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Rural Opportunities Bulletin
A monthly bulletin facilitated by your membership of the Rural Services Network highlighting a selection of current funding, consultation and other opportunities
Draft Response Service
This bulletin includes a suggested draft response in relation to the the Industrial Strategy. If you wish to view this draft response please click here
Opportunities Bulletin - February 2017
Community Asset Fund – Sport England
Whether it’s the park you run through, the hall you do classes in or the pitch you play on, welcoming and accessible spaces have a big impact on a person’s experience – and likelihood of coming back.
As part of this, Sport England have produced a guide and accompanying document to explain more about the new Community Asset Fund, how and why they're doing things differently, when they will make decisions plus tips and advice for developing your project or idea.
From 30 January 2017, sports clubs and community organisations will be able to apply for investment from the Community Asset Fund – Sport England’s new capital fund dedicated to enhancing the spaces in local communities that give people the opportunity to be active.
This fund will have a value of £15 million per annum with the anticipated size of bids between £1000 and £150,000. There is no deadline to apply and awards will be made from February 2017.
Active Ageing Fund – Sport England
Sport England want to work with partners to learn and understand more about how inactive older adults should be supported. In particular, they want to test new ways of tackling inactivity, and find approaches that could be replicated across the country that make a significant difference to many more people’s lives.
This new fund will invest £10 million with an anticipated size of bids between £50,000 and £500,000. Projects will run for a minimum of one year and the deadline for expressions of interest is 13 February 2017.
Opportunities Fund and Potentials Fund – Sport England
In January 2017, Sport England are launching two new funds to support projects for groups where they’ve identified significant untapped potential.
  • Opportunities Fund. Sport England aim to invest £3 million in projects that create volunteering opportunities for people facing disadvantage, in communities where there is higher unemployment and crime, lower education and poorer health. People living in these communities are among the most under-represented groups in volunteering, but potentially have the most to gain. The stated priority is to get more people from these communities excited about and engaged in volunteering, so Sport England are happy to look at ideas which aren’t just about sport and physical activity.
  • Potentials Fund. Getting involved in mentoring, supporting people and improving local areas – a form of youth social action – is already popular with young people. But a large group have been identified called ‘Potentials’ – young people who are interested in doing something for their community, but haven’t yet made a commitment. In fact 70% of 10- to 20-year-olds say they want to do more social action in the next 12 months. This group is of particular interest to Sport England because many of them love sport and physical activity: half of 16- to 24-year-olds would prefer to give their time in something sport-based. Sport England want to unleash this potential by funding projects which target young people who haven’t regularly volunteered in the past.
Both funds are due to be open for applications in February 2017.
Community, Maintenance and Repair Grants – National Churches Trust
The National Churches Trust currently has a number of grant programmes open including:
  • Community Grants programme. This offers grants usually of between £5,000 and £20,000 towards the cost of projects introducing facilities to enable increased community use of places of worship. Priority is given to projects that include toilets and catering facilities. The closing date for applications is 27 February 2017.
  • Repair Grants programme. This offers grants usually of between £5,000 and £40,000 towards the cost of urgent and essential structural repair projects. The closing date for applications is 27 February 2017.
  • Maintenance grant programme. This is a pilot programme, in partnership with the Pilgrim Trust, offering awards of between £1,000 and £2,500 to encourage churches to act on small, urgent maintenance issues and repairs to listed church buildings, as identified in a recent Quinquennial Inspection Report, condition survey or report by a gutter management contractor, and costed between £2,000 and £10,000. Proposed works must be to the main listed church building, and applicants must be able to show they have already raised 50% of the total repair costs, and to have obtained two quotes for the works. The closing date for applications is 10 May 2017.
  • Project Development grant programme. This is a pilot grant programme offering awards up to £10,000 to support churches to become more sustainable through the diagnosis of issues affecting the church, by testing the viability of proposed solutions to improve sustainability, and through development of guiding policies and plans that will be implemented through an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund, or other large church heritage funders. The closing date for applications is 27 February 2017.
