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£1m up for grabs

A prize fund of £1 million is up for grabs for local communities as a result of the rising Landfill Tax.

Waste Recycling Group has launched the 2005 Village Hall and Community Centre Challenge to distribute its Landfill Tax Credits.

Winners must use the money to build, refurbish or extend a community centre. Up to 6% of a waste firm's Landfill Tax bill can be invested into community projects.

The waste management firm last week gave away £800,000 to eight companies that made the finals of the inaugural 2004 competition.

The villages of Outwell in Norfolk and Branston Booths near Lincoln each won £250,000, while six finalists claimed £50,000 each.

Among other things, these awards will mean Cambridgeshire County League football club Outwell Swifts having a ground to call its own.

MP Gwyneth Dunwoody launched the 2005 competition. She said: "The success of the 2004 Challenge indicates the level of need there is within many communities across the UK for meeting places and social areas.

"Village halls and community centres perform a wide range of vital functions and help to deliver community cohesion and unity."

Police officer Paul Chapman, who masterminded Outwell's successful Challenge entry, added: "This is fantastic news and will have a great impact on the community of Outwell. We've been campaigning for a hall since 1966 but funding has always been the major stumbling block to developing facilities.

"Now we have that in place it will be all systems go and a large number of organisations and sporting clubs, including Outwell Swifts FC, will now have a place they can call home."

The deadline for applications is July 31. Information from www.wren.org.uk.

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