Local community projects receive more than £100,000 in funding

People holding racquets and cheering in front of tennis court

Pickleball was introduced by the Dellcott family Tennis Club in WGC using the WHCF funding. - Credit: Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council

The Welwyn Hatfield Community Fund (WHCF) hit a funding milestone this month having awarded over £106,000 to local organisations.

The money has enabled local groups to support community well-being activities, such as enabling a tennis club to introduce sessions for a new sport called pickleball.

Seventeen community projects have now received grants from the WHCF since it was launched in 2019.

Recent successes include supporting Dellcott Family Tennis Club in WGC to put on free pickleball classes aimed at keeping older people active. Pickleball is a fun low-impact racquet sport that's a cross between tennis, badminton and ping pong.

Pickleball was invented by three dads for their kids on Bainbridge Island, near Seattle, in 1965 and is reported to be the fastest-growing sport in America.

Local organisation Forever Young People also received funding for a programme designed to support young men aged 16-30 with mental health issues, while North Mymm’s Youth Project was able to buy outdoor lighting increasing the range of activities they can put on for young people.

The fund, which was created as a result of the merger between Finesse Leisure and Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) to encourage participation in sport and recreational activities in Welwyn Hatfield with an emphasis on social welfare, physical and mental health.

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Cllr Bernard Sarson, executive member for leisure and community safety, said: “It’s fantastic that so many local groups have already benefitted from the Welwyn Hatfield Community Fund, and I hope many more organisations will think of this when looking for funding for projects. Our physical and mental health is so important, and I encourage residents to explore the many activities that are available in the borough.”

GLL’s head of service (Central Region) Matt Perren said: “We’re delighted to have been able to help these important local projects which provide support and enjoyment to so many in the community.”

Applications to the WHCF for grants of £250 to £50,000 are welcomed from clubs, community groups, youth groups, educational establishments as well as individuals who want to set up a new activity or initiative.