Posted: Mon 4th Sep 2023
Local people can apply for up to £2m to save pubs, community halls, gardens, sports clubs and other venues through the latest round of the government's Community Ownership Fund.
First announced in the March 2021 Spring Budget and launched in July that year, the Community Ownership Fund provides £150m over four years to protect local assets that are at risk of being lost.
For the third round of funding, which closes for applications at 11.59am on 11 October, the money available for applicants has doubled to £2m, and the amount organisations need to match fund has decreased from 50% to 20%.
Minister for levelling up Dehenna Davison said:
"We want to ensure that the community institutions which are a vital part of our social fabric, like pubs and sports clubs, can continue to play a central role in towns and villages across the UK.
"By doubling the funding that organisations can receive, we are giving communities better opportunities and safeguarding the incredible local assets that are at their heart."
The fund has so far supported 150 community assets with £36.9m awarded to projects across the UK. Of that, £25.5m has been allocated to 97 projects in England, £5.2m to 24 projects in Scotland, £3.2m to 15 projects in Wales and £3m to 14 projects in Northern Ireland.
Among the organisations that have received grants is Bury FC. The football team recently played their first game since 2019 after fans were given £1m to help them buy the historic Gigg Lane stadium.
Another project that has benefited is Zion Bristol, a community hub providing space for people to meet and for groups to deliver services such as mental health and dementia support. It received £240,000 in funding and was bought by a group of local residents.
Emma Moore, Zion Bristol centre manager, said:
"We're proof that you can save an asset. We're in an area where things are always being taken away and not being replaced.
"It's a big boost for the local community that we can affect change and save assets – it’s an empowering thing."
Guidance for applying to round three of the Community Ownership Fund is here.