Healing Waves and Durrell among stimulus-fund beneficiaries

A NEW gorilla enclosure, a school sports centre and a disability surf hub are among the projects which have been awarded government funding to try to boost the economic recovery following the pandemic.

Madison Farrell (8) having fun in the sun at Le Braye in April with Healing Waves. Picture: JON GUEGAN. (31072737)
Madison Farrell (8) having fun in the sun at Le Braye in April with Healing Waves. Picture: JON GUEGAN. (31072737)

A total of £6.8 million has been distributed in the second tranche of allocations from the Fiscal Stimulus Fund.

The money awarded includes:

  • £980,000 to the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust for a new gorilla enclosure.

  • £2.16 million to the National Trust for Jersey to turn Morel Farm in St Lawrence into tourist accommodation, with bed-and-breakfast and glamping facilities.

  • £1.5 million to Beaulieu School for a new sports complex.

  • £10,448 for Jersey Action Against Rape to provide extra counselling.

  • £411,000 to ocean-therapy charity Healing Waves to help build an adaptive surf centre at Le Braye in St Ouen’s Bay.

Treasury Minister Susie Pinel said: ‘This second round of fiscal stimulus funding will support projects to protect our heritage, provide sports facilities and support those who have need for special counselling services or for a specific schooling programme run by Every Child Our Future.’

Earlier this year £22.8 million was awarded to 30 projects in the first tranche of funding.

A further 16 projects were moved into the second tranche, which also saw 65 new applications. Of these applications, 26 projects – totalling £36 million – were invited to provide a business case and were considered for funding.

Of these projects, 17 were deemed to meet the criteria, which required organisations to provide a temporary, targeted and timely project for a budget of up to £5 million.

A Fiscal Stimulus Oversight Group – comprising senior civil servants – was set up to oversee the programme.

While Deputy Pinel took the final decision on applications, she received recommendations and comments from the oversight group, the Economic Recovery Political Oversight group and the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel.

A total of £30 million has now been granted from the fund’s original pot of £50 million. Discussions are due to be held about whether to allocate the remaining £20 million and, if so, how.

A spokesperson for the National Trust for Jersey said they were ‘delighted’ to have secured the grant.

‘As well as securing the future of this historic farmstead, the project will deliver much-needed and truly authentic tourism accommodation with a farm bed and breakfast and glamping within the beautiful rural surroundings of St Lawrence,’ they said. ‘While the initial phases of the project will benefit the construction industry, it is our intention to utilise smaller contractors with a high traditional skill base as well as specialists within the renewable-energy sector and ecological consultants. We are also determined to ensure that there is a long-term tangible legacy,’ they added.

Dr Lesley Dickie, chief executive of Durrell, said she was ‘extremely grateful’ for the organisation’s grant.

‘Having raised the majority of the funds needed before the pandemic, starting with our Go Wild Gorillas campaign in 2019, this grant marks a huge step forward for us in looking after our beautiful gorillas, enhancing the experience for our visitors and improving the building for our dedicated staff,’ she said.

‘This fantastic news means that we are now able to proceed with the preparatory works for Jersey Zoo’s new indoor gorilla house, which has been a long time in the planning.’

Chris Beirne, chief executive and headmaster of Beaulieu Convent School, said the grant given to the school would allow them to embark on ‘vital work’ which would help to future-proof the school for years to come.

‘The impact on sport at Beaulieu will be phenomenal and we are thrilled to be able to offer the opportunity to enjoy these fantastic new facilities not only to our own students, but to those in other schools, as well as to sports enthusiasts across our Island,’ he said.

Meanwhile, £30,000 has been granted to the Jersey Association of Youth and Friendship to help with maintenance work on four of their hostels which provide bedsit accommodation for young people.

Alan Binnington, chairman of the association, said the grant was extremely important in helping them to support young people who had been placed in a vulnerable position as a result of the pandemic.

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