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Council's £100,000 boost for voluntary sector

Lewes District Council will be awarding more than £100,000 extra in community grants over three years under a new bidding process that opens next month.

Cabinet councillors today (July 8) adopted a new Community Grants Policy which will enable a wider range of groups to apply for funding, alongside allowing the council to be flexible about the support it offers.

They also agreed to increase the community grants budget by £35,000 annually from £228,000 to £263,000, which includes a rise in advice services support plus a new category encouraging the use of green and open spaces to promote wellbeing, for three years starting next year.

Applications for these awards will be open from August 2 to October 1, with grants awarded annually from April 2022 in three-year cycles.

Councillor Johnny Denis, Cabinet member for Communities and Customers, said: "This significant increase in funding recognises the immense contribution the voluntary sector makes across Lewes district.

"And I am delighted that our new approach to allocating this funding allows us to support an increased number of these organisations in a more transparent and focused way."

Community grants will be allocated across five areas:

  • Advice services: This includes benefits, Universal Credit, debt/money, housing and general advice
  • Infrastructure services: Services which help support the development of the third sector in using volunteers, seeking funding, ensuring best practice and supporting the start-ups of new groups
  • Environment and well-being: Services which support mental health and/or contribute to sustainability and the environment
  • Equalities: Services which support specific groups which may experience discrimination or disadvantage by promoting fairness and inclusion
  • Homeless prevention/sustainable accommodation: Supporting households into sustainable accommodation through, for example, the provision of security deposits

Councillor Denis added: "While these areas are broadly in line with our previous community grants policy, I am pleased we have added an extra allocation to focus on support for mental health and sustainability projects.

"Additionally, we expect applicants in this round of funding to demonstrate what part they will play in the district's recovery from the pandemic."