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Councillors in Gillingham have voted for thousands of pounds to go to a variety of local groups and charities in its annual award of grants.

The town council’s finance committee met online on Monday night to approve grants to a variety of groups – subject to final approval by full council – including £2,033 for the Hipp!!Bones club for young people with additional needs and disabilities, £1,255.58 for the Gillingham Carnival and £1,000 for the Gillingham Duke of Edinburgh open award centre.

However, councillors rejected a request from the Imperial Silver Band on the grounds that it had healthy cash reserves and that there was therefore no compelling need for the money.

The committee also asked for more information abut a request from Gillingham Netball Club for £1,900 towards equipment to ensure that that they comply with health and safety rules under the Covid-19 restrictions.

And it reduced a request for £3,000 from North Dorset rugby club down to £1,000.

Backing the grant for the carnival, mayor Barry Von Clemens, a member of the committee, said: ‘It’s a vital part of our community.’

And deputy mayor Paul Harris said the carnival brought out the people of the town each year. ‘From a community perspective I think we as a council  should be supporting our carnival,’ he said.

Justifying the call to reject the band’s application for £1,000 towards instrument loans, schools visits, tuition and rehearsal costs, Councillor Graham Poulter said: ‘Their accounts shows that they currently have £22,729 in cash funds; that does not demonstrate – in my view – a need for funding at present.’

There were also calls to reject outright North Dorset rugby club’s application for £3,000, on the basis that that club, too, had enough money at present.

But Councillor Von Clemens backed a compromise to award the club £1,000 to help with coaching courses and the upkeep of the grounds, pointing to the work they do with youngsters, a part of the community he said who have been badly hit by the turmoil of the Covid crisis.

‘The work that is being done up at the rugby club is amazing. They are rebuilding young people’s confidence,’ he told fellow councillors.

The list of recommended grants, given below, will now go to a meeting of the full council later this month for final approval.

Recommended grants:

Dorset Mind £1,500

Gillingham Carnival Committee £1,255.58

Gillingham DofEOAC (Duke of Edinburgh Open Award Centre) £1,000

Gillingham Netball Club £1,900 (deferred for more information)

Hipp!!Bones (Gillingham’s youth club) £2,033

Mindful £500

North Dorset Disability Information Service (NorDDIS) £1,000

North Dorset Rugby Club £1,000

Read Easy Gillingham and Shaftesbury £314

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