National Lottery grant kickstarts refurbishment project for The Oval Bandstand

The Oval Bandstand refurb project

GRASS Cliftonville group has been awarded a National Lottery grant from the Community fund to start initial works at The Oval Bandstand.

The grant of £10,000 will be used towards initial refurbishment of the bandstand and, combined with money received from a crowdfunder and match funding from Power to Change, gives The Oval Bandstand project an encouraging start.

Thanet council placed the site, on Ethelbert Crescent, up for disposal in January 2019 with the method of sale via Community Asset Transfer

Several groups submitted bids but it was residents group Gordon Road Area Street Scheme (GRASS) that proved successful. The group serves the Oval’s surrounding streets and has already hosted free events at the site including the Cliftonville Games and outdoor cinema screenings.

The bid was backed by the Cliftonville Residents Association, headed up by June Chadband, which still holds regular farmers’ markets at the site

GRASS Cliftonville secretary Stephen Darrer said: “We are hugely honoured and appreciative that the National Lottery selected us as the recipients of this grant. We are aiming to complete the freehold transfer any day now, working closely in collaboration with Thanet District Council and, once we officially become custodians of the site, we can start the urgent improvement works and get the site up and running for the community.

“Outdoor Covid safe events will be needed more than ever as we come out of lockdown, especially over the coming summer months.

“We are extremely excited and have lots of collaborative community projects in the pipeline including outdoor cinema screenings, a live orchestra, immersive cinema with live music, outdoor theatre, as well as a season of ‘Summer Sundays’ live music returning to the bandstand.

GRASS members at the Oval Bandstand

“We are looking for sponsors so if your business would like to sponsor one of our live music events, or any of our events, at the bandstand please do get in touch at

“We are also in talks with Margate Pride and are hoping to support the return of the event to The Oval Bandstand later this summer.

“Most importantly, we would like to thank Thanet council for its co-operation and support and look forward to completing the freehold transfer. We believe  the council realises the massively important contribution community organisations like GRASS Cliftonville make to the Margate landscape.

“The whole team at the council has been working hard to ensure a swift transfer that works for the best interests of the community. It will no doubt be a day of celebration when we complete the transfer and receive the keys!”