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Christmas has come early for an estate after it won a £1million grant for major improvements.

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Residents at the Elthorne estate, off Elthorne Road, Archway are celebrating after becoming the only place in the borough to be awarded a Big Lottery Fund grant from a special programme.

The cash will be paid over 10 years and it will be up to the 3,500 residents who live there to decide how best to spend it.

A council spokesman said people living there had complained about a lack of identity enjoyed by other estates in terms of resident involvement and community facilities, with high unemployment, anti-social behaviour, a shortfall in youth provision and poor quality of green space also among the problems facing residents.

The neighbouring Grovedale and Fairbridge estates, as well as Bowerman Court will also benefit from the cash.

Cllr Barbara Sidnell, Islington Council’s executive member for tenants, residents and communities, said: “This is tremendous news and the timing could not be better – an early Christmas present for The Elthorne.

“It’s a great opportunity for the estate which has many low income and workless households.

“Residents will decide how they want the money spent and I’m looking forward to seeing the results.”

The funding can be used for anything from starting up social enterprises and addressing unemployment, to tackling local issues or providing more activities and services for people.

Mike Sherriff, chief executive of Voluntary Action Islington, said: “Voluntary Action Islington is delighted that funds from the Big Lottery Fund have been allocated to Elthorne Estates to help residents improve the area.

“The 10 year commitment to support is especially welcome and is a great opportunity for residents to lead on developing activities that are most relevant to meeting local needs.”

Any improvements will complement those already planned for communal areas, including upgrades to play areas and better estate lighting.

In addition, there are two new build schemes nearing completion which will bring 13 new social housing properties to the area.

The Elthorne Estate is one of 150 small areas across England receiving funding from the Big Lottery Fund’s Big Local Programme.

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