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Netherfield centres celebrate after winning more than £173,000 in National Lottery funding

The funding will pay for significant improvements to the town's LOCO youth centre and St George’s Centre

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March 30 is a day Tina Simpson will never forget. 

A £173,768 funding offer letter, from The National Lottery Community Fund, was sent to the Netherfield Forum where she has been working as a volunteer since 2006. 

In her 17 years of dedication to the Netherfield community, this is the largest amount of funding Mrs Simpson and her team have ever received. 

It took them one year, with the first stages starting in early 2022, to finally seize the award. 

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The fund aims to bring significant improvement to the Forum’s two centres, LOCO youth centre and St George’s Centre which offer a community hub and events for both youngsters and elderly citizens. 

As treasurer of the Netherfield Forum and manager of the two centres, Mrs Simpson hopes that the award will be a great source of encouragement not only for the group but also for the whole community. 

The 67-year-old said: “This award is not just for the centre, it’s for the community of Netherfield. 

“The money will be used to finalise the refurbishment of the LOCO youth centre and the St George’s Centre which started a couple of years ago. 

“The rest of the funding will be for a new roof on the Shunter’s Cafe and a new solar panel to cope with the economic crisis. 

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“Our centres help bring the community together and provide people with safe havens and advice, it’s a springboard to bigger and better things. 

“Having growth within the community will definitely give everybody uplift and hope.” 

Behind that great success is the unseen hard work, dedication, and persistence of the whole team. 

She said: “I feel very elated, very grateful, very humble. All those things mixed in together. 

“It was a long process, we had to go through many different stages to win the award. When we finally got the offer, the feeling was wonderful. 

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“It’s the largest amount of funding that I’ve raised and been awarded. It has also been the biggest since St George’s Centre received £1.2million when the Forum started building it in 1999. 

“It was a lot of work, but we made it easier by working together, as a team.” 

After moving to Nottingham in 1989, Mrs Simpson has “tirelessly” devoted to charity work for the Netherfield community. 

She joined the Netherfield Forum in 2006. Since then, she has implemented a number of new programmes at the centre, including apprentice schemes and funded dinners for families. 

The centre received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Work in 2014 as a result of Mrs Simpson’s efforts to make the centre a self-sustaining institution. 

In November, she was awarded a top prize at the Pride of Gedling awards after helping serve more than 35,000 meals to the community during the pandemic. 

For the grandmother of three, there is no “secret” to her success and desire for the community. 

She said: “There is no magic formula. It’s about having your feet on the ground and listening to people about what they want or what their need is and then see if you can fulfil them. 

“Of course, receiving these awards means that what we’ve been doing is recognised and appreciated. However, I don’t do any of this for any award, I do it because I want to be a part of the community. 

“Recently, a young girl whom we help brought me a bag of sweets. When I asked her what it was for, she said that it was ‘for being so nice to her’, and that’s one of the biggest awards. 

“I enjoy helping people. Netherfield has a fantastic community spirit with amazing people and it’s a lovely place to be.” 

The upgrades to the centres are expected to be completed within the next six to nine months. 

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