Cabinet councillors today (February 3) approved more than £270,000 for voluntary organisations in 2022/23 in the first tranche of community grants to be awarded under a new policy.
This new approach has been introduced to allow Lewes District Council to support a broad range of groups, give flexibility to those it helps and reach out to a greater number of residents.
It also marks an increase of more than £100,000 to voluntary groups over the next three years.
Councillor Johnny Denis, Cabinet member for Communities and Customers, said: “We launched our new prospectus last summer taking into account views that were expressed during the consultation stage to develop a fairer way of allocating these grants.
“Our deadline for submissions was in October and we have been massively oversubscribed with applications totalling £600,000 – well over double our budget for the year.
“The Grants Working Group had the difficult task of carefully considering each application and I am delighted that Cabinet today agreed this support for our local voluntary sector which helps us to deliver important services for residents.”
For the first time, groups were asked to apply under five categories: Advice, Community Infrastructure, Environment and Wellbeing, Homeless Prevention and Equality.
In the Advice category, the council has awarded £190,000 to Citizens Advice; £7,000 to East Sussex Hearing Resource; £2,500 to East Sussex Vision Support; and £1,900 to Sussex Association for Spina Bifida & Hydrocephalus.
Under Community Infrastructure, £10,000 was granted to Hillcrest Community Centre and £29,000 to 3VA.
For Environment and Wellbeing, £10,000 was given to Newhaven Gig Rowing Club; £3,600 to Railway Land Wildlife Trust; £6,000 to Pippa’s Group; £2,000 to Baxters Field; and £750 to Denton Community Challenge.
A £12,000 application from Lewes District Churches Homelink was successful in the Homeless Prevention category.
Meanwhile, in the Equalities section, £2,000 was awarded to Children with Cancer Fund; £1,000 to Seahaven Hard of Hearing; and £8,228 to Home-Start East Sussex.
Councillor Denis added: “I am particularly pleased that we were able to increase the Advice grants by a further £11,000 this year, ensuring that we are meeting the need to provide informative and sound guidance to residents in response to the pandemic.”