Review of Community Grant Schemes
Decision Maker: Executive
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
Councillor Joy Aitman, Executive Member for Stronger, Healthy Communities, introduced and gave a detailed overview of the report, which proposed a new approach to community grant funding, better aligned to the outcomes intended from the Council Plan, and the fostering of greater community engagement & involvement.
In debate, Members in attendance stated that this review was welcome and asked whether new tranches of funding would go ahead as planned. Reference was made to the report that new applications for Facilities Grants would not be considered until January 2024.
The issue of Town and Parish Council funding was also highlighted, with an example of Kencot Parish Meeting not having the funds that they had previously desired for the provision of a bucket swing to be installed in a play park. A further example was given to a local education setting which did not have the desired funds for an ecological project.
Attention was also drawn to the fact that local community groups, such as Women’s Institute (WI) did not have a social media presence due to internet connectivity, so it was perceived that some community groups may miss out of work surrounding the project, which was deemed to tie in to perceived shortfalls in advertising.
Help would be provided through ‘SpaceHive’ and the overall Community Grant Schemes to counteract issues that communities face in grant applications.
The Assistant Director for Communities committed to confirming the number of ‘tranches’ and would clarify as appropriate with the Leader of the Opposition.
Reassurance was also given that the project was ‘good value for money’, and this was backed up by feedback received by the Executive Member from others who had experience in the area.
Councillor Aitman proposed that the Executive agree to the recommendations as listed on the report. This was seconded by Councillor Andy Graham, was put to a vote and was unanimously agreed by the Executive.
Executive Resolved to:
- Introduce a new approach to revenue grant funding from 2024/25, aligned to four lots and supported by three year service level agreements;
- Agree the four lots as:
a. Improving our natural environment and the access to it, so that we enable physical and mental wellbeing and cohesive, connected communities;
b. Taking action towards the climate and ecological emergencies, so that we reduce carbon footprints and encourage nature recovery;
c. Increasing community resilience and amplifying the voice of the seldom heard, so that we take action on issues most important to our residents and their needs, such as access to food, supporting young people and cultural provision;
d. Providing residents with high quality, independent housing advice, welfare and debt advice services, so that they are empowered to tackle their problems and we support those who are unable to deal with difficult circumstances on their own;
- Request officers to consider potential outline allocations within each of the lots and report back on proposals;
- Agree that the community revenue grant funding awarded in 2022-23 be awarded again in 2023-24 to the same recipients and at the same level to allow a managed transition;
- Approve civic crowdfunding as an alternative to community facilities grants and make up to £120,000 available to pledge against proposed projects;
- Agree the proposed procurement route to appoint ‘SpaceHive’ as the Council’s civic crowdfunding platform provider on a three year contract;
- Delegate authority to the Chief Executive, in consultation with the Leader and Executive Members for Stronger Healthy Communities, Planning and Sustainable Development, Environment, and Climate Change to agree the type of projects to be supported and the pledge criteria for crowdfunding;
- Approve the allocation of £25,000 to increase the Council’s grants capability, as described in the report.
Report author: Assistant Director - Communities - Andy Barge
Publication date: 10/03/2023
Date of decision: 08/03/2023
Decided at meeting: 08/03/2023 - Executive
Effective from: 18/03/2023