A NEW community grant pot has been established with a six figure sum in it to help projects in the Midhurst and Petworth area.
The grant fund is a legacy of the old Grange Community Association (GCA) which has been tweaked to carry on as a grant giving body. It is intended to benefit sport, community and leisure projects run by organisations in Midhurst and Petworth and the surrounding area.
It is now open for business and the trustees are asking for applications to give away their first grants.
Grange Community Association trustee Graham Pooley said: “At the end of 2012 we realised we would have to revise the rules of the charity to enable us to continue beyond the closure of the old building. The old rules were quite narrow and required that if the centre closed the charity closed too.
“We thought that was a bit short-sighted and so we went through a long process of consultation with members and the charity commission and have broadened our rules to allow us to become a grand giving body.”
Mr Pooley added: “We are already administering a six figure sum and are now in the process of discussions to enlarge the sum.
“This is an opportunity to offer future generations the benefits of the hard work of all those who invested in the old Grange. We have a real chance here to make a difference to the Midhurst and Petworth communities.”
The fund will continue to be called the Grange Community Association.
Mr Pooley raised a substantial sum for the new pot through selling everything he could from the old Grange before it was demolished.
He used eBay and a large UK removal firm who sold all the gym and kitchen equipment through online and public auctions.
The sauna was dismantled and sold to Rotherham Football Centre.
The familiar coin operated green car which sat in the foyer went to a private bidder in Northampton and the squash court gas heaters went to Middleton Squash Club.
The kiln used by West Sussex County Council’s day care centre was sold to a school.
“I even sold the doors and the old vending machines,” said Mr Pooley, “if it could be moved it went.”
The trustees are now looking for their first projects to support and the closing date for applications is September 16. Application forms can be found at www.thegrange.org.uk.
Trustees are also continuing the memberships of the old Grange Community Association and people can join or rejoin for £5 a year.
“You won’t get anything tangible for it,” said trustee Judy Fowler, “but you do get the satisfaction of keeping the name alive and helping your communities.”
Information about membership is on the GCA website.