You wait years for a community grants programme to come along….

And then two of them come along together.

The £10.5m Community Right to Challenge Grant Programme is designed to help community and voluntary organisations to take over the running of public services in their communities.  The Social Investment Business (http://www.thesocialinvestmentbusiness.org/our-funds/communityrights/programme/) manages the programme and the grant funds.  Locality (http://mycommunityrights.org.uk/community-right-to-challenge/) and ACEVO provide advice and support.  I liked the example of Fresh Horizons, from Locality’s website.  They have established a community library in an area where there wasn’t one previously.  It is located in a deprived residential area two miles from the centre of Huddersfield, with an ethnically diverse local community.  They provide an efficient library service by running it alongside a range of other services including a credit union.  They also provide advice services and build and manage communities facilities, employing 60 staff in the process.  You can see more details on their website at http://www.freshhorizons.org.uk/.

Social Investment Business is also running the catchily titled Community Ownership and Management of Assets (including Right to Buy) Programme.  It has £16.7m to help community groups to buy and manage lands and buildings in community use.  There is a support programme provided by Locality, working with SIB with support from the Local Government Association.  Norden Old Library was purchased by Norden Community Trust (http://www.nordenoldlibrary.org.uk/index.html) and renovated.  The first floor is rented to a GP practice and well-used community facilities are available in the rest of the building.

The Social Investment Business also highlights the availability of specialised community rights support providers including Locality, ACEVO, NCVO, Urban Forum, the National Association of Local Councils, Action with Communities in Rural England and Pulse Regeneration.  Further details can be found at http://www.thesocialinvestmentbusiness.org/our-funds/communityrights/programme/providers/

I can’t wait until my retirement, when I intend to set up a new community interest company, buy and convert a double-decker bus and offer library, credit union and café facilities in particularly scenic parts of the country.  And if no-one calls to avail of my services, I’ll park the bus, withdraw a few pounds from my credit union account and treat myself to tea, cakes and a good detective story.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>