£1.4 million funding pot for hard working community groups
Community and voluntary groups can now access an additional £1.4 million of funding to help provide much-needed support during the Coronavirus pandemic.
We are giving each of our14 area action partnerships (AAP) an extra £100,000 to allocate to groups who are working hard to provide support at a grass roots level across the county.
In addition, we are providing local councillors with flexibility to use their neighbourhood budgets to support community groups and the voluntary sector by releasing revenue funding previously allocated for capital projects.
This flexibility, if fully utilised, will provide up to a further £1.76 million of financial support to County Durham communities.
The announcement follows the launch of County Durham Together last week. Led by the council, this is a virtual community hub that brings together groups, charities and volunteers to support vulnerable people who are self-isolating.
Cllr Simon Henig, our Leader, said "During these extremely difficult times, it is important that the council does all it can to help our local communities by bringing together the many groups that are providing much-needed day-to-day support.
"We have already launched our community hubs and we are now setting out a package of additional financial support to help fund costs being incurred by community and voluntary groups right across County Durham. This will ensure the money will be directed to where it is most needed."
Easing financial pressures
Cllr Alan Napier, our Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for resources, said: "This additional funding will help community groups to continue to provide vital services during the coronavirus outbreak.
"We know that financial pressures are a challenge for many groups providing help to local communities and that is why we are committing these significant funds, which will be managed locally across the county.
"This is a considerable investment and builds upon the additional support we announced through our local council tax reduction scheme this week, as well as the work that is ongoing to pay grants to local businesses as quickly as possible."
Meeting the challenge
Cllr Brian Stephens, our Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: "Our AAPs are very much at the heart of the communities they serve, and, over the last ten years, they have provided practical and financial support for tens of thousands of projects benefiting people of all ages.
"At a time when the nation is facing an unprecedented challenge, this support is more important than ever. This additional funding will help AAPs to support our communities to meet the challenge and help one another through this difficult and uncertain time."
AAPs will be working with groups to identify gaps in provision in their areas. More information can be provided by contacting AAPs directly. Contact details are available on the Area Action Partnerships page, with groups encouraged to contact AAPs through their specific email addresses due to Coronavirus working arrangements.
To request help or to volunteer for County Durham Together, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 03000 260 260.