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Yes and no - a tale of two funding requests

Wednesday, 23rd February 2011.

Two pleas for funding met with two very different responses from Haverhill Town Councillors yesterday.

Haverhill Flower Club, who asked for 2,000 towards a flower festival in St Mary's Church in 2013 to celebrate their 50th anniversary, left empty-handed.

St Felix Roman Catholic Church asked for financial help towards landscaping and car parking at their planned new church, and came away with 5,000 and the promise of a lot more.

Val Phillips of the flower club said the festival would cost 3,950 to stage, and they would aim to raise the rest of this themselves.

Proceeds from admission would all go to St Mary's Church, and the vicar, the Rev Ian Finn, was supportive of the idea.

They needed some re-assurance that funding would be available before they went ahead, and they had to book the church for the five days well in advance to avoid clashes with weddings.

But Cllr Margaret Marks said she was 'not best pleased' by the request as the club had not asked anyone else for funding.

Also, as proceeds were all going to St Mary's it was the equivalent of the council giving the money to the church.

"We have 400 families in Haverhill using the Foodbank, so I cannot agree to us supporting something as glamorous as a flower festival," she said.

Members refused the request and told the club to look for sponsorship, but to come back to them nearer the time if they were still short of their target.

Members then heard about St Felix's plans for a new church, which it is hoped will be started on site in April and finished in time for Christmas, at a cost of nearly 1million.

The church has raised 816,000, and will be borrowing 100,000 from its diocese. It now has 300 regular members, has 12 ethnic groups, and has outgrown its temporary concrete building on the Parkway estate, opened in 1965.

Cllr Marks said this was a 'wonderful' project for Haverhill, a community project with long-term benefit, and should be supported.

Cllr Maureen Byrne said the church design looked splendid and the new layout would be 'fantastic for that part of Haverhill'.

Cllr Paul McManus said he was very impressed with the integration of the many ethnic groups at the church. "They are all part of our town and our community," he said, "and it is time we had a Catholic church to do us proud."

Members agreed to fund the 5,000 estimated for soft landscaping of trees etc straightaway, and to consider significant help towards the 40,000 cost of hard landscaping of the actual car park.

Haverhill Online News

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