Estate Regeneration Fund – Department for Communities & Local Government
The £140 million Estate Regeneration Fund is designed to accelerate and improve estate regeneration schemes through recoverable investments, helping to boost housing supply and improve the quality of life for residents in estates across England.
The funding is available over 5 years from 2016 to 2021. Bids are sought from private sector entities (including housing associations registered as providers of social housing) taking forward schemes that improve or deliver additional homes, are fundamentally viable, and carry the support of local communities and local authorities.
£30 million of enabling capital grant funding has also been made available to assist local authorities and housing associations registered as providers of social housing in the early stages of estate regeneration schemes. This funding is available for the 2016 to 2017 financial year and can be used to help landowners at the early stage of estate regeneration proposals with, for example, feasibility studies, viability assessments, masterplanning, community engagement and partner or procurement advice.
In addition, £2 million revenue funding has been made available to local authorities to help build commercial skills and capacity in delivering estate regeneration. This funding is available for the 2016 to 2017 financial year.
Bright Ideas Fund – Locality
The Community Business Bright Ideas Fund aims to give community groups the support and tools to start setting up their community business. It also aims to give groups the early stage finance needed to carry out consultation with local people and feasibility studies to develop a community business idea the community wants and needs. A programme of support and grants of up to £20,000 is available to develop your community business idea.
Round 1 of the Bright Ideas Fund is now closed. Round 2 opens in February 2017.
Levelling the Field – Comic Relief
Levelling the Field, offers funding to organisations working in partnership in the UK, which use the power of sport to empower women and girls to reach their full potential.
Sport is a powerful tool for social change, and can be used to address issues affecting women and girls. It can support the development of essential life skills, deliver powerful messages, foster confidence and improve self-esteem. It can also be used to challenge gender roles and propel women and girls toward better lives.
This is a £1 million initiative funded by Comic Relief and the Treasury to support projects in the UK. Applications are welcome for a minimum of £30,000 and a maximum of £250,000, over a period of between 12 and 36 months.
A variety of different types of projects are encouraged. This could be a pilot for an innovative piece of work or the continued development of a proven piece of work. Funding is available for project delivery, research, or for a campaign.
The fund is open for proposals until 16 March 2017.
Life Chances Fund – Cabinet Office & Department for Culture, Media and Sport
The Life Chances Fund (LCF) is an £80 million top-up fund, whose objective is to help those people in society who face the most significant barriers to leading happy and productive lives. This forms part of the Prime Minister’s life chances approach.
The £80 million has been committed by central government to provide contributions to outcome payments for payment-by-results contracts, which involve socially minded investors – i.e. towards Social Impact Bonds (SIBs). These contracts must be locally commissioned and aim to tackle complex social problems.
Social Impact Bonds (SIBs), the government states, represent a significant opportunity to reform public services, improve social outcomes and create savings for the taxpayer. To support the growth of this market, government is contributing £80 million to a Life Chances Fund, which will support locally developed projects.
The deadline for expressions of interest is 31 March 2017.
#iwill Fund – UK Community Foundations
The #iwill Fund is designed to give young people the chance to lead change and make a positive contribution to their communities. UK Community Foundations have opened the #iwill Fund alongside the Big Lottery Fund and the Department for Culture, Media & Sport.
#iwill is a UK-wide campaign aiming to get 6 out of 10 young people involved in social action by 2020. Big Lottery Fund and the Department of Culture, Media & Sport have invested £20 million each to the #iwill fund to support young people to access high quality social action opportunities.
Social action involves activities such as campaigning, fundraising and volunteering, all of which enable participants to make a positive difference to their communities. The idea is that social action develops the skills and knowledge of young people that employers look for.
The #iwill Fund will be released through the network of 43 Community Foundations across England. For information on specific areas please look refer to the website.
The ScottishPower Energy People Trust
Charitable organisations can apply for funding to support projects in the following categories:
  • Energy Efficiency Advice - It is a condition of funding that all projects include the provision of energy efficiency advice. Energy advisors should be trained to City and Guilds standard or equivalent.
