The new funding may present opportunities for commercial agents to get involved in proposals that can help their communities take over valuable local assets. Match funding — up to 50 per cent — can be bid for by voluntary and community organisations to support the purchase and/or renovation of eligible assets and amenities.
Community Ownership Fund
The Government will use a common assessment framework to assess all community ownership proposals. Applicants are required to make the case for community intervention, proving the value of the asset to local people and that without community intervention the asset would be lost to the community, having demonstrable impact.
There are to be three rounds of bidding, with a deadline of 13 August 2021 for all round one bids. The fund will match other funds and resources raised by the applicant, covering up to 50 per cent of the total capital costs of the project.
For applicants to receive funding from the first round of bidding, they will need to be ready to access capital funding and complete their projects within six months of applying and provide a full business plan for how the asset will be run sustainably.
Applicants will also need to set out how the potential project will develop sustainable operating models and safeguard the use of community assets.
Additionally, to receive money from the Community Ownership Fund, applicants need to portray how the project will deliver:
- increased feelings of pride and improved perceptions of the local area as a place to live
- improved social trust, cohesion and sense of belonging
- increased local participation in community life, arts and culture and/or sport
- additional local economic outcomes – including creating jobs, volunteering opportunities and improving employability and skills levels in the local community
- additional social and wellbeing outcomes – including delivering positive impact in physical and/or mental health and reducing loneliness and social isolation
The fund, which is to be split over four years, will see applications to round two open during December 2021, with a third and final round scheduled to open during May 2022.