Joy for Gosport groups as they win vital grants

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DEMOCRACY was truly in action as residents decided who would benefit from a £12,000 windfall.

More than 200 people turned out to Thorngate Halls on Saturday to take part in the You Decide event, which is run by Gosport Community Safety Partnership.

Organisations delivered presentations outlining why they should be awarded a grant.

Residents then had to give each group a score from one to 10 – with the most popular choices getting the highest scores.

The £12,000 pot of cash was awarded by Hampshire County Council.

Dignitaries at the event included police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes and the mayor of Gosport, John Beavis.

After counting all the votes, the winners were: Autism Isolation No More (£1,000), Gosport Boxing Club (£2,000), FortonFest (£1,698), Music Fusion (£1,670), Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful (£1,000), Light Up Leesland (£2,601), and Gosport Street Pastors (£2,030).

Tammy Kent, 38, who organises FortonFest, was jumping for joy.

Normally she has to scrimp and save every penny, organising numerous fundraisers to get the cash for the summer extravaganza.

She said: ‘It’s just amazing.

‘The festival gets bigger every year and when it gets bigger, you need more money.

‘To get this from the people is fantastic. I would like to say a massive thank you to those who voted for me.’

Also with a beaming smile was Rachel Hodson, 33, who runs Autism Isolation No More.

Mrs Hodson has two children with autism and wanted to tackle the lonely existence many families seem to endure.

The group meets monthly at Moby’s Play and Party Venue in Fareham and aims to provide real support – as well as fun and laughs – for families with autistic children.

Mrs Hodson said: ‘This means everything.

‘I can really build the group up so it becomes self-sustaining. We can secure the venue for another year. We want to try and reach every single family in the area.’

Sam Mitchell, community engagement officer for Gosport Borough Council, said: ‘Lot of local residents came along to vote.

‘It ensures the community projects that are important to people do happen. It shows that small pots of money can make a massive difference.’