From small beginnings a group of volunteers have worked tirelessly to improve an Isle community, funding organisations, providing newsletters and directories and enhancing the environment with floral displays and a dedicated bridleway.
Crowle and Ealand Regeneration Project Ltd (known as Regen) first sprang to life with a meeting in April 1997, formally registering with Companies House in February 1998.
Initially the band of willing helpers got together to raise cash to build a new community hall, and since then have gone on to even bigger and better things.
Secretary David Kaye spoke to the Bells/Advertiser about what the group has achieved in the last 20 years.
“Initially the purpose of Regen was to raise money to improve the facilities for the local community,” he said. “The specific project was to build a community hall, Ealand had the Victory Hall but Crowle didn’t have one. That was the start.
“A band of interested volunteers found premises in the town to rent to set up a charity shop.
“We were able to raise our own money by people donating household items and clothes and these were then sold, but money has also come from grants and other community bodies - the Wind Farm Fund more recently.”
The group’s ongoing expenditure is varied. Principally it provides the flowers and floral arrangements for Crowle and Ealand, such as hanging baskets throughout the summer and winter planters, also it provides the village entrance signs.
“All of that is provided by us, and also maintenance such as the daffodils on the A161 in the spring.
“People think it’s the local authority that have done this but it’s not, it’s Regen,” David added.
The other major project is the Regen Way, this is a ten mile circular walk around Crowle and Ealand which is signposted as a bridleway. There are annual organised walks and guide books available at the group’s expense.
“We are also known for The Services Directory, a glossy booklet that is hand delivered to the village containing local businesses and services, this was updated last year. New businesses coming into the area seek us out to be included, it includes a variety of professions.
“On a more frequent basis we have the Regen News, three times a year, it contains articles about local groups and newsworthy items with very few advertisements, this is hand delivered by our volunteers.”
The group is made up of nine directors and 30 volunteers, the majority volunteer in the shop.
“It’s not just for old people, it’s for young people who want to help the community, there are a spread of ages, retited people obviously have more time to give but the young people, some in their 20s, are devoted to us too and are very willing.
One important service Regen supply is funding for community groups.
David explained: “Anyone can apply to us for funding for any undertaking, the local blind group, for example, apply for funding to pay for the coach which takes them to the coast.
“We can’t make cash donations but we can purchase things and we do that on an ongoing basis.
“We encourage people to apply, just write to us. Year on year as the shop improves its turnover there’s more funds available.
“Crowle Methodist Church needs its organ refurbishing and these things always cost a small fortune. We have said that if they provide the invoice for some specific item of repair, it will cost £1,500 in total, we will contribuute a third of that.
“We also continue to help and support other organisations these have included the purchase of tables for Crowle Playing Field Association, musical instruments for Outreach members, help with equipment for Friends of Ealand Park, a shed for Crowle Primary School, a Coomber Box for St Norbert’s Primary School, help to both Ealand and Crowle Methodist Chapels and Crowle Lights.”
If you would like to learn more about Crowle and Ealand Regeneration Project Ltd, or want to get involved, contact David on 01724 712221.