  • Energy Efficiency Measures – improving home energy efficiency through draught proofing, insulating and or other practical measures.
  • Income Maximisation – providing funding to front line charities who carry out benefits advice to households missing out on financial help that they are entitled to through welfare benefits and tax credits.
  • Fuel Debt Assistance - Providing assistance, or funding the provision by other persons of assistance, to reduce or cancel debts for household electricity or gas supply, where such assistance is provided as part of a package of measures aimed at providing customers with long-term relief from fuel poverty.
The ScottishPower Energy People Trust will award funding at levels appropriate to the type of project and the number of people to be helped, from small sums up to a maximum of £50,000. Projects may be funded for a maximum of one year.
The next deadline for applications is 24 May 2017.
A maximum of 30 fully completed applications will be presented to the Trustees at any one meeting – applications are considered on a “first come, first served basis”. Any eligible and complete applications not dealt with will be carried forward to the next meeting.
Grant schemes for electric vehicle charging infrastructure – Office for Low Emission Vehicles
The government offers grants to support the wider use of electric and hybrid vehicles via the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV). This includes:
  • The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) provides grant funding of up to 75% towards the cost of installing electric vehicle chargepoints at domestic properties across the UK.
  • The Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) is a voucher-based scheme that provides support towards the up-front costs of the purchase and installation of electric vehicle charge-points, for eligible businesses, charities and public sector organisations.
  • The On-street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS) provides grant funding for local authorities towards the cost of installing on-street residential chargepoints for plug-in electric vehicles.
For more information visit the website below.
Urgent Repairs Scheme – Wolfson Foundation / Theatres Trust
Theatres Trust has launched the Urgent Repairs Scheme, a new fund set up in partnership with the Wolfson Foundation. Both organisations are aware of the challenges facing theatres today and how difficult it is to maintain even a preventative maintenance programme. This then leaves theatres vulnerable when unforeseen issues arise such as weather damage and the need to undertake works to suspended fibrous plaster ceilings following the introduction of a more rigorous inspection regime.
Theatres in need of immediate repair and maintenance, and which could otherwise face closure, will be able to apply for grants of up to £15,000. The scheme is open to all theatres operating a year-round programme of live performance. Theatres that are not statutory listed will need to demonstrate the architectural significance of their building. Priority will be given to projects that deliver urgent building repairs, and which can demonstrate that without such repairs the viability of the theatre and its future as a place presenting live work to audiences is at risk.
The scheme will not fund repairs to equipment, fixtures and fittings and plant except where a major failure is proving a significant risk to the theatre’s continued operation.
There will be two funding rounds in 2017. Round one will close on 15 March, with decisions announced in July. Round two will close on 16 September, with decisions announced in January 2018.
Community-led Housing funds – Department for Communities & Local Government
On 23 December 2016, the government announced a new annual £60 million fund which will help almost 150 councils tackle the problem of high levels of second homeownership in their communities. At the launch the government stated that “The Community Housing Fund will put local groups in the driving seat and help them deliver affordable housing aimed at first-time buyers in response to the problem second homes can cause in reducing supply.”
The first year of funding will be used to build capacity within local groups such as improving technical skills, setting up support hubs to offer advice, business planning and providing staff to review local housing needs. Funding the following year must then be used to deliver housing on the ground for local people.
Local authorities will work closely with community-led housing groups and other stakeholders - such as the Community Land Trusts network or the Home and Communities Agency - throughout to ensure the right tools are in place to ensure efficient delivery of new houses in subsequent years.
To find out more contact your local authority or visit the website below which contains a list of funding allocations by region and a list of the eligible local authorities.

Innovation Grants – Department for Transport
The Department for Transport has announced two new funding rounds as follows:
  • The Transport Technology Research Innovation Grant (T-TRIG) competition provides seed funding to early-stage science, engineering or technology innovations that have the potential to advance the UK’s transport system. T-TRIG is open to any UK organisation, typically micro, small and medium-sized businesses or academia to support research projects which could lead to the development of successful new transport products, processes or services. This competition closes on 9 January 2017.
