Stoke sub Hamdon to get £120,000

Good news today for the Hamdon Community Arts Project (HCAP) in Stoke sub Hamdon. The Department for Levelling Up announced they had been awarded £120,000. The money is from the Community Ownership Fund.

For the past 4 years HCAP have been looking for funds to purchase the ex United Reformed Church (URC) in the village. If they could get the funding in place they would turn the building into a centre for Music, Arts and Crafts. A number of groups in the village would be included in the project:
• Stoke Performing Arts Group (SPAG) – a group that produces and performs plays, and requires
permanent storage space for props, costumes, scenery and other equipment and an eventual all
year venue for rehearsals, staging, and lighting for future shows.
• Local artists – to display their work (this happened in September 2019, as a part of Somerset Arts
Week exhibitions).
• An Arts and Crafts exhibition centre – for local arts and crafts,

The problem for the community was that the Church Synod stated that it intended to sell the property on
the open market. South Somerset District Council helped out with an initial grant of £12,500. But HCAP still needed to find the rest, estimated at over £100,000. Todays grant from the Department of Levelling Up, should mean it can all go ahead.

Speaking to The Leveller, Minister for Levelling Up, the Union and Constitution, Neil O’Brien MP said: “From taking ownership of a church in South Somerset to restoring a city farm in the centre of Bristol, the Community Ownership Fund enables local people to take ownership of projects that benefit their communities for future growth. Projects like these demonstrate our commitment to helping empower local people, restore their pride in the places they live and level up communities across the region.”

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