VILLAGES near Oswestry are about to get a big say in how a £1 million lottery windfall should be spent.
Over 12 months ago the Big Local Lottery Fund announced the villages of St Martins, Weston Rhyn and Gobowen, had been chosen to receive the lottery grant.
Now a major consultation campaign will get under way to find out what people think the money should be spent on. The villages are one of just 50 places across Britain and the only area in Shropshire to be chosen for the massive cash injection.
The neighbourhoods have all been chosen because people face social obstacles and have a history of difficulty in getting their hands on resources.
This week those heading up the committee looking at how the funding could best help the area, decided to approach organisations and individuals to draw up a plan.
The first phase funding of £10,000 has been spent on talking to the community and drawing up a research, publicity and questionnaires in the villages, helping village newsletters and printing a community directory of locally run activities in the villages.
Laurel Roberts, one of those involved, said phase two of the project was all about gathering detailed information and investigating various community needs. This will be funded by a further £20,000.
Councillor Ron Jones, chairman of Selattyn and Gobowen Parish Council, said he accepted residents were keen to see progress being made but stressed it was vital the funding was spent on the right projects.
He said: “I am as anxious as anybody else to see the funding being used but we must have the right projects.
“The challenge is to the community to get involved in the process and come up with ideas on how the money can best be spent.
“I have two ideas personally which I think should be investigated further.
“One would be to help the area’s young to get into the workplace, perhaps a programme where older more experience people show them basic skills such as plumbing and electrical work.
“Many youngsters these days have never held a hammer or would not have a clue how to fix a tap.
“I know there would be no job at the end of it but it would teach them the basic skills and give them that vital experience they need.
“I also think we should look at more allotments. The new one in Gobowen has been hugely successful and popular. More people will be looking at growing their own because food is getting more and more expensive.
Anyone who is interested in getting involved should contact Laurel Roberts at The Qube in Oswestry on (01691) 686882.