Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie is urging people who want to save their pub or a valued amenity like a community centre or playground to apply to the government’s Community Ownership Fund.
The £150 million initiative is offering several rounds and windows for groups to apply to save a community asset in danger of closure as part of the government’s Levelling Up agenda.
Individual organisations can submit applications and money is awarded to bids that meet the criteria of making a genuine and meaningful difference to communities.
Match funding levels have been lowered and the funding cap increased to £2 million in the latest round, the Siobhan said.
The MP is supporting several projects to help communities buy and run much-loved assets such as Nympsfield Village Hall and the Old Neighbourhood Inn at Chalford Hill. They are preparing business cases for funding, the MP said.
“This fund is a great way for government to promote local people power by taking over much-loved, needed and respected community assets and then running them as businesses for the benefit of the community,” said Ms Baillie.
“The Ministers are making it easier for local groups to come together and seek funding to take over and run things like pubs and village halls by doubling the funding award. Match funding is really important to show local commitment but how much needs to be raised by the community is now lower to assist communities.
“Support to develop applications and business cases for applicants is also now available in some cases.
“If any group wants to get in touch to talk to me about the fund, seek my support or if they need advice, then please do email. I would be happy to help.”
The Fund will be running until March 2025 with four bidding windows per financial year, so there is ample opportunity for groups to work on an application.
Round 3 Window 2 is currently open and will close on 11th October 2023.
The prospectus for Round 3 can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/community-ownership-fund-prospectus/communityownership-fund-prospectus–3.
This window will see the funding cap increase from £1 million to £2 million for all asset types, as well as reducing the match funding requirement from 50% to 20%, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities said.