On 6th October 2011, Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society, launched the Community First fund to provide small grants to certain communities up and down the country, based on the degree of disadvantage. Community First is described as a drive to boost local social action within the Government’s Big Society agenda.
An amount of £30 million will be available for small grants on a matched contribution basis. Recommendation for a grant will be decided by a panel of people drawn from the relevant community. Each grant award will have a minimum of £250 and a maximum of £2500 within any one year to the same applicant. A further £50 million has been promised for use in matching private sector involvement, in order that the programme may continue into the future.
The body chosen by the Government to be responsible for operating the Community First programme is the Community Development Foundation. CDF will hold the funds and make final decisions on applications. At a local level, accountability and transparency will be undertaken by a registered local charity or voluntary organisation, acting as a ‘panel partner’.
Orchard Park & Greenwood
Of the £813,840 Community First money allocated to Hull, the Orchard Park & Greenwood ward will be entitled to £50,865 (6.25%), available as follows:
- Year 1: £8,436 to the end of March 2012 (funding finished)
Year 2: £12,734 for 1st April 2012 to 31st March 2013 (funding finished)
Year 3: £12,732 for 1st April 2013 to 31st March 2014
Year 4: £16,963 for 1st April 2014 to 31st March 2015.
1. improve the health and well-being of families with young children
2. provide activities and resources for young people
3. reduce the social isolation for elderly residents
4. improve the employability of residents
5. support the improvement and maintenance of the environment.
An initial meeting was held 21st November 2011 to which were invited residents of the area who are or have been active in community projects. Previous board members of the Orchard Park housing renewal scheme, cancelled by the Government in November 2010, were approached on the grounds that their experience would help get the Community First panel – and therefore the flow of grants – up and running with least delay.
Confirmation of registration of the Orchard Park & Greenward Community First Panel was received from Community Development Foundation on 22nd December 2011.
Panel membership is agreed as:
Councillor Julia Conner
Councillor Terry Geraghty
how it works
A constituted local group or organisation seeking funds contacts the panel, or the panel may invite a local group to apply. The group submits a detailed proposal to the panel. Because Community First is matched funding, the group is required to describe the form of its own contribution. This need not be money but could be volunteer time, goods, services or facilities.
At regular intervals, the panel meets to consider applications. Approved applications are forwarded to CDF. If the panel’s recommendation is accepted, CDF enters a ‘grant relationship’ with the group and releases the money. The group supply the panel and CDF with progress information and possibly pictures by way of feedback.
The panel submitted a Community First Plan to the Government’s Cabinet Office as required at the close of Year 2. No further funding will be available until this has been approved.
Hull Community First
guidance document 2012