Members of the Dean Court Community Centre Association (DCCCA) are celebrating after winning a £6,275 NatWest CommunityForce award towards the rebuild of a burnt-out community building .
In July 2011 NatWest launched CommunityForce, a new initiative to help support local charities, organisations and groups to raise publicity for their work and attract volunteers. The programme also provided the opportunity for three groups in each of the bank’s 131 CommunityForce areas to win awards of £6,275 each. Organisations and charities applied for awards during the summer and an online public vote took place to decide which three organisations in each area would receive the awards.
Over 5,000 eligible charities and community projects in England and Wales applied to take part in CommunityForce and over 360,000 votes were cast.
DCCCA applied to CommunityForce because their plans to convert a disused social club building to a vibrant new community centre were in danger of coming to nothing following a devastating fire which destroyed a large part of the building.
CommunityForce, which forms part of the Bank’s Customer Charter, offers organisations more than just financial support. By applying for the awards, local charities and projects became part of a local online network giving them greater visibility and the opportunity to attract volunteers from the local area. NatWest staff are also getting involved by volunteering their time and expertise.
Priscilla Waugh, a project leader of the campaign, said “This award means so much to our community. It is a demonstration of faith in our project and means that the insurers of the building and the local council can see that our plans have captured the imagination of local people. It means that our new community centre need no longer be a simple reinstatement of a building that was no longer fit for purpose. It will now incorporate extra rooms and more up-to-date facilities, catering for Dean Court and the wider community, It will give us an opportunity to bring together disparate groups within the area and to identify new ways of working together for the common good .”