A new £150 million Community Ownership Fund will be launched by the government this June (2021), to help communities support and continue to benefit from the local facilities, community assets and amenities most important to them.
From summer (2021), community groups will be able to bid for up to £250,000 matched-funding to help them buy or take over local community assets at risk of being lost, to run as community-owned businesses.
Launch of the fund
The first bidding round for the Community Ownership Fund will open in June 2021.
A full bidding prospectus will be published alongside this, which will be the key reference document for communities in developing and submitting bids. This prospectus will set out detailed advice on how to structure a bid, what activity to undertake to support this, what information to include, and the criteria by which bids will be assessed. More information will follow soon.
Who can bid for funding
Bids will be accepted from all communities across the UK. In most circumstances, bids should be made from community and voluntary organisations with formal governance in place, such as a Community Trust. Bids may be considered from groups without formal governance, where there is a clear plan to set up community-level governance to take over a facility – funding will be conditional on establishing a suitable governance structure.
The government will not publish a definitive list of eligible assets, as it is important for communities to set out what matters most to them. But projects could include community-owned sports clubs, sporting and leisure facilities, cinemas and theatres, music venues, museums, galleries, parks, pubs, post office buildings, and shops.
Projects should be focused on place-based assets or amenities, which are important to the local community, build connections between people and foster a sense of pride in the local area – but are at risk of being lost without community intervention. There will be an emphasis on ensuring the asset or amenity can be sustainable in community ownership.
Detailed guidance on eligibility criteria, how bids will be assessed and weighted, and how to develop a strong bid will be provided in the full bidding prospectus, due to be published by June 2021.
More information is available on the government website.