Thursday, 16 January 2014

Community Facilities Programme – a grant scheme for community led capital improvement projects

The Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty and the Deputy Minister for Tackling Poverty launched the Community Facilities Programme on 9 January 2014. The scheme will open for business on Monday 3 February 2014 and application forms will be available from this date.

The Community Facilities Programme is a capital grant fund which aims to develop and improve community facilities which in turn provide services that communities need in order to tackle poverty and its effects.
The Programme will be open to projects throughout Wales. Applications will need to demonstrate that the facility to be improved is:
              Needed and used by the community and offering services not duplicated in the surrounding area;
              Providing services which prevent or mitigate poverty and its effects;
              Reintroducing or preventing the loss of community services;
              Supported by and developed along with the local community;
              Strategic and can demonstrate this by evidencing it has the support of the local authority, local County Voluntary Council, Local Health Board or similar partner; and

              Sustainable over the medium to long term.

The Programme is community based, and will be open to community and voluntary sector organisations, including social enterprises. The focus of the programme will be on increasing opportunity and tackling poverty. The Welsh Government recognises that in order to do this we need to improve the health and wellbeing; opportunities for lifelong learning; and economic prospects of the individual members of our most vulnerable communities.
We want to see applications that are community led and developed in partnership with community, public and private sector partners. The co-location of organisations providing services such as credit union access, local health services, post office services, youth services, sports facilities, library services, etc. is encouraged.

The funding criteria
Capital grants will typically be available to a maximum of £500,000. For exceptional projects that can also demonstrate difficulties in attracting funding from other sources, this maximum could be exceeded.
Grants will be available for capital works to provide or improve community facilities which are preventing or tackling poverty by offering one or more of the following services:
              Providing, safeguarding or re-introducing a valuable community service such as access to a credit union, post office, library, last shop/retail outlet in the area;
              Hosting skills based or other accredited training to improve the job prospects of individual beneficiaries;
              Hosting local health services, exercise or healthy living activities;
              Providing community IT access, broadband access and/or IT training to aid digital inclusion;
              Hosting a foodbank, food co-operative, access to advice services or other activity which prevents or seeks to mitigate the effects of poverty;
              Hosting activities delivered through a Welsh Government tackling poverty programme such as Communities First or Families First;
              Encouraging the co-location of local groups and service providers to improve the overall sustainability of the facility;
              Making the most of available funding by avoiding the duplication of services and working with other local partners in the community, public and private sectors to improve the life chances of local people.

Applications will be invited from community led projects fitting the published criteria. The Community Facilities Programme will be a rolling grant programme which means that applications can be submitted at any time; there will be no formal funding rounds.
Applications must be able to demonstrate that the facility is sustainable and so must be accompanied by a business plan and supported by annual accounts where available.
The application process will be in two stages. Stage one will be a short application which will be used to assess eligibility and fit to the scheme criteria, i.e. the tackling poverty agenda. Applicants will get a response to stage one in 20 working days. Stage two will require the submission of a business plan. The two stage process will help to ensure that projects that are not a good fit for the funding criteria do not waste resources developing an application which has little chance of succeeding.
Potential applicants will be expected to work with their local authorities and CVCs as well as the local community in order to develop their applications.

Further information
You can get information and register for an application pack by contacting the
Community Grants team as follows:
            South East Wales:               Mike O’Shea on 0300 062 8612
North and Mid Wales:         Nesta Doughty on 0300 062 5627
West Wales:                          Helen Brown on 0300 062 8265
If above are unavailable:    Lisa Clarridge on 0300 062 8307

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