Could your community take over the running of an asset at risk of closure? Could you run it as a community-owned business?
The UK Government’s Community Ownership Fund is available to groups looking to save important assets in their local area. As part of the Levelling Up Fund, groups can bid for up to £250,000 matched funding to help buy or take over local community assets at risk of being lost.
In exceptional cases, up to £1 million matched funding is available to help establish a community owned sports club or to help buy a sports ground at risk of being lost without community intervention.
The Fund helps to ensure that important community assets including pubs, theatres, post office buildings and clubs can continue to play a central role in towns and villages across the UK.
Inveraray Pier success
Local group, Inspire Inveraray recently received £45,000 from the Community Ownership Fund to help secure their bid to buy the privately owned Inveraray Pier.
The group have fundraised for the past three years and with the help of the Fund have now reached their £100,000.
The pier, once home to the historic puffer, the Vital Spark has been closed to the public for the last nine years. The group are now in the process of buying it and will restore and open the pier to the public once again.
The aim is to introduce a number of activities including fishing, boat trips, diving and water sports.
How to apply
The fund is only available to 30 projects across the UK with a total of £7.73 million.
You need to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) form and have this approved.
Once approved, a link to the full application for the Fund will follow.
To submit an EOI, visit the UK Government’s website https://www.gov.uk/guidance/community-ownership-fund-round-2-how-to-express-your-interest-in-applying
The EOI tests whether a project is likely to be eligible before submitting a full application.
The bidding window of Round 2 of the fund closes on 14 April at 11.59am.
Councillor Robin Currie, Leader of Argyll and Bute Council:
“The Community Ownership Fund is a great opportunity for communities to save much loved assets in their local area and inject new life that helps grow the local economy.
Inspire Inveraray is a fantastic example of what can be achieved when communities come together. They have worked so hard to raise the initial funds and the additional funding will now enable the community to take ownership of this historic asset. We wish them every success with the project and can’t wait to see the pier opened again.”
Updated list of successful bidders: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/community-ownership-fund-first-round-successful-bidders
Expression of interest guidance: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/community-ownership-fund-round-2-how-to-express-your-interest-in-applying
Levelling Up website: https://levellingup.campaign.gov.uk/projects-near-me/