The government extends Community Ownership Fund to local councils
The government's Community Ownership Fund has been extended to allow applications from local (parish and town) councils for the first time.
The Community Ownership Fund is a government programme with £150m over four years run by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to help communities take ownership of assets at risk of closure across the UK.
The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has been lobbying the government to extend the fund's eligibility to local councils. Only community and voluntary organisations have been allowed to apply, with all types of councils excluded. In addition to allowing applications from local councils, other changes to the fund include increasing the amount of funding all projects can bid for from £250,000 to £1m and the requirement for match-funding reduced to as low as 10%.
Round three of the fund launched on 11 May and aims to support community ownership projects such as sports facilities, arts and music venues, museums and galleries, parks, pubs, post offices and shops.
Cllr Keith Stevens, NALC chair, said: "NALC is delighted that England's local (parish and town) councils will now be able to apply to the government's Community Ownership Fund for the first time. Since the fund was first introduced, NALC has lobbied for the fund to be open to local councils, and I am pleased the government has listened. This vital funding will help local councils, the first tier of local government in most areas, continue to work with their communities to protect, enhance and preserve their treasured community assets. I strongly urge local councils to consider applying and take full advantage of this direct funding opportunity."