The Uniformed Services and Associated Group Organisations Fund (USAGOF) will be a £25,000 pot of money from which groups will be able to apply for up to £1,000.
It is aimed at organisations in the county which ‘can provide evidence that they sustain opportunities for engagement and volunteering as part of an established programme to benefit local communities’.
Following approval at a meeting of the authority’s cabinet which took place on Tuesday January 14, the funding will be made available for applications to be made at quarterly intervals up to the end of March 2021.
It follows a Government commitment in 2018 to invest up to £5million to increase opportunities for disadvantaged children to take part in youth organisations, with the council now providing extra investment.
Coun Cath Homer said: “These groups do absolutely fantastic work with young people. They give people opportunities to do things they would never normally do.
“If you look across the county, we are pretty well-served with one uniformed group or another.”
She also highlighted a recent report which outlined how many of the country’s business leaders had backgrounds in these sorts of groups and how the skills they had learned had helped them in their careers.
Groups and organisations which would qualify for funding include Girlguiding, the Scout Association, Mini Police/Volunteer Police Cadets, Young Firefighters/Fire Cadets, St John Ambulance Cadets, Air Training Corps, Sea Cadet Corps, Army Cadet Force, Girls’/Boys’ Brigade and any other constituted groups or clubs.
It is anticipated that the funding would be used to support activities such as volunteering, celebrating good work, promotion and celebration campaigns, and learning opportunities.
It could also extend to equipment, travel and activity costs or uniform contributions and details of how groups can apply through the council will be announced shortly.
After the meeting, Coun Wayne Daley, the council’s cabinet member for children’s services, said: “This is a fantastic scheme which will let people experience and benefit from a wide range of opportunities that otherwise would not be open to them.
“Groups across Northumberland tell us their work is about bringing people together, having fun and adventure while learning valuable life skills like teamwork, resilience, initiative and problem solving.
“We know there are already a huge number of volunteers, both adults and young people, already active in groups across the county and we want to open this up for more people to get involved.
“This fund recognises the important role these groups play in engaging young people in positive behaviours and activities from a very young age which carries through as they get older.”