COMMUNITY projects in Chester and Ellesmere Port are just a few hundred pounds away from being funded thanks to generous donations from the public, Cheshire West and Chester Council and the stand-in clerk from the infamous Handforth Parish Council, Jackie Weaver.

Projects such as repairing the pool at Chester City Baths with hand-crafted Victorian tiles, a new Ellesmere Port arts trail, a jubilee community film celebrating the generations of Cheshire West communities and a Christmas meal for mental health are just some of the projects in the borough which are close to or have already met their funding goals.

They are all visible on the Cheshire West Crowd section of crowdfunding platform Spacehive.

The crowdfunding page is similar to others of its type, in that projects get posted online and members of the public donate to help those projects reach their funding goal.

Spacehive projects, however, are more community-minded and aim to benefit local areas upon their completion.

They have been helped through Cheshire West and Chester Council, which not only runs the Cheshire West Crowd in partnership with Spacehive, but has also splashed the cash so several of those projects are much nearer their funding target, or have crossed the funding required.

Nearly £200,000 has been spent by the authority, which has allowed projects such as Crossroads Community Hub’s Greenway Grocer, Chapter Mental Health’s Christmas meal and Incredible Edible Westminster Park to be funded.

Crossroads Community Hub, by Hoole Baptist Church, provides emergency food to 100 families each month, and with the funding will now extend its food provision by providing affordable fruit and veg for low-income families experiencing food poverty via a 'Greenway Grocer'. The £20k funding will mean a Hub building can also be developed, welcoming people and providing a small café area.

Rev Andy Glover, Minister of Hoole Baptist Church, lead partner of Crossroads Community Hub, said: “The Hub began helping provide emergency food parcels to those specifically impacted by the pandemic and we’re now excited to have the opportunity to provide affordable food, alongside emergency food, through the Greenway Grocer project.

“It’s always been our desire to provide food to feed bodies and communities and fill hearts with hope through the work of the Hub.

“With the amazing support from Cheshire West and Chester Council through the Cheshire West Crowd platform on Spacehive, we can really begin to fulfil this dream.”

Another project funded is the Christmas Meal for Mental Health is being organised by the charity Chapter. It will take place in Chester as close to Christmas Day as possible. Last year the event could not be held due to Covid restrictions, but this year, now funding has been achieved, it is hoped about 45 people with serious mental ill-health will be provided with a Christmas event at a local hotel/venue, featuring meal and entertainment, a pick-me-up pack, a guest appearance from Santa and group activities.

Incredible Edible Westminster Park, also funded, will see a community food growing space set up on Castlecroft Road, with winter and spring vegetables for the community to harvest.

Jackie Weaver

Jackie Weaver

Several other projects in the borough are nearly there on community funding, with some receiving unexpected donations of at least £500 from Jackie Weaver.

Among them are Action Transport Theatre's Ellesmere Port Arts Trail, which at the time of publication is very close to hitting its funding goal. The arts trail in Whitby Park will aim to reach at least 4,000 people in the Port during next summer's holidays, and will include a live performance, free for families, in the Whitby Park Amphitheatre.

Ellesmere Port Arts Trail.

Ellesmere Port Arts Trail.

Another project which is well on its way to hitting its funding target of £41,788 is Chester City Baths, which is calling for funds to pay for hand-crafted Victorian replica bath tiles to replace those damaged at the Pacific Pool when it was drained during Covid lockdown. Water seepage caused damage to a large number of tiles, rendering the pool inoperable, meaning only the Atlantic Pool is running as normal, reducing the facility's income.

Other projects featured on the site include:

  • Ellesmere Port in Bloom seeking funds to revitalise ward planters and provide local volunteers with the tools required to keep the town looking in full bloom
  • Blacon Beacon seeking funds to buy more fresh fruit and veg so it can give healthy food bags to those who need them most
  • Kate Rayner seeking funds to allow vulnerable, isolated and often elderly people to go on free rides in electrically assisted trishaws so they can 'feel the wind in their hair again' as they go out and about.

The Cycling Without Age project in Chester.

The Cycling Without Age project in Chester.

  • Theatre in the Quarter seeking funds for a new musical film project to coincide with the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Celebration Weekend in June 2022, which will be performed by hundreds of people.
  • The Boaty Theatre Company has funded Ed's Riff Shop, a weekly men's group guitar class at The Boat Shed in Ellesmere Port, open for guitar players of all abilities.

Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, added: “Inspiring projects on the Cheshire West Crowd pitched to the Council and we’re delighted to have been able to support so many of them.

“These projects will no doubt make a real difference to our communities and it’s great to see some of them have already reached their targets.

“For those projects still crowdfunding, it’d be fantastic to see residents, businesses and funders get behind them through the Cheshire West Crowd.

“This platform is an innovative way for projects to raise funds and the whole community to come together.

“We’ll be developing the Cheshire West Crowd further in the coming months and there will be more funding rounds in the future so I’d encourage anyone with ideas to get involved.”

If you’re interested in putting forward an idea, the next deadline is Wednesday, March 23.