£64,000 fund made available in Babergh for good causes, events and community projects
- Credit: ARCHANT
A pot of cash in excess of £60,000 has been established by a Suffolk council to support groups and projects in the district.
Babergh District Council has established the locality grant scheme, which gives each councillor £2,000 to spend on supporting community groups, projects, events and good causes in their wards.
That pot, which totals £64,000, is expected to be an annual commitment, and is funded from the council’s existing transformation budget.
It has not been set up to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic as the authority’s Emerging Needs Grant has been set up specifically for that purpose.
Among the things the new locality grant scheme could fund are community fetes or galas, renovations for churches or village halls, or charitable causes.
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Conservative council leader John Ward said: “Councillors for Babergh District Council have wanted to create a locality awards scheme for some time.
“This type of scheme, already in place elsewhere in Suffolk and nationally, provides each councillor with a relatively modest amount of money to administer as community grants in their own ward.
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“This was provided for within the 2020/21 budget and has now been implemented, using officer delegated powers rather than through cabinet, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, meaning an individual grant pot is now available for each councillor.”
Locality budgets are common across councils, and utilise the local knowledge of each councillor to fund projects which can make the biggest impact in their area.
It also helps support smaller organisations and community activities which may not be eligible for other grant funding opportunities but still need financial assistance.
Independent councillor Derek Davis, cabinet member for communities, said: “This is a welcome decision, as having parity with other district councils has been hugely important for our councillors.
“We are grateful to our communities team for their work on this, as we know a small amount of money can make a big difference, meaning our locality award scheme can and will be of real benefit to Babergh communities.
“We recognise that in the current climate many community groups are playing a key role in protecting vulnerable residents and will be looking for financial help to cover increased costs incurred as a result of Covid-19.
“In response to this we have launched a dedicated Emerging Needs Grant, ensuring support is available quickly and easily for those who need it most.”
Groups which may benefit from locality grant cash should get in touch directly with their local district councillor.