  • The Innovation Challenge Fund (ICF) will support the development of technologies, methods or processes to help meet Department for Transport policy goals. This competition closes on 13 February 2017.
European Structural and Investment Funds – Department for Communities and Local Government
A variety of funds under the European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF) are currently available in different parts of the country. ESIF includes money from the European Social Fund (ESF), European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).
Deadlines for applications vary.  Please see the website below for more information.
Controlling Migration Fund – Department for Communities & Local Government and the Home Office
The Controlling Migration Fund is designed to support local areas facing pressures linked to recent immigration.
The Fund will be available over the 4 years from 2016-17 to 2019-20, and is in 2 parts:
  • a local service impacts part of £100 million, to help English local authorities and their communities experiencing high and unexpected volumes of immigration to ease pressures on local services
  • an enforcement part worth £40 million to direct enforcement action against people in the UK illegally in order to reduce the pressure on local areas
Officials in the Department for Communities and Local Government are keen to discuss proposals with areas.  Interested authorities should contact: . Further information is available at:
Community Fibre Partnerships – BT
£2 million of grants have been made available from BT Community Fibre Partnerships. Grants are for communities in the final 5% of the UK not covered by fibre broadband rollout plans. These provide match-funded grants of up to £20,000 toward the cost of their new fibre infrastructure if that could also serve their local school.
50% of the required funds could be available from the scheme with the community raising the additional 50%. BT has teamed up with the Crowdfunding website "Spacehive" to assist with  community fundraising.
Applications can be made at any time until the £2 million has been allocated.
Changemaker - Santander
Changemaker is a fund to help social enterprises, small charities and community groups to deliver projects in the UK that create innovative solutions to improve communities.
Santander has £200,000 to support Changemakers who turn to the Crowd to make great ideas happen.
The Changemaker Fund has been created to support projects that help disadvantaged people to have confidence in the future by building skills and knowledge or innovative ideas that help communities prosper.
If you have a project which the Crowd support Santander provide the final 50% to help you reach your target, up to £10,000.
Young People Leaving Care – Esmee Fairbairn Foundation
10,000 young people over 16 leave care each year, a third before their 18th birthday. This is in stark contrast to the general population where 50% are still living with their parents at 24. Through this programme, Esme Fairbairn wish to see care leavers supported by the system and by their networks to feel emotionally stable and be financially secure, ultimately making a successful transition to independence.
Funding is limited to the charitable work of organisations, and could be for core or project costs, including staff salaries and overheads. There are no limits on grant size or length, with the median average 2015 grant being £100,000 over 3 years. Most support is likely to be in the form of grants, but we social investments will also be considered.
Tesco Bags of Help – Tesco and Groundwork
The money raised from the 5p bag charge in Tesco stores in England, Wales and Scotland is being used to support community participation in the development and use of open spaces. Projects that will get the green light as a result of the funding will include volunteer training, physical improvements of open spaces, equipment purchases, community events and sports and leisure activities.
Administration of the local funding is being managed by the community charity Groundwork.
Bags of Help is always open to applications from community projects. Groundwork assesses all of the applications received to ensure they are eligible. This is followed up by Tesco shortlisting groups who decide which projects go forward to the in-store vote. Three local community projects will be voted on in Tesco stores each month across Tesco regions throughout England, Scotland and Wales. In each region, the project that received the most votes from all stores in their region will receive a grant of up to £5,000. The second placed project receives up to £2,000 and third placed up to £1,000. Every year, over 7000 projects will receive funding through this scheme.
Woodland Carbon Fund – Forestry Commission
Receive up to £6,800 per hectare to create new woodland, or up to £8,500 per hectare if you provide permissive access across the woodland (dependent on its location). Applications for the Woodland Carbon Fund opened on 10 November 2016.
