£300,000 available to Richmondshire community groups

A new £300,000 grant scheme to fund community and social projects has won the approval of Richmondshire district councillors.

The Communities Investment Fund (CIF) will provide cash to community groups and charities to support new projects and improve facilities for local people.

Two thirds of the pot will benefit the five growth areas of Colburn, Richmond, Hipswell, Scotton and Leyburn with the remaining £100,000 available across the remainder of the district.

Groups can apply for a maximum of £50,000 for their projects.

The new fund replaces the current social fund and draws on both its experience and that of the Community Opportunities Fund which ran for the three years prior to 2016.

“CIF will draw upon the lessons learned from these two funds, keeping those that worked well and revising others to make accessing the cash as easy as possible,” said council leader, Councillor Angie Dale.

“Due to restrictions approvals on the social fund applications have been low and we have almost 50 per cent of the funds still available two years down the line.

“We want to remove those barriers so that more groups can access CIF – we want this to be a community fund for the community without reams of paperwork and hoops to go through to access it.”

She said ward members will be notified about applications in their area but their support won’t be deemed essential and all decisions will be made by officers in consultation with the leader and deputy leader.

Up to 70 per cent of a schemes cost will be supportable but will not include vehicle purchases, running costs or projects that have been completed or are underway.

Members of the district council’s corporate board gave approval for the scheme when they met last night, including the appointment of a part time officer to administer the fund.

It is expected to be open for applications in October 2019.

For more information on the fund check out richmondshire.gov.uk