Community Assets – new Big Lottery Fund funding stream launch
Big Lottery Fund
I am writing to tell you that the Big Lottery Fund will be launching our new funding stream called Community Assets on 13 July 2016. However, although I am about to describe the main features of this new funding stream and how it will operate, I should be grateful if you would treat this information as confidential until that date.
Community Assets will empower people to create strong and resilient communities by helping them acquire and/or develop local assets that are important to them. These could be physical assets, such as buildings or land, but it could also be other types of assets, such as renewable energy opportunities. The main thing is that the project idea has originated in the local community, has been developed there, and has the clear support of local people.
Like its predecessors, the Scottish Land Fund and Growing Community Assets, Community Assets will support community ownership. However, in very exceptional cases, we may be able to consider supporting other arrangements where outright ownership is impossible – for example, where the current owner of the asset is legally prohibited from disposing of it (as opposed to being merely disinclined to do so!)
Eligible organisations can apply for between £10,000 and £1 million for up to five years. Competition for funding is expected to be fierce, so we will only award funding to those projects that can show they will have most impact on disadvantage and inequality in their communities. We expect that these projects will also be the ones that can best demonstrate the Fund’s favoured three approaches to tackling inequality, namely that they will be people-led, strengths-based and connected.
Organisations wishing to apply to Community Assets should be community-led, with open membership and a social purpose. Anyone living in the area should be able to get involved in the organisation and the work it does. This means that the majority of people serving on the governing body will be from the local area and that they will make the decisions.
While we expect that projects will mainly come from defined, local, geographic communities, we may occasionally consider proposals from communities of interest where there is:
• a clear link between the proposed use of the asset and a reduction in inequality for the community of interest;
• a clear commitment from the community of interest to include and engage with the wider community; and
• an appropriate local geographic definition that the community of interest functions within.
There are two more key features of Community Assets that we think will be of interest to customers and stakeholders.
The first is that unless projects need development funding to help them develop their proposals, they will not have to fill in application forms. Instead, the first stage in the ‘application’ process will be a direct, face-to-face conversation between the project and Fund staff. Following this meeting, projects cleared to proceed who need development funding will then be required to complete and submit an application for this funding. However, the aim for both this type of applicant and applicants that don’t need development funding is the same – to provide us with a strategic plan and a capital checklist. It is these two documents that will be submitted to our Scotland Committee, who will decide whether the projects can move on to the next stage.
Projects approved by the Scotland Committee can then be developed further and eventually submit a full business plan and final tender returns. Provided these are acceptable to us, we will then make our grant award, allowing the project to appoint their contractors and start work. Guidance will be provided on all of the documentation we need from projects.
The second important new feature is that projects approved to proceed following the initial face-to-face conversation with Fund staff may be able to get assistance with the technical aspects of their projects from one of the team of ‘capital mentors’ appointed by the Fund. This team of capital mentors cover the whole country and will be available to provide support and advice for the duration of the project’s capital phase. This will include appointing and managing the design team, carrying out the tender process, and pushing for completion of construction.
Organisations will be able to discuss their idea with us from 13 July. These initial discussions will mainly take place by e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephoning 0300 123 7110.
A new website page for Community Assets will also launch on 13 July giving full details and guidance.
Please just get in contact with me if you have any questions or would like to discuss our newest funding stream further, but please do remember not to share any of these details more widely until after Community Assets has launched!
Senior Policy and Learning Manager,
Big Lottery Fund,
70 Wellington Street,
Telephone: 0141 242 1400
Website : www.biglotteryfund.org.uk