The Breakers Community Project suffered a massive blow this week, when an expected £60,000 of funding from TVBC was refused. It transpires that this was due to a pledge of matched support, made by a Andover Hampshire County Councillor, that turned out to not be forthcoming.
Anji Gillies, who heads up the initiative to reopen the previously failed business, has a burning drive to open the premises to provide somewhere for local teenagers to go, hoping to reduce the instances of teenage depression and suicide in the area. Fundraising has been under way over the last year for this Limited Community Interest Company, which is headed up by Directors Anji Gillies, Richard Belle (Andover Town Website) and Cllr James Neal (TVBC Conservative Councillor) who remain responsible for the running of the company and the control of its funds.
Andover & Villages has spoken to TVBC to explore why the funding was refused after a massive outcry by the CIC’s supporters, including Hampshire County Councillor, Tony Hooke (UKIP), who has already started a petition for the cause and has pledged to start fundraising himself, despite already donating a £50 cash sum, payment for the hire of The Lights for a fundraiser and an undisclosed sum from his business, Broadway Garage.
The statement is somewhat confusing after numerous published comments from Directors of the CIC stating that £60k is required to open the building, with renovations, and a further £100k, to open the bowling alley. Various figures have been published regarding the amount already raised, which vary from £45k – £100k. Despite requests for confirmation of the actual cash-in-hand figures raised, none are forthcoming at the time of publication.
TVBC have written in their statement that they support, and encourage the Breakers CIC to apply to a newly formed local fund, which has the maximum of £25,000 available to successful applicants.
Test Valley Borough Council Statement
The Council is keen to support the Breakers project but must be satisfied that we are investing Test Valley taxpayers’ money wisely.
Breakers Community Interest Company (CIC) approached the Council last year for funds to help meet their £160,000 start-up costs. The Council agreed in principle to financially support the project from its Community Capital Grants fund. The offer was for £60,000 towards the start-up costs and was subject to the Council’s normal grant criteria of matched funding being committed by other organisations. Unfortunately this matched funding has not been forthcoming despite a pledge from an Andover County Councillor of financial support.
As a result, Breakers CIC have now revised their funding model with a start-up cost of £100,000. This represents a significantly reduced figure for Breakers CIC to fundraise to enable the project to be progressed, but there still remains a significant funding shortfall. While Breakers CIC have many pledges of support they are currently unable to demonstrate that they have secured the funds to meet this shortfall. An investment from the borough council of £60,000 would prove too great a risk should other funding not be forthcoming.
A new Community Asset Fund has recently been established with a maximum grant of £25,000. We would encourage Breakers to apply for a grant and will readily support them in doing so.
Test Valley Borough Council