The Woodland Carbon Fund is described as a simple, demand-led grant scheme to boost the rate of woodland creation and to visibly demonstrate how, by taking a natural capital approach, woodland creation can help to meet government’s future carbon targets alongside delivering other benefits. Successful applications will be for large-scale (>30 ha with a minimum block size of 10 ha), predominantly productive woodland and, where possible, have sought opportunities to improve public access and achieve wider environmental outcomes in line with the UK Forestry Standard.
Home Building Fund – Homes & Communities Agency
The government has created a £3 billion fund “to increase the number of homes built in England.” You can apply if you’re a private sector business that builds new homes or prepares sites for housing developments. This includes small builders, community builders, custom builders and regeneration specialists, as well as larger builders and developers.
The fund provides development finance and infrastructure finance via loans. More information on how the fund works and who can apply is available in ‘An Introduction to the Home Building Fund’ which you can access via the link below.
Community Shares Booster Programme – Power to Change
This is a new initiative to support and stimulate public involvement with community share offers in England, particularly in more disadvantaged areas and sectors where community businesses are under-represented. It is being delivered by Co-operatives UK and Locality, via the Community Shares Unit (CSU), funded by The Power to Change (PtC), and is taking place during 2016 with a contribution of £1 million.
The programme is intended to be an exploratory programme, in which new and innovative models for community shares can explored through working with a series of groups which receive support at all the key stages, namely: development, offer period and post-launch.
If successful your community group or business could receive a business development support grant up to £10,000 in advance of launching your community share offer. After that, your organisation could have access to up to £100,000 match funding in the form of an equity investment by Co-operatives UK when the share offer goes live.
There is no fixed deadline for applications. Applications will be assessed on a monthly basis and the Booster Programme will close once all the funds have been committed.
Fans Fund Small Grants Scheme – Football
The Premier League Fans Fund is a three-year commitment from the Premier League to fund projects and organisations which improve the relationship between fans and their clubs, the way football supporters engage with each other and fans’ experience of the game.
The Fans Fund Small Grants Scheme offers grants of up to £20,000 for projects that look to address the aims of the scheme which are to:
  • Improve the relationship between fans and their clubs
  • Improve the way football supporters engage with each other
  • Improve fans’ experience of the game.
Applications are accepted at any time.
Heritage Project Grants – Heritage Lottery Fund
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) funds projects which focus on heritage.  HLF offer a range of different grant programmes with grants from £3,000 to over £5million. In assessing applications, HLF take account of the broad range of outcomes for heritage, people and communities that projects will achieve.  HLF programmes include:
  • Kick the Dust – this programme aims to make heritage relevant to the lives of young people, aged 11-25, now and in to the future. Building on their needs and interests, HLF want to see a greater number and diversity of young people benefit from high quality engagement with heritage.  This programme is also about developing the skills and confidence of heritage sites and services to sustain their work with young people over the long-term. You can apply for between £500,000 and £1 million as a consortium of three or more organisations, including heritage and youth organisations. The deadline for initial Project Enquiry forms is 2 December 2016.
  • Resilient Heritage grants – this is a new programme. Grants of £3,000-£250,000 are available to organisations in the UK who want to build their capacity or achieve strategic change to improve the management of heritage. Grants can fund activities to help you acquire new skills or knowledge, or new models of governance, leadership and business to put your organisation in a better position for the future. Organisations in the early stages of planning their activities may also apply. Whether you’re facing challenges around income and fundraising, or preparing to take on new forms of investment, such as social investment, Resilient Heritage can support these processes.
  • Heritage Endowments – these grants are available to organisations in the UK who we are currently funding or have funded in the past. This is a match funding scheme – where the HLF grant matches every pound raised by grant recipients. You can apply for a Heritage Endowments grant of £250,000, £500,000 or £1million, to be matched £1:£1 by private donations you raise. Payments of the award will be made when evidence of the matched funding can be shown.
  • Grants for Places of Worship – historic places of worship are often at the heart of communities. Grants from £10,000–£250,000 can fund urgent structural repairs and help to make them better places for everyone to visit.
