Nottinghamshire County Council’s new Local Communities Fund (LCF) is now open for applications.
Community groups and charities are being encouraged to apply for funding as part of the latest drive to encourage healthy and thriving communities as the county continues its recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
With the Local Improvement Scheme coming to an end, the LCF application process aims to be even more accessible for organisations and groups seeking financial support to deliver projects.
Councillor John Cottee, chairman of the county council’s Communities Committee, says the scheme will provide a vital boost to organisations which gave much-needed support to people during the pandemic.
He said: “Nottinghamshire County Council is rightly proud of the work charities and organisations have carried out in their communities, especially at the height of the pandemic when they provided a crucial lifeline to people struggling with the effects of various lockdowns.
“Therefore, with that in mind, we have launched the new Local Communities Fund to make it easier for these fantastic groups to access the support they need to continue their work to encourage healthy and thriving communities.”
Eligible organisations can apply at any time for capital grants of up to £20,000 to spend on making improvements to facilities that help improve health and wellbeing, as well as projects with an environmental focus. These include:
Improvements to sporting facilities;
Play areas and/or equipment;
Green/horticultural improvements to open spaces;
Heritage improvements, signposts and information boards to improve the visitor experience.
Revenue schemes to help projects with their running costs are also available (no maximum amount).
Applications from a range of projects are welcomed, including:
Projects that tackle digital exclusion, good neighbourhood schemes, dementia-friendly communities, food/lunch clubs etc;
Encouraging local networks where people help themselves and each other to be resilient, neighbourly and safe;
Increasing volunteering opportunities;
Addressing climate and environmental change;
Improving access to existing community-based services (e.g. advice and signposting), for the most vulnerable residents.
Community organisations and groups can apply at any time for a small revenue grant up to £5,000, while organisations applying for a large revenue grant (more than £5,000) must be received by 31st December 2021 and must have a good track record of delivery.
Cllr Cottee added: “The new fund will build on the excellent work carried out as part of the Local Improvement Scheme and I would encourage any group, charity or sports club which is looking to enhance access to new or existing services which improve physical and mental health and reduce loneliness, particularly for more vulnerable residents, to apply.
“Once again we want to invest in capital projects with full match-funding already in place, so they are ‘ready to go’ to make best use of these funds.
“And to ensure that applications are on the right lines, we are asking groups interested in capital grants to send in their initial ideas before making a formal application, so we can feedback sooner on these project ideas.
“The aim is to save groups time in the long run.
“And similar to the former LIS scheme, it’s essential to seek support from your local county councillor before making an application for either a capital or revenue grant.”
How Nottinghamshire County Council has supported local organisations
Keyworth Bowls Club received £19,000 LIS funding which helped to cover the costs of the installation of new banks, ditches and a sprinkler system at its Elm Avenue green.
Alan Jackson, the club’s committee fundraiser, urged clubs and organisations which need financial help to carry out projects or improvements to get in touch with the ‘brilliant’ county council.
He said: “Thanks to the support of Nottinghamshire County Council and Cllr John Cottee we have been able to successfully carry out the work which has enabled us, as a club, to keep going.
“They have been brilliant throughout the whole process and I would recommend anyone looking to secure funding for projects like this to discuss their project idea with their county councillor and to apply for funding from the county council.
“We are very much a community club and without this funding and support, we wouldn’t be able to provide the obvious benefits of helping people to get out of their homes and participate in open air sport.”
Another group to benefit from LIS funding has been Ellerslie Cricket Club in West Bridgford.
After years of use, the practice nets at the club had become worn and, in places, unsafe.
However, thanks to a £7,000 LIS contribution and money-raising efforts by sponsors and club members to double this figure to reach their £14,000 target, the old, damaged nets were replaced with upgraded ones shortly before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Club committee member Bob Garland said: “The nets were installed following successful application to the county council for a LIS grant, with strong support from Councillor Gordon Wheeler, and match-funded via donations from local sponsors and club members.
“The LIS grant gave the club a huge boost, without which the project would never have been possible, and for this the committee, members and parents are hugely grateful.”
And Nottingham Hockey Club, in partnership with Redhill Ladies Hockey Club, netted £30,000 in LIS funding towards a new £250,000 state-of-the-art playing surface at Goosedale Sports Club, near Bestwood Village, working closely with Cllr Chris Barnfather who was a staunch supporter of the project.
Adam George, the project lead at Goosedale Sports Club, said: “Nottinghamshire County Council’s Local Improvement Scheme was highly instrumental in enabling them to get the match-funding to deliver the investment that was needed.
“With many local schools and leisure centres switching to 3G (rubber crumb) artificial pitches, which are unsafe for hockey due to the increased bounce, Nottinghamshire County Council recognised the need for investment in Goosedale to ensure adequate leisure provision in this part of the county.
“With a generous grant from the LIS along, with five other major financial contributors, the clubs have been able to upgrade their home pitch, perimeter fencing and even procure energy-efficient LED floodlights, thus reducing the carbon footprint of Goosedale as well as securing leisure provision in Bestwood Village into the 2030s and beyond.”
For more information about the Local Communities Fund and for details about how to apply for revenue funding or to submit an expression of interest for capital funding, go to www.nottscc.gov.uk/LCF
Applications for LCF Talented Athletes funding will be invited later this year.
The new scheme will not affect any previous funding agreements made as part of the Local Improvement Scheme 2018-21.