A new fund to help voluntary organisations save community assets, such as pubs, leisure centres, shops and theatres.
Last week UK Government launched its much anticipated Community Ownership Fund. As with the Levelling Up and Community Renewal Funds, the turnaround time for the first bidding round is tight. We expected the prospectus to be published by June but this was pushed back, with the first round eventually opening on July 15. Organisations have just over four weeks (13 August) to develop and submit their proposals to UK Government. If you haven’t already got something lined up, or the timeframe is just too problematic, there’ll be at least another seven bidding rounds spanning the next four years.
What is the Community Ownership Fund?
It’s a £150million, UK wide fund, set up to help communities take ownership of assets and amenities at risk of closure. It will support a range of community ownership project proposals, including: sporting and leisure facilities, shops, pubs, parks and music venues.
Who can apply?
The Fund is for community and voluntary organisations, such as: charitable incorporated organisations (CIO), co-operatives, Community Interest Companies (CICs) and not for profits limited by guarantee.
How will it be delivered?
It’s going to be delivered directly by UK government. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will benefit from a guaranteed allocation in line with per capita share. This means a minimum of £7.1million will be available for Wales.
How much is on offer?
Organisations can apply for matched capital grants of up to £250,000 for most projects. In exceptional circumstances, up to £1million matched capital grants will be available to help establish a community-owned sports club or buy a sports club or facility as risk of being lost. Revenue will not need to be matched and organisations can apply for up to £50,000 (and no more than 20% of total capital costs applied for).
What about match funding?
Sourcing match funding will be an issue for many voluntary organisations. Some organisations may be eligible and able to secure that funding for their Community Ownership Fund project through Social Investment Cymru (SIC). Contact the SIC team to find out more: firstname.lastname@example.org.
15 July 2021 First bidding round opened
13 August 2021 First bidding round will close
December 2021 Second bidding round will open
May 2022 Third bidding round will open
The Fund will run until 2024/25, with at least eight bidding rounds in total.
The Fund’s prospectus, assessment criteria guidance and application form can all be found on the UK government’s website.