THE COMMUNITY OWNERSHIP FUND - AN UPDATE

We were expecting Round 2 of the government’s Community Ownership Fund to open in December 2021. However, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (formerly the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG)) has recently issued the following statement: (see below)

“In order to fully examine, learn and implement the lessons of the first pilot bidding round of the Community Ownership Fund, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities will be pushing back the start date for the second round to Spring 2022. This will enable us to ensure that the Community Ownership Fund is able to effectively invest in communities across the United Kingdom and that communities have more time to submit successful applications to the fund.

We will be launching an updated prospectus, assessment guidance and application form in spring 2022. Alongside this we will also be offering additional support to interested groups to help as many projects as possible to benefit from the fund.

“In the meantime, we understand that some community groups who were unsuccessful in round 1 will be seeking to reapply for funding due to urgent time constraints related to saving their community asset. 
We will therefore be reopening round 1 only for those applicants whose bids were eligible but were not funded in the first bidding round on 6 December 2021 and closing in February 2022. The assessment criteria and prospectus will remain the same as round 1, and we are therefore only looking for markedly improved bids to reapply, otherwise projects will not meet the requirements for funding.

“We will be contacting all those who were eligible but unfunded in round one to discuss how we can offer support them going forward.”

In the meantime, here’s a recap of the Fund:

The Community Ownership Fund, which a range of organisations can apply to, including registered charities, Community Interest Companies (CICs), Charitable incorporated organisations (CIOs), Co-operatives, Community Benefit Societies, and not-for-profit Companies Limited by Guarantee, will offer capital grants up to £250,000 and revenue grants up to £50,000 for UK community organisations to take on the sustainable ownership of community assets such as community buildings, community shops and parks that are at risk of being lost to a local area. 

The Fund is designed to enable and support UK community organisations to take ownership of assets such as parks, pubs and theatres. Applicants will be expected to prove that an asset is likely to be lost to the local area if the community does not intervene, and that local people will use it if it is taken over. Applicants will also have to show how the asset will be sustainable in the long term once it moves into community ownership.

Grants can be used to:

o Acquire a physical community asset or facility at risk, such as land and buildings which deliver a benefit to local people.
o 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.
o 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.
o Set up a new community business or buy an existing business in order to save an asset or amenity of importance to the community, 
and/or
o 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.

The Fund will run until 2024/25 and there will be at least 8 bidding rounds in total. Round 2 was expected to open in December 2021, but has now been deferred until Spring 2022. Round 3, which was scheduled to open in May 2022 is therefore also likely to be pushed back until later in the year.

Further information about the Fund, including the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities statement above, is available on the GOV.UK website.

Contact details for MHCLG are:

The Community Ownership Fund
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
2 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DF
Tel: 
030 3444 0000
Email: correspondence(at)communities.gov.uk

Where to find us

Llandrindod Wells Office

Unit 30
Ddole Road Industrial Estate
Llandrindod Wells
Powys
LD1 6DF

01597 822 191

Newtown Office

Plas Dolerw
Milford Road
Newtown
Powys
SY16 2EH

01686 626 220

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