Consultation on plans to revise funding scheme

Northumberland Gazette latest
Northumberland Gazette latest

Plans to revise and relaunch a much-valued community funding scheme are being considered by Northumberland County Council.

Proposals for the future operation of the Northumberland Community Chest will be put before the five new local area councils to seek their views.

Under the plans, there would be a new grant – called Help For You – aimed at under 18s to help them pursue a particular ambition. Up to £200 would be available for each successful applicant.

It is proposed that both the local and county-wide elements of the community chest are retained.

For local schemes, there will be a £5,000 upper grant limit with a maximum award of 75 per cent of the cost of any proposal.

For the county-wide element, the pot has been doubled to £60,000. There will be no upper grant limit, but the maximum grant award will be 75 per cent of the project’s costs.

The community chest fund has been in operation in Northumberland since 2009 and over its lifetime 1,450 awards, totalling £2.6million, have been made to voluntary and community groups to develop projects that enhance the environment, improve health and wellbeing and strengthen communities.

County-council leader Peter Jackson said: “We know how helpful the community chest fund has been. We have been reviewing it and feel there is some room to improve it.

“We propose that the community chest budget will be managed and allocated locally with funding allocations for each area council.”

In future, it is proposed that each local area council will have the flexibility to identify particular priority themes which are seen as particularly relevant to their communities.

The aim is to relaunch the scheme at the end of this month, with the deadline for the first round of applications on Friday, September 29.