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Weymouth Town Council submits £316,000 UK Community Renewal Fund application for the Tumbledown project

Weymouth Town Council has applied for a £316,000 grant to help develop Tumbledown for the community. The public are also being invited to an open day on Saturday 26th June to see the site for themselves.

The UK Community Renewal Fund aims to support people and communities most in need creating opportunities to trial new approaches and innovative ideas at a local level.

Cllr David Northam, member of the Tumbledown Project Board, said:

“If our bid is successful, this money will enable us to increase four times the number of vulnerable people benefitting from learning new skills in a healthy outdoor environment at our Weymouth Centre for Community Resilience.”

The fund has four investment priorities:

Investment in skills – supporting local people to learn growing skills in an inclusive environment encouraging working together. The funding will enable us to increase the support our Learning Mentors provide to vulnerable adults. It will support the development of the schools’ recovery curriculum and will enable us to organise and safely support more people learning market gardening. We have nine community growing spaces where local groups will bring their members on-site to grow food.

Investment in community and place – this provides for more maintenance and upkeep to improve the accessibility of the whole site, with better buildings, signposting, pathways, bridges, and gates. We will continue to involve volunteers in carrying out some of this work and value the contributions already made in planting a fruit tree orchard, building improvements, hedge-laying, dry-stone walling, digging swales (water run-off channels). The Forest School continues to grow, and the SSSI will continue to be protected. 

Investment for local business – all the work and more than £40,000 worth of materials and tools used on site will be sourced locally, wherever possible.

Supporting people into employment – this application, if successful, will create five new jobs. More widely, by building confidence, social and technical skills, we believe that opportunities for people to find long term employment will be increased.

A key Community Renewal Fund requirement is to contribute to the government’s net-zero carbon and other environmental objectives. Weymouth Town Council has recognised the climate emergency and what we do at Tumbledown will reduce carbon output by reducing food supply chains. Our land improvements will meet ecological improvements suggested by a local ecology consultant, and our new buildings will be designed for a net-zero carbon future including solar panels for powering the site.

Our bid is being processed by Dorset Council (the lead authority) and if it passes muster, it will be submitted to the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government for assessment. We hope to hear good news before the end of July 2021.

The Covid-19 pandemic has meant that a lot of what we have been doing has been out-of-sight. If you would like to understand what we are doing at the site and why, please come along to the Tumbledown Open Day on Saturday 26th June between 2pm and 4pm. More details will be published on our website and on social media, including the Tumbledown Facebook group.

More information about the Tumbledown project can be found on our website here.