More community groups will be able to rescue prized local assets, such as sports clubs, music venues and historic buildings, following the expansion of levelling up funding.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has published the prospectus for the second round of its £150 million Community Ownership Fund. Building on the successful launch of pilot finding last year, which saved 39 assets across the UK, changes to the fund will ensure it is more inclusive and flexible, following feedback from previous applicants. The first bidding window commencing 10 June 2022
Allocations from the first round of funding included £1 million for Bury fans to rescue Gigg Lane stadium, £90,000 for The Queen’s Ballroom in Tredegar, Wales, and £96,000 for The Racehorse Inn Community pub in rural Suffolk.
Changes made for the second round mean even more community groups will be able to take control of venues and other assets in their area that are at risk of being lost forever. This is all part of the government’s drive to level up local communities across the country, creating more jobs for local people, boosting local businesses and building up local economies as a result. As a part of this, the recent introduction of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, presented plans to transform struggling towns and cities, supporting local leaders to take back control of regeneration, ending the blight of empty shops on their high streets and delivering the quality homes that communities need.
The prospectus sets out updated, widened, eligibility criteria. This includes removing the requirement that assets have had a use within the last 5 years and will now consider any asset which has had a previous community use, massively expanding the projects eligible to apply. Applicants who have a minimum of a 15-year lease on an asset would now also be considered for funding. Previously, leases were restricted to a minimum of 25 years.
The first round of successful projects was announced at the Spending Review in autumn last year. Applications to bid for round 2 of funding through the Community Ownership Fund will open in June this year.
For the prospectus click here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/community-ownership-fund-prospectus
For the guidance notes click here https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/new-levelling-up-and-community-investments#the-community-ownership-fund
For more information click here https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/new-levelling-up-and-community-investments
In order to promote the fund and to explain to any prospective applicants what is required in order to submit a strong bid, officials at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities will be hosting webinars on Wednesday 8th June and Thursday 16th June. If you are interested in attending one of these events, please complete the following form here https://forms.office.com/pages/responsepage.aspx?id=EGg0v32c3kOociSi7zmVqLXwFDTckQdPuyZtS-lNwH5UMFRUNTlMWEcyQzBNNUxRNkpSMVZONElOOC4u