We want to help Sidmouth explains Keith Owen Fund

Sidmouth fund hopes to aid community projects to tune of �100k a year

MORE than 45 projects have been helped financially by Sidmouth’s Keith Owen Fund, and more applications for grants are wanted.

Sid Vale Association administers the fund, set up three years ago after member Keith Owen bequeathed more than �2million for the benefit of community projects in the Sid Valley and Salcombe Regis.

A public meeting, to explain the work of the fund, held by SVA at Kennaway House, attracted representatives of organisations that could, or have, benefited from grants.

Kate Tobin gave an illustrated talk about local projects that have been supported with grants ranging from �60 to �17,900.

“A quarter of a million pounds has been committed in the valley since the fund began. We will continue indefinitely, we hope we will be giving �100,000 each year in the valley,” she said.

The area covered by the terms of the fund, stretch from High Peak to Weston Mouth and up to Putts Corner inland.

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The first project to benefit was Sidbury Millennium Green pond, which needed relining. It received �1,400 towards the �2,868 cost.

John Dyson, the town’s summer Hopper Bus co-ordinator, and Joy Seward, Sidmouth in Bloom president, thanked KOF for is support.

Louise Cole, who with Sidmouth artist Coco Hodgkinson worked on the seascape mural by the Ham with more than 100 children, praised the fund, saying: “It is non-bureaucratic and we really hooked into Keith Owen’s vision and values.”

She said KOF gave a “quick, positive response” to their application.

There was similar praise from Neil Gamble of Sidmouth Cricket, Tennis, Croquet & Hockey Club, who said the process of applying for a KOF grant was “very easy and with support all the way”. The club received �10,000 towards the �40,000 cost of re-thatching the cricket pavilion.

KOF chairman, the Reverend Handel Bennett, said he hoped those with projects in mind would make an application to the fund for a grant.

“You will realise by now that we are not asking for your money. But we are asking for your collective thinking on how the local community, in town and countryside, may benefit in the years to come.

“We are asking for your assistance in spreading the word; that for the right sort of projects, the Keith Owen Fund (SVA) might be worth contacting.”

As Keith Owen said, he wants Sid Valley organisations to “think big and think outside the box”.