News release from 06/09/2018

Community Chest to focus on boosting grass-roots projects

Community Chest to focus on boosting grass-roots projects

Changes to South Cambridgeshire District Council’s popular Community Chest grants will see funding targeted at local grass-roots projects that benefit those residents most in need.

The Council has funded the scheme since 2011, handing out more than £460,000 in grants to local good causes in that time.

Following a review of the schemes’ criteria by the authority’s recently established Grants Advisory Committee, some changes were recommended to ensure funding has the best chance of reaching those residents and projects that will most benefit. These alterations were agreed at a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday 5 September.

The changes include targeting village groups and projects that help to build a sense of community, and those that work to reach people who are lonely or socially isolated. Councillors also say they are keen schemes that help to promote young people’s skills are given a greater chance of successfully bidding for funding than previously was the case.

The new guidance for the Community Chest states that applicants must be non-profit groups or organisations based in South Cambridgeshire, or benefiting the district’s residents. The community activity or project must achieve one or more of the following aims:

  • Help promote health and active communities
  • Enable inclusive communities
  • Develop skills
  • Enhance the natural environment
  • Meet local need and leave a legacy for the community
  • Ensure equality of access

This could include funding improvements to community buildings, land or spaces, repairs to historic buildings, monuments or memorials, the purchase of equipment, materials or start-up costs.

The smallest parishes, that only receive small precepts to their Parish Councils or Meetings due to their population size, will still be able to apply for Community Chest funding. This includes Childerley, Papworth St Agnes, Knapwell, Bartlow, Shingay-Cum-Wendy, Conington, Lolworth, Abington Pigotts, Croxton, Tadlow, Carlton and Longstowe.

However, the scheme will no longer be open to Parish Councils with more than 160 registered electors. This is because, the larger villages are, the more funding their local Parish Council can raise on their own via their dedicated Council Tax precepts.

The revised grant scheme will reopen by the end of autumn. The maximum total amount given to any initiative within a single financial year will be £1,000. Half the funding will become available in April, the second half in October each year.

Chair of South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Grants Advisory Committee, Cllr Jose Hales, said: “Our cross-party panel has taken a long and hard look at this popular grant scheme. Our focus has been to modernise it so the Community Chest really does benefit the residents and groups in South Cambridgeshire that need help most, but generally have the fewest funding options open to them. I’m really pleased our recommendations were agreed by Cabinet and looking forward to seeing the difference they’ll make to residents.”

The Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Finance, Cllr John Williams, added: “I’m looking forward to receiving lots of applications for our new Community Chest scheme. The community groups that this new arrangement will help fund make such a difference to the lives of our residents and are fully deserving of our contributions. I’d urge groups thinking of applying to bid as soon as possible when the bidding process opens, so do keep an eye on the Council website for confirmation of when this will be.” 

A separate decision was made at the Cabinet meeting about where to target more than £400,000 worth of support grants during the next three years. These Service Support Grants help voluntary and community sector organisations in South Cambridgeshire deliver work that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to. Cabinet members approved proposals for a total of £435,000 to be targeted at organisations that work in the following areas:

  • General and specialist welfare advice
  • Community transport
  • Independent living
  • Fit to learn
  • Supporting parishes and communities
  • Preventing and tackling homelessness

The agenda and reports for the Cabinet meeting, when the community chest criteria and three year service support grants criteria were approved, are available on this part of our website.