Communities urged to apply for £2m funding to save treasured local … – Rochdale Online

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Date published: 27 September 2023
The Dale Trust has applied for funds to purchase the playing surface at the Crown Oil Arena
Pubs, community halls, gardens, sports clubs and other treasured locations across the UK can benefit from up to £2 million in government funding each through the Community Ownership Fund, which is open again for applications.
The fund gives local people the chance to save prized community assets that are at risk of being lost forever, and keep them open for future generations to enjoy.
To encourage as many applications as possible and make the process easier, the money available for applicants has doubled to £2 million, and the amount organisations need to match fund has decreased from 50% to 20%.
One applicant this year includes the Dale Trust, which hopes to use the funds to purchase the playing surface at the Crown Oil Arena and put it into the ownership of the trust, before being leased back to the club.
Minister for Levelling Up Dehenna Davison said: “We want to ensure that the community institutions which are a vital part of our social fabric, like pubs and sports clubs, can continue to play a central role in towns and villages across the UK.
“By doubling the funding that organisations can receive, we are giving communities better opportunities and safeguarding the incredible local assets that are at their heart.”
The Department for Levelling Up’s £150 million fund has already helped 150 community assets get back on their feet since it launched in July 2021. Recently, Bury FC played their first game since 2019 at the historic Gigg Lane stadium after fans were given £1m from a previous funding round to help them buy the ground.
Another project which benefited from £240,000 investment from the fund is Zion Bristol, a community hub that provides spaces for local people to meet and for groups to deliver vital services such as mental health and dementia support groups. Since receiving funding, the centre has been bought by a group of local residents, and now has seven paid staff members as well as a group of dedicated volunteers.
Emma Moore, Zion Bristol Centre Manager, said: “We’re proof that you can save an asset. We’re an area where things are always being taken away and not being replaced.
“It’s a big boost for the local community that we can affect change and save assets – it’s an empowering thing.”
So far, the Community Ownership Fund has awarded £36.9m to projects across the UK, with £25.5m allocated to 97 projects across England, £5.2m allocated to 24 projects in Scotland, £3.2m to 15 projects in Wales and £3m to 14 projects in Northern Ireland.
Applications for the latest window are open until 11.59am on 11 October 2023.
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