Well if that headline hasn’t grabbed your attention I don’t know what will!
When I’ve put up blogs about funding before, they’ve been mainly directed at organisations and admittedly not relevant to everyone, but this one is different and is worth reading on – I promise!
Falkirk Council have released over £3m of funding that is available for local communities to apply for to bring about the changes that can make a difference in their community. There are different allocations for each local authority ward and ultimately, you, the council tax paying public, will get to vote on which projects get the money. It is released under the banner of “Community Choices” and all the information is on the council website but I’ll summarise the main points for you here.
Before I get into the funding specifics, let me remind you about how the Council Wards are structured. Our work actually covers two Wards, with the Forth and Clyde canal essentially being the dividing line: Camelon is in Ward 6 (Falkirk North) that also includes Langlees, Bainsford, Bankside, Middlefield, Merchiston, West Mains and Grahamston. Tamfourhill is in Ward 7 (Falkirk South) that also includes Bantaskine, Summerford, Arnothill, Woodlands, Callendar Park, Glen Village, Lionthorn and Hallglen. I list all these areas to let you know what you’re up against as every area will feel it deserves its fair share of the funding and will undoubtedly have worthy projects to put forward.
So, do you have an idea that will improve the quality of life in our community? Do you have a proposal that will make a positive and lasting difference to our area? I know of quite a few options and this fund could be the way to make it happen. Essentially, here at OPCT, we will support you as much as possible to help make your application as strong and relevant as it can be. You don’t have to come through us but if you do need assistance, we can help with application wording, background information, or anything else you need. Importantly, we may also know of a project that is similar to what you are thinking about and so could provide relevant advice and, if appropriate, we could link you up to double the strength of your application.
So, who can apply?
Clubs, organisations, community groups and even individuals can apply for funding to make these changes happen. Applicants do not need to have a formal constitution but if you’re an individual or group of friends/residents considering putting a bid in for something, the Community Choices team will aim to link you up with a recognised organisation that could hold the funds for the project.
What can you apply for?
Firstly, let me say that this funding will not solve everything we’d want to do locally and is unlikely to help with large projects – but it’s a start. The public vote system will at least bring visibility to what you want to do which might even attract others to join in with you.
There are two separate funds on offer. The first is a small grants programme with a maximum of £1,500 per proposal. There is around £10,000 for each Council Ward in year 1. The second fund is a Capital programme where £3m is available over two years. Proposals for this fund must be for a minimum of £5,000, and can be used for building something new, improving an asset, and purchasing equipment. Remember that £3m is across all 9 Wards so even though there is no upper limit on application, large projects are unlikely to be successful. However, the Community Choices team will also aim to provide additional support including signposting to other suitable funding if possible.
What do we need to do?
At this stage, the council just require an Expression of Interest form to be completed. This is not a full application and needs a couple of hundred words to explain what the project is, who it would benefit and who would be involved in making it happen. It does not require full financial information but a broad indication of costs would be helpful. The form is on the website.
The important thing to note is that Expressions of Interest are due by Friday 5 March with final applications due by 9 April. This is a very tight timeline but that’s what we have to work with and, with the right support, the right applications can be submitted. The final stage is a public vote that will take place between 26 April and 14 May. We will keep you posted as we hear how that vote will operate.
So, over to you?
What do you think could be applied for? Can I help you get that application in? Get in touch with me (Dan) in the usual way via email to email@example.com, call on 07444 873151, or message via social media. Let’s make this happen!