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Community Engagement will identify how to prioritise leisure funding into Wantage, Grove and Faringdon

Community groups and sporting organisations in Wantage, Grove and Faringdon will help to identify how millions of pounds of funding raised from housing developers will be spent in their local areas.

The groups are being asked for their thoughts on the need for leisure locally, which will feed into a review by the district council. One of the review’s outcomes will be to propose the allocation of funding for leisure generated by new housing developments in each area.

By engaging with the community, the district council hopes to get an up-to-date picture of the sports and leisure provision that is currently available in the district, to understand the current demand, and how that has all been changed and influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic. This should help to identify exactly what alternative projects could be introduced to these areas in the district and the level of funding they may require.

Last year the district council highlighted Building Healthy Communities as one of its key priorities, as set out in its brand new Corporate Plan.

The council is seeking meaningful engagement with its communities, and so will be making sure the views of local people feed into the decisions made on how this money for leisure provision raised from housing developers can be used in the relevant communities. Feedback from the council’s Lockdown Lifestyle Leisure survey, during the first lockdown, will also help to identify local need.

The council has appointed an independent consultant, Strategic Leisure Ltd, to engage with a variety of stakeholders over the coming weeks.

Cllr Helen Pighills, Cabinet Member for Healthy Communities at Vale of White Horse District Council said: “Through feedback from the Lockdown Lifestyle Leisure survey last year it was clear that many people were finding a variety of different ways to keep active. Covid-19 has changed the way many people exercise, so by engaging with the community and local sports groups now, we can get a real understanding of the impact of those changes and where this funding would support residents of all ages and abilities.”

Cllr Judy Roberts, Cabinet Member for Development and Infrastructure at Vale of White Horse District Council said: “It is important that this funding from development agreements is spent in the way it was intended and also to the benefit of the residents in the area that generated the funding. We want to make long lasting changes to the leisure facilities across Wantage, Grove and Faringdon and indeed the whole of the Vale, to encourage everyone into a more active lifestyle. That is why it is so important for the residents to give their feedback, so we can get a real understanding of what is needed and how this S106 funding can be used to benefit not just those who need it now, but for future generations.”