A new funding programme is giving groups in County Durham the chance to bid for tens of thousands of pounds.
The Community Capital Grant fund has been created to help improve health and wellbeing, job prospects or improve the environment in neighbourhoods across the county.
Charities, schools or community groups working in more than a hundred towns and villages across the area can bid for up to £20,000 for capital projects – for new or improved buildings, outdoor space like play areas, vehicles or even public artworks. Support with revenue costs such as events or activities, purchasing equipment and staff time is also eligible.
A total of £120,000 is available in the first round. An open call for applications is now live.
The funding comes from believe housing, one of the largest housing associations in the north east. The Seaham-based organisation has invested heavily in community projects across the north east since it was launched, less than three years ago. During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, it provided more than £150,000 to over 30 community groups.
The £10,000-£20,000 range of the new Community Capital Grant fund makes the grant stream the largest ever offered by believe housing.
Damian Pearson, Community Investment Performance Team Leader at believe housing, said: “This funding is the result of our discussions with groups right across the county. Many told us that they were looking for funding, but were struggling to find the right opportunities for medium-sized projects.
“Our smaller grants funds have been hugely successful and have supported a vast range of grass roots projects. We don’t want to move away from helping groups based firmly in County Durham, but we felt that the time was right to offer the opportunity for larger grants.”
Groups applying for grants need to work in one of the communities served by believe housing, which stretch from the Durham coast to the north Pennines. Projects must also improve the health and wellbeing of communities, support employability and training, work to increase household income, provide a greener future by protecting the environment or tackle inequalities created by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Applications to the Community Capital Grant fund can be made now. The current call is open until Sunday, 5 December. believe housing has a dedicated community investment team, who are available to provide support and guidance on applications. Full details are also available on the believe housing website.