Bids open for council grants to improve life in Harlow

Politics / Sat 7th May 2016 pm31 02:52pm

By Eric White

COMMUNITY groups are invited to bid for a share of £1.5 million from Essex County Council’s Community Initiatives Fund, with applications running until the end of the summer.

Grants of up to £20,000 are available for parish councils, local charities and other community associations to spend on projects that improve people’s lives in their local area.

“Last year’s funds made a huge difference to the various diverse communities across the county,” said John Gili-Ross, Chairman of the Essex Association of Local Councils, which represents parish and town councils.

“As well as helping parish and town councils, we know from direct experience that many voluntary and charitable groups’ community projects could not have been delivered without the forethought and generosity displayed by Essex County Council by making funding available.

“I am pleased and relieved that the Council, despite ever increasing budget pressures, is able to continue to provide funding for community projects, which is helping to maintain a vibrant county for both Essex residents and the many visitors to our county.”

Cllr Kay Twitchen, Essex County Council Deputy Cabinet Member responsible for CIF, said: “It’s good to see that our work is making such a positive impact on communities around the county.

“These grants, which are up to £20,000, can be the difference between a project succeeding or failing in a community. I would urge people to look up our criteria and apply for a grant.”

To qualify for funding, projects must:

Create, procure or develop new community assets

Enhance existing community assets

Enhance or develop initiatives that strengthen a community

Applications will be judged on their merits by a local panel and should have evidence of strong community support.

Grants are available for capital spending such as community, social and recreational facilities, village/church halls, community shops, community transport, land purchases, playground equipment and environmental works. Last year the fund helped over 160 community groups.

The closing date for completed expressions of interest is Friday 26 August, then completed application forms must be submitted by Friday 23 September.

Local judging panels will meet in November to allocate grants.

For more information search Community Initiatives Fund on www.essex.gov.uk/cif

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