£120,000 grant is start of ‘new era’ for an association

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A COMMUNITY group is to receive more than £120,000 to revamp Thorngate Halls in Gosport.

Gosport Community Association was successful in its bid to get a grant of £121,900 from Hampshire County Council. The money was awarded to the community association via the county council’s Community Buildings Capital Fund.

Doreen Dodd is chairwoman of the group.

She said: ‘It is amazing that we were successful in our bid.

‘We put a lot of hard work into the running of Thorngate Halls and a lot of effort was put into our application for the grant.

‘We really wanted to send in a good application to give us a better chance of being successful.

‘There is specific criteria you have to meet to get the funding so we are glad we met that.’

The money will be used to upgrade Thorngate Halls in Bury Road and Bury House.

The 56-year-old added: ‘We plan to use the grant to help us undertake sensitive repairs and improvements to Bury House, a Grade II listed building.

‘The buildings are a great space but we want more clubs and groups to use them and for that we need better facilities.

‘Some of the grant will be used to improve the windows and things like that because one of the specifications of the funding was that the projects had to be cost-effective.

‘We see this as the start of 
a new era for the organisation.’

But Doreen said that not everyone sees the investment or the changes to Thorngate Halls as a positive thing.

Doreen, from Stoke Road, Gosport, said: ‘There is someone out there who is determined to undermine the work we do.

‘They are setting up nasty Facebook and Twitter accounts saying horrible things about members of the association.’

Doreen has reported the accounts and groups to the social media sites and they have been taken down.

But new ones are being created.

‘Everyone who is involved at Thorngate is working hard to make sure that we continue to offer a venue that is fit for today and for future generations,’ said Doreen.

‘We are really saddened that this person is being so negative about what we are trying to do.’