Two Forest of Dean villages take the winning path
Published by Liz Reeson for Two Rivers Housing in Communities
Two villages in the Forest of Dean are celebrating after winning a £50,000 grant from the People’s Millions to link their two communities via an ancient pathway through the Forest.
The Soudley and Blakeney Community Gateway Project can now start work to re-establish the ancient pathway with runs between the two villages, to bring the communities together and allow Soudley to share the facilities of its neighbour. The project also has social and business benefits, increasing visitors to both villages.
The Forest of Dean project has the voting public to thank as they scooped the cash after going head-to-head with a community radio scheme, based in Frome Somerset, also competing for the People’s Millions. The Gateway Project spent the past month campaigning and drumming up support for the 15 hour vote which took place on Tuesday 26 November when both projects appeared on ITV West Country appealing for viewer’s votes.
Two Rivers Housing’s Community Project Co-ordinator, Jane Cordier, who submitted the application for the grant said: “It wasn’t easy – we all put in a lot of hours getting support from the whole of Gloucestershire. We were in shops, streets and train stations handing out flyers and on the radio trying to get our project heard. The town we were up against, Frome, is a lot bigger than our two little villages, so we knew we had our work cut out, but in the end the hard work paid off! We would like to thank everyone who voted for us across the Forest and the whole of Gloucestershire. We could not have done it if it wasn’t for the support we received.”
Rose Peaty, a key member of the community and a driving force behind the project said: “It’s absolutely fantastic that we have won the grant. We can now get the project underway. It will make such a difference to our two small communities and this pathway will benefit so many people – from young school children, to local business owners and ramblers! We just can’t wait to get started!”
Two Rivers Housing is committed ‘to be more than just a landlord’ and has helped numerous community projects throughout Gloucestershire. It aims to support projects that contribute to the regeneration of neighbourhoods, to strengthen local economies and empower residents in its areas of operation.