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Heston finally gets grant after eight-year wait

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Sport
Heston finally gets grant after eight-year wait

A DUMFRIES based football club has finally netted nearly £40,000 from Dumfries and Galloway Council following an eight-year wait for the cash.
Nithsdale area committee approved updated proposals on Wednesday for new facilities from Heston Rovers, granting the club £39,448.
The confirmation of the grant – which was first applied for in 2015 – means that the club can now tap into further funding from the Scottish Football Association, which will increase their budget to over £100,000.
The cash is to be spent on making alterations to the alarm/door system at St Joseph’s College, where they use the 3G pitch, make improvements to the pitch, build a dugout/sport shelters, create a covered spectator area, and also make improvements to grass pitches at their Maryfield base nearby.
While councillors unanimously supported approving the grant application, some were not happy that the five-figure sum was ringfenced for eight years due to various stumbling blocks over the years.
Mid and Upper Nithsdale Councillor Jim Dempster said: “I wonder how often we could have used that £40,000 to support needy projects from 2015 until now.
“How this has managed to avoid coming to members’ attention over an eight-year period just escapes me.
“It’s not about Heston Rovers, it’s about council policy and our procedures.
“Are we saying now that every time we give someone a grant they just change the grant requirement, change the grant style, and revisit the money completely? The process is quite clear: if the grant is not used for the purpose it’s intended for, it goes back to the service committee.Then another application is brought forward for us to consider, along with every other grant application that we receive in that calendar year.”
Provost Maureen Johnstone, chairwoman of Nithsdale area committee, said: “I share similar concerns on this.”
Council officer Derek Hextall, who has been working alongside Heston Rovers on bringing forward their updated grant application, said: “There’s been a number of issues that the organisation have had to work through to bring back a future proposal. I think it was always the intention to bring back an updated proposal once discussions had taken place.
“An officer has always been in contact and supporting the group in terms of developing these proposals – and ensuring that the investment agreed by Nithsdale area committee does deliver what was originally intended.”
Nith Councillor Malcolm Johnstone said: “I’m looking at this almost as if it’s a new application. If this was a new application presented to us, I don’t think there would be any problem with anyone supporting it.”

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