Aims/priorities: The Community Ownership Fund is a £150 million fund over four years to support community groups across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to take ownership of assets which are at risk of being lost to the community. The purpose of the Fund is to support communities to purchase community assets and amenities and run them as sustainable community businesses.
The Fund will support proposals to:
- Acquire a physical community asset or facility at risk, such as land and buildings which deliver a benefit to local people.
- Renovate, repair or refurbish the asset, only where this is part of a sale or transfer to save a community asset at risk and where this is critical to saving the asset and making it sustainable.
- Set up a new community business or buy an existing business in order to save an asset or amenity of importance to the community.
- The purchase of associated stock, collections or intellectual property, where it is associated with buying a physical asset or buying a business to save an amenity.
- Move a community amenity to a new, more appropriate location within the same community. This might be because a different location offers better value to continue the amenity, or because the venue is in itself an asset of community value.
Who can apply? Applications will be accepted from voluntary and community organisations from all parts of the United Kingdom who have a viable plan for taking ownership of a community asset at risk and running it sustainably for community benefit.
Grant amount: Applicants can apply for a blend of the following funding:
- Capital funding to take ownership (including the acquisition of the building; refurbishment costs alongside a sale or a transfer). Up to £250,000 match-funded capital will be available for most asset types. Exceptionally bidders will be able to make the case for up to £1 million match-funding to help establish a community-owned sports club or help buy a sports club or ground at risk of being lost without community intervention.
- Funding for project development - this might include professional fees for technical advice from architects or surveyors or legal advice. It might also include costs for project management to oversee capital works where this is part of an application.
- Post-acquisition support funding for up to the first year of operation, where there is a convincing case that this will help support a sustainable business model in the long term. Up to £50,000 (and no more than 20% of the total capital costs applied for through the Fund) is available for project development costs and post-acquisition support.
Applicants are required to provide at least 50% of their total project costs from other sources.
Application process: Guidance documents and application forms are available from the GOV.UK website.
Deadline: Round 1 - 13 August 2021. Round 2 will open in December 2021 and Round 3 will open in May 2022.
Contact information: Tel: 030 3444 0000