We’re proud to support this initiative to provide much-needed events space for local groups who want to bring people together and provide exciting activities for the community.” 

Cllr Ron Batstone, ward member for Grove North at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “Until the Community Hub is completed, we encourage local residents and non-profit organisations to make the most of this opportunity and apply for free facilities for your next meeting. Whether it’s for your book club or bingo games, arts club or toddler meet-up group, or anything else that connects our community, we look forward to bringing people together in and around Wellington Gate and developing our strong community spirit.” 

Councillor June Stock, Chairman of Grove Parish Council, said: “The Grove Parish Council are proud to support the fund to help our residents make connections and further develop our strong sense of community. I’m grateful to those organisations who are sharing their facilities for hire and I look forward to seeing more exciting community events being held across our parish.” 

Sweatbox Wantage is one community organisation who has already benefited from the fund, recently hosting youth events at the Grove Rugby Football Club as part of a pilot for the program. Michelle Rozier, Sweatbox Manager, said: “Thanks to the fund, we can spend less time and money hiring event space and spend more time doing what we do best – working with our local youth and giving them access to sports, arts and other activities. We’re excited to be involved in the fund and can’t wait to deliver more events for our community in the future.” 

Sweatbox Wantage jumping castle at the Grove Rugby Football Club grounds.
Sweatbox Wantage recently hosted youth activity sessions at the Grove Rugby Football Club grounds, thanks to the Wellington Gate Community Facilities Fund.

The fund and all bookings will be administered by Grove Parish Council with oversight from Vale of White Horse District Council through the Wellington Gate Community Development Officer. 

The application criteria and terms and conditions are available on the application form. For more information and to apply, please contact the Grove Parish Council by emailing or calling 01235 766599. 

Notes to the editor: 

Sweatbox Wantage is an open access youth centre, welcoming young people mostly from Wantage, Grove and the surrounding villages but also from across Oxfordshire and a variety of schools, academies and colleges. Find out more on the Sweatbox Wantage website