Community Buildings Grant consultation
The Community Buildings Grant is a non-recurring grant for community building management groups. It has supported our Community Buildings Strategy vision 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'.
Why did we consult on the grant?
At present, we are facing unprecedented financial pressures and despite already achieving savings of £137 million since 2011, it is now believed that the total sum to be saved by 2019 will exceed £250 million. We have to identify where savings can be made in every area of our work.
As part of the savings we are looking to make, we felt it was necessary to consult with community building management groups to seek their views on the review of the Community Building Grant. We proposed to withdraw the grant and instead offer advice to management groups to help them to be self-sustainable, including offering funding advice.
Our records show that the vast majority of grant recipients have been allocated additional funding from other council sources, including awards of over £3 million from Area Action Partnerships and councillors' Neighbourhood Budgets. As part of our work we will continue to enable centres to access financial support for specific projects through these sources.
Our consultation took place between 19 January and 27 February 2015. As part of our consultation we emailed and wrote to community building management groups and asked them to complete a questionnaire as well as getting feedback from interested organisations to gather a wide range of views. We also asked for your views via an online questionnaire, which is now closed.
You Said, We Did
The Cabinet met on 15 July 2015 and approved the recommendation's in the Assistant Chief Executive's.
Questionnaires were sent to current applicants as well as past recipients and others who had registered an interest. From these, 130 community building management groups completed and returned questionnaires. 121 were current or past recipients of the community building grant and 99 had last received the grant for the year 2014/15.
The report recommended that the Community Buildings Grant was withdrawn, with no standard payments made in 2015/16. Officer support will be offered to all groups that have expressed concerns regarding running costs, with a full analysis of their income and expenditure taken into account. In addition a fund of £60,000 will be established for community buildings in 2015/16 to allow a grant of up to £1,600 to be paid to any group facing extreme financial hardship and able to demonstrate that they have taken all reasonable steps to increase their income. Payment of this fund will only be considered following the provision of officer support to raise alternative funds and final decisions regarding eligibility will be delegated to the Assistant Chief Executive, in consultation with the Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods and Local Partnerships.
The recommendations contained in the report were approved.
Community Buildings Grant
03000 263 593
Our address is:
- Partnership and Community Engagement
- Durham County Council
- County Hall
- County Durham
- United Kingdom
- DH1 5UF