  • Parks for People – for projects related to historic parks and cemeteries in the UK. You can apply for a grant from £100,000 to £5million. Applications go through a two round process and must be submitted by either 28 February for a decision in June or by 31 August for a decision in December.
  • Heritage Enterprise – supports enterprising community organisations across the UK to rescue neglected historic buildings and sites and unlock their economic potential.  You can apply for a grant from £100,000 to £5million.
  • Sharing Heritage – for any type of project related to national, regional or local heritage in the UK.  Applications can be made for a grant from £3,000 to £10,000.  The fund is available to not-for-profit organisations or partnerships led by not-for-profit organisations wanting to explore, share and celebrate their community’s heritage.  This is a rolling programme and applications can be submitted at any time.
  • Our Heritage – for any type of project related to national, regional or local heritage in the UK. Applications can be made for a grant of more than £10,000 and up to £100,000.  HLF fund applications from not-for-profit organisations, private owners of heritage (including individuals and for-profit organisations) and partnerships.  This is a rolling programme and applications can be made at any time.
  • Heritage Grants – HLF’s open programme for any type of project related to the national, regional, or local heritage in the UK. You can apply for a grant of over £100,000. Heritage Grants applications go through a two-round process. This is so that you can apply at an early stage of planning your project and get an idea of whether you have a good chance of getting a grant before you submit your proposals in greater detail.
  • Young Roots – for projects that engage young people with heritage in the UK.  Applications can be made for a grant of more than £10,000 and up to £50,000.  Under this programme, HLF fund partnerships of heritage and youth organisations to help young people shape and deliver their own projects in safe environments.  This is a rolling programme and applications can be made at any time.
  • Townscape Heritage – helps communities regenerate deprived towns and cities across the UK by improving their built historic environment. Grants range from £100,000 to £2million. Townscape Heritage schemes aim to reverse the decline of our best-loved historic townscapes. Local, regional and national organisations work together to repair buildings in conservation areas and bring them back to life.
For information on all HLF programmes visit the website.
Grants for the Arts – Arts Council England
Grants of between £1000 and £100,000 are available for eligible individuals, organisations, libraries and museums for a range of activities including: Audio-visual, broadcast and transmission, buildings and infrastructure, capacity building, commissioning, digital creation, diversity and equality, education and learning, exhibition, festival, organisational development, original work, participation, performance, production, professional development, publishing, research and development, sector development, talent development and touring.
This is a rolling programme with no deadlines.
More than a Pub – Plunkett Foundation
The Community Pub Business Support Programme is a unique two year programme established to help support community ownership of pubs in England. Its value is £3.62 million and is jointly funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government and Power to Change. A comprehensive package of business development support, advice and loan and grant funding has been developed to assist community pub businesses consider their viability at all stages of their development which includes:
  • A flexible package of support including:
    • an advice line
    • Events
    • Workshops
    • peer-to-peer study visits
    • business development advice.
  • Flexible bursary awards of up to £2,500 (inclusive of VAT) to fund pre-feasibility costs such as public consultation and valuations.
  • Combined loan and grant funding up to £150,000 but not exceeding £75,000 in grant
The Discovery Foundation
In 2016, The Santander Foundation has become The Discovery Foundation.
The Discovery Foundation will provide grants to support knowledge, skills and innovation to give disadvantaged people the confidence to discover and create a new world of opportunities. The Foundation's previous three grants schemes have been combined into a single new scheme called Discovery Grants making it simpler to apply for funding.
Discovery Grants of up to £5,000 are available to UK Registered Charities, Community Interest Companies and Credit Unions to fund local projects helping disadvantaged people.
Website grant programme – Transform Foundation
This programme can cover the upfront costs of a new charity-specific website including strategy, design, development and training. The grant will pay for the entire upfront costs of £18,000.
The Foundation will be rolling out other grant programmes later in the year, which they are currently in the process of designing.
The Website Grant is aimed at small to medium-sized charities and other not for profit organisations with a social mission (including, for example Community Interest Companies). The grant is most suitable for non-profits with an income between £400,000 and £20 million.
