A much valued community funding scheme has been improved and relaunched by Northumberland County Council.
One of the key improvements to the authority’s Community Chest Fund is a new grant aimed specifically at the under 18s.
Under the new plans there will be a ‘Help For You’ scheme for young people. Grants of up to £200 will be available to help individuals under 18 in pursuing a particular ambition – whether it is sporting, musical or academic.
Previous local and countywide elements of the community chest have been retained following a review and the authority is committing £375,300 this year to the fund.
For local schemes, there will be a £5,000 upper grant limit with a maximum award of 75% of the cost of any proposal. These will be managed and allocated by Northumberland’s five local area councils.
Each local area council will also have the flexibility to identify particular priority themes which are seen as particularly relevant to their communities.
For the countywide element, the pot has been doubled to £60,000. There will be no upper grant limit, but the maximum grant award will be 75% of the project’s costs.
Leader of Northumberland County Council, Peter Jackson said: “We are delighted to relaunch this much valued community funding scheme. We know that it has been of great benefit to communities across the county and wished to make sure that this benefit is enhanced in the future.
“We have listened to views during a review and feel that we have made some very helpful changes.
One of the most exciting improvements is that we have widened the appeal of the fund to the younger generation. We have introduced a grant specifically dedicated to individuals under 18s, called Help For You. This is aimed at assisting young people to pursue their ambitions which could be sporting, musical or academic.
“We have also ensured that there is a consistent approach to assessing projects across the county, with the community chest budget managed and allocated locally by each area council and based broadly on the population living within that area.”
The community chest fund has been in operation in Northumberland since 2009 and over its lifetime 1,450 awards totalling £2.6million have been made to voluntary and community groups to develop projects that enhance the environment, improve health and wellbeing and strengthen communities.
Key features of the scheme are:
- A ‘Help For You’ scheme for young people;
- Community chest budgets managed and allocated by local area councils;
- The budget for each area council based on the population living in that area;
- Local area councils able to identify funding themes relevant to their communities;
- For local schemes, a £5,000 upper grant limit with a maximum award of 75% of the cost of any proposal;
- The countywide element of the fund doubled to £60,000, with no upper limit but the maximum grant award of 75% of the project’s costs, and
- Two funding rounds each year.
To apply to the fund you can go to www.northumberland.gov.uk and type in ‘Community Chest’ in the search box.
The deadline for the first round of applications is scheduled for Friday 29 September and the second 12 January 2018.