Vicky memorial grant still needs time

FOOTBALL charity bosses say it could be five months before they give the grant needed to turn the dream of a memorial to murdered teenager Vicky Hall into reality.

By Richard Cornwell

FOOTBALL charity bosses say it could be five months before they give the grant needed to turn the dream of a memorial to murdered teenager Vicky Hall into reality.

But they hope it will be much sooner!

The Football Foundation has received the application for £140,000 for a sports pavilion to bear schoolgirl Vicky's name in Trimley St Mary.

This week their regional assessors are expected to begin examining the detail of the application and its merits.

Foundation spokesman Simon Taylor said: "It takes 15 to 20 weeks to decide an application depending on the size of the grant requested, the complexity of the application and how much relevant information has been provided.

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"Applications for grants of less than £20,000 can be decided in ten weeks.

"But each case is different. The regional assessors begin work on a new application very quickly and we hope to get each one completed as quickly as possible so projects are not delayed.

"We very much hope that will be the case with the Vicky Hall Memorial."

The application went off to the foundation's London offices in December and Bob Race, chairman of Trimley Red Devils football club, which will manage the pavilion when it is built, said he had already received an acknowledgement.

"Everyone involved just hopes it will be dealt with quickly but the application has to go through the process and we know that can take time," he said.

"We sent as perfect an application as we could with as much information as possible and now we will wait and see what the assessors say.

"There is still other work which the trustees can be doing while we wait – including completing the lease for the land and starting work on tender documents for the construction of the pavilion."

The memorial appeal – spearheaded by the Evening Star – has so far raised more than £80,000, thanks to grants from councils, donations from businesses and the fantastic fundraising efforts of local people and groups.

The pavilion will be constructed on the Stennetts Memorial Playing Field. The Red Devils, which run football teams for players aged seven to 17, will manage it, but it will also be used by cricketers and for small community events.

Vicky's parents Graham and Lorinda have been delighted with the fundraising and the tremendous support the memorial fund has received from the public.

It has been a great comfort to them since their 17-year-old daughter vanished as she walked home with best friend Gemma Algar from a Felixstowe nightclub more than three years ago.

WEBLINKS: www.footballfoundation.org.uk

FASTFACTS

n September 19, 1999 . . . Vicky Hall vanishes after walking home to Trimley from a night out in Felixstowe. Five days later her naked body is found in a ditch 25 miles away at Creeting St Peter.

n December 1999: Evening Star and Vicky's parents Graham and Lorinda launch an appeal to build a sports pavilion for young people in her memory.

n 2000: Planning permission granted for a pavilion to feature four changing rooms, showers, toilets, including facilities for people with a disability, first aid area, cleaner's room, kitchen, storage, and referee's changing areas.

n 2000: Grants agreed by Trimley St Mary Parish Council, Suffolk Coastal, and Suffolk Environmental Trust.

n 2001: Fantastic support from the community as everyone pulls together to organise a wide range of fundraising events with activities every month.

n Summer 2002: Celebrations as appeal hits £80,000 – the benchmark for making an application to the Football Foundation for major grant aid.

n December 2002: After months of work, the application to the Football Foundation is submitted, seeking up to £140,000 to complete the project.

LAUNCHED two years ago, the Football Foundation is the largest sports charity in the UK.

It was set up by the football authorities and the government to provide investment into the grass roots of football.

It represents a unique partnership of the FA Premier League, Football Association, and Department of Culture, Media and Sport, who jointly contribute £53m a year to be given as grant aid.

The foundation aims to help provide facilities for football and other games and sports, particularly for those who have the needs because of youth, age infirmity or disablement, poverty or social and economic circumstances.

It also helps projects to educate children and young people by developing their physical, mental, social and moral capacities through participation in organised recreational activities.

This helps to promote good citizenship and assist them in growing to full maturity as individuals and members of society.

Projects supported so far include modern facilities in parks, local leagues and schools, and schemes to strengthen the links between football and the community to harness its potential as a force for good in society.

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