Consulting on Community Funding Scheme before relaunch

05 Jul 2017

Plans to revise and re-launch a much valued community funding scheme are currently being considered by Northumberland County Council.
 
One of the key improvements to the scheme  will be a new grant aimed specifically at the under 18s.
 
Proposals for the future operation of the Northumberland Community Chest Scheme will be put before the five new local area councils to seek their views.
 
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 those under 18 in pursuing a particular ambition.

It is proposed that both the local and countywide elements of the community chest are retained. For local schemes, there will be a £5,000  upper grant limit with a maximum award of 75% of the cost of any proposal.

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.
 
The community chest fund has been in operation in Northumberland since 2009 and over its lifetime 1,450 awards have been made to  voluntary and community groups  totalling £2.6million to develop projects that enhance the environment, improve health and wellbeing and strengthen communities.

Leader of Northumberland County Council, Peter Jackson said:  “We know how helpful  and appreciated the community chest fund has been and how it has benefited so many communities across the county.

“We have been reviewing the scheme and feel there is some room to  improve it. One of the most exciting aspects is our plan  to widen the appeal of the fund to the younger generation. We are proposing to introduce a grant dedicated to individuals under 18s, called Help For You,  to help  them pursue their ambitions whether they be sporting, musical or academic.”

“ We also want to ensure there is a consistent approach in assessing projects across the county.   As part of this, we propose that the community chest budget will be managed and allocated locally with  funding allocations for each area council , based broadly on the population living within that area.”
 
In future it is proposed that each local area council will have the flexibility to identify particular priority themes which are seen as particularly relevant to their communities.  
 
As part of this, both the Ashington & Blyth and Cramlington, Bedlington & Seaton Valley local area councils will have the scope to ring fence an element of their allocations to specifically support the social welfare centres within their areas.

Once all local comments have been taken into account, the scheme will be re-launched at the end of July. The  deadline for the first round of applications is scheduled for Friday 29 September.