Applications can currently be made on a rolling basis.
Help the Homeless grants
Help The Homeless makes grants to charitable organisations with the aim of helping homeless people return to the community and enabling them to resume a normal life. Grants are available to small and medium-sized charitable organisations to fund the capital costs of projects with grants of up to £5,000. The quarterly deadlines for grant applications each year are: 15 March, 15 June, 15 September and 15 December.
Big Potential – Big Lottery Fund
Big Potential, a BIG Lottery Fund grant fund, will deliver approximately £10m of grant funding over 3 years to eligible VCSE organisations (Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise organisations) with the aim of improving the sustainability, capacity and scale of VCSE organisations in order that they may deliver greater social impact.  
The programme aims to raise awareness of the social investment market and support VCSEs who want to prepare themselves for social investment.
Two application routes are available:
  • Breakthrough - specialist one to one support for VCSE organisations from Big Potential programme partners followed by a potential application for grants between £20,000 and £75,000 for more in-depth investment readiness work.
  • Advanced - for VCSEs that are clear about how social investment could work for them and need help to close possible deals with investors or need help securing a contract. Grants of between £50,000 and £150,000 are available.
Big Potential’s website can be accessed here.
Grants for the Arts Libraries Fund – Arts Council
The aim of this fund is to inspire innovative partnerships between libraries and arts organisations, and encourage library users and those living locally to take part in artistic and cultural activities.
It is hoped that this second phase of funding, which will be rolled out between April 2015 and March 2018, will once again inspire ambitious, innovative partnerships between libraries and arts organisations, and encourage library users and those living locally to take part in artistic and cultural activities.
Public libraries can apply for grants of between £1,000 and £100,000 covering activities lasting up to three years. The fund opened to applications on 1 April 2015 and will run until 31 March 2018.
Growth Programme: Grants for the Rural Economy – Defra
The Growth Programme provides funding to help projects in England which create jobs and help rural economy growth. These grants are funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) manages the grants, working with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).
The RPA will publish calls for applications. These calls invite applications for grants in specific LEP areas. Each call will reflect the priorities set by the LEP and will clearly state:
  • what types of grants are open for applications
  • the opening and closing dates and times for applications
Applications received after the closing date and time will not be accepted. Grants are available for:
  • business development
  • food processing
  • small-scale tourism infrastructure
  • tourism cooperation
Community-led Buildings Grants – Locality
Any Town or Parish Council, Neighbourhood Forum or qualifying community group can apply for Pre-Feasibility grants (£1000 to £10,000) and Project Support grants (£5000 to £40,000) to help move a community-led building or community-led housing project to the point at which a Community Right to Build Order, or (in the case of community led housing projects only) a traditional planning permission application, can be submitted.  These are revenue grants which means that they do not cover the capital costs of land acquisition or actually constructing a building.
Neighbourhood Planning Grants – Locality
All groups writing a neighbourhood plan or neighbourhood development order are eligible to apply for between £1000 and £9,000 in grant. Groups facing a range of complex issues are able to apply for further support from the programme.
This support can come in two forms:
  1. Technical support provided by AECOM – there are a range of technical support packages that groups are able to apply for as and when they become needed.
  2. Groups are also be eligible to apply for a further grant of up to £6,000 giving a total grant ceiling of £15,000 in the period 2015-18.
If your group has already received £8,000 in funding and are still working on your plan, you may apply for further funding up to the maximum of £9,000 (or £15,000 for complex groups).
The current programme runs from 2015-18. You can only apply for funds that you can spend within six months or before the end of the current financial year, whichever is the earliest.
Grants for War Memorials – War Memorials Trust
War Memorials Trust administers a number of grants schemes which between them cover the whole of the UK.  Currently programme funders include the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, Historic England, Historic Scotland and War Memorials Trust. Grants are currently available up to 75% of eligible costs with a normal maximum grant of £30,000.
War Memorials Trust seeks to help all war memorial custodians, whatever the nature and size of their war memorial by facilitating repair and conservation projects. 
