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Community buildings

How we work with and support those communities which run and manage community buildings across the county.

Access to council funding

We help community buildings in a range of ways, including Area Action Partnerships (AAPs) Area Budgets, councillors' Neighbourhood Budgets, their Members' Initiative Fund (MIF) and Community Building Grants. Funding is available for community buildings to deliver projects in their local AAP area.

Help to find other sources of funding

The council and Area Action Partnerships have worked closely with a range of funding providers in order to try and access additional funding that is not available to us, to help support community buildings. Some of the funders we have worked with include:

  • Biffa
  • Big Lottery
  • Community Assets and Service Grants (COMA) - now closed
  • East Durham Trust
  • Garfield Weston Foundation

Access to support and advice from our partners

We have developed strong relationships with partners in the voluntary sector to support community buildings across County Durham. Specialist services are provided to the community building management groups including a wide range of practical help, advice and support: 

  • funding advice
  • governing document review
  • health and safety requirements
  • incorporation as a company or Charities Incorporated Organisation

Throughout our work in supporting community buildings we have worked with many teams and partner organisations such as the Area Action Partnerships, Durham Community Action, the Asset Transfer Unit, Community Assets Matter, the voluntary and community sector, County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, St Chads College Durham University, Energy Efficiency Advisors, Skills Bridge and town and parish councils to help provide support. 

Community Building Grant

We recently ran a consultation on the proposed withdrawal of the Community Buildings Grant with Community Buildings management groups. The consultation took place between Monday 19th January 2015 -Friday 27th February 2015. For further information on our consultation, please visit our  page.

Asset Transfer

In 2012, our Cabinet agreed a Community Buildings Strategy and started one of the biggest and most ambitious asset transfer programmes in the UK, offering an opportunity for local people to take control of their community buildings. The strategy set out our ambition 'to ensure that by 2014 the County has a network of sustainable, well placed, highly valued and well used community buildings which are controlled by local people'. This strategy built on four clear objectives:

  1. Developing strong and vibrant communities.
  2. Maximising the impact of available resources to invest in community buildings where they are most needed.
  3. Handing control to local communities.
  4. Supporting the dedicated volunteers who run community buildings.

To achieve this strategy, we agreed to target investment of £2.15m on prioritised council owned community buildings based on a principle of asset transfer and a maximum investment of 70%. 120 community buildings were identified to be included within this time limited programme. A temporary support team was put in place in May/June 2012 to facilitate this and ensure buildings became sustainable.

Expectations and Achievements

The projects achievements exceeded our expectations and examples of these achievements include:

  • 97 centres are to be maintained for community use.
  • Centres have attracted funding for buildings from sources that would not have been available to the council.
  • They have a better understanding of what the community want from the centres.
  • They have clear five year plans for the future by developing their business plan.
  • Housing providers took responsibility for 38 of the 120 buildings. Based on usage, they have retained 24 as communal rooms, redeveloped 6 for housing and the other 8 are being considered to achieve the best outcomes for local residents.

View the Community Buildings Strategy report to Cabinet from February 2012.

Contact us
Community Buildings
Our address is:
  • Durham County Council
  • Environment, Health and Consumer Protect
  • PO Box 617
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 9HZ

Community Buildings Grant
03000 263 593
Our address is:
  • Partnership and Community Engagement
  • Durham County Council
  • County Hall
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UF
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