Annual deadlines are 31 March, 30 June, 30 September and 31 December.
Rural Community Energy Fund
The Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF) supports rural communities in England to develop renewable energy projects which provide economic and social benefits to the community.  The fund will provide up to approximately £150,000 of funding for feasibility and pre-planning development work to help projects become investment ready. RCEF provides support in two stages:
  • Stage 1 provides a grant of up to approximately £20,000 to pay for an initial investigation into the feasibility of a renewable energy project.
  • Stage 2 provides an unsecured loan of up to approximately £130,000 to support planning applications and develop a robust business case to attract further investment.
The fund is being delivered on behalf of the government by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP). Applications will be reviewed on a monthly basis and there is no set deadline for bids
Reaching Communities England – Big Lottery Fund
Reaching Communities funding is for projects that help people and communities most in need. Grants are available from £10,000, upwards and funding can last for up to 5 years. If you think you need more than £500,000 you must call Big Lottery before applying to discuss why you believe a larger project is appropriate. There is no upper limit for total project costs.  Reaching Communities can fund salaries, running costs, a contribution towards core costs and equipment.  Reaching Communities can also fund up to £100,000 for land, buildings or refurbishment capital costs.
All projects must address one or more of the following outcomes:
  • People have better chances in life, with better access to training and development to improve their life skills,
  • Stronger communities, with more active citizens, working together to tackle their problems,
  • Improved rural and urban environments, which communities are better able to access and enjoy,
  • Healthier and more active people and communities
There is a two stage application process.  After submitting a Reaching Communities Stage One application form, applicants will be told within 6 weeks whether the project is one that might be considered for funding. If successful, the applicant will be sent a Stage Two application form. Applicants will usually have four months to complete this.
Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund – Football Foundation
The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund provides grants for building or refurbishing grassroots facilities, such as changing pavilions and playing surfaces for community benefit, with money provided by the Premier League, The FA and the Government (via Sport England) and delivered by the Foundation.  The Fund is available to football clubs, schools, councils and local sports associations and gives grants for projects that:
  • Improve facilities for football and other sport in local communities.
  • Sustain or increase participation amongst children and adults, regardless of background age, or ability.
  • Help children and adults to develop their physical, mental, social and moral capacities through regular participation in sport.
Grants are available for between £10,000 and £500,000.
Building our Industrial Strategy – Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy consultation
The government state that: “We want to build an industrial strategy that addresses long-term challenges to the UK economy. Our aim is to improve living standards and economic growth by increasing productivity and driving growth across the whole country.
“This green paper sets out our approach and some early actions we have committed to take. It is not intended to be the last word, but instead to start a consultation. We hope anyone with an interest will respond. We want to hear from every part of the country, every sector of industry and businesses of every size – and from the people who work in them and use them.”
This consultation closes on 17 April 2017.
Consultation on proposed 'banning order offences' under the Housing and Planning Act 2016 – Department for Communities & Local Government consultation
The Housing and Planning Act 2016 introduces a power for the first-tier tribunal to serve a banning order on a landlord or property agent. The purpose of this consultation paper is to invite views and comments on which offences should constitute ‘banning order offences’ as defined by section 14 of the Act.
This consultation closes on 10 February 2017.
Public financial guidance review: consultation on a single body – HM Treasury and Department for Work & Pensions consultation
This consultation sets out a plan to create a single body providing debt advice, money guidance and pensions information and guidance. The body is intended to complement financial guidance provided by the third sector and industry, provide more targeted support for consumers and generate efficiencies.
This consultation closes on 13 February 2017.
Funding for Supported Housing – Department for Communities & Local Government and Department for Work & Pensions consultation
This consultation seeks views on the government’s plans for a new housing costs funding model for supported housing as well as views on how funding for emergency and short term placements should work. It covers the following areas:
  • devolved top-up funding to local authorities in England
  • funding for emergency and short term supported housing placements across Great Britain.
This consultation closes on 13 February 2017.
Prepared by Andy Dean, Assistant Director at the Rural Services Network
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