Rural funding opportunities
RGF round 4 was launched on 17 January 2013 and will allocate a further £350 million. RGF objectives, criteria and eligibility remain the same as previous rounds. The Regional Growth Fund will provide a mixture of direct support for private sector investments and private public partnerships (for the purposes of RGF, universities and charities are generally considered to be private sector). All projects should lever private sector investment for long term growth and private sector employment. The criteria for RGF asks bids to show that they would:
create additional sustainable private sector growth
rebalance the economy in those areas currently dependent on the public sector
not otherwise go ahead without support from the Regional Growth Fund
offer value for money
be State Aid compliant
There is a minimum bid threshold of £1 million. The deadline for receipt of completed applications is 20 March 2013 and all funds will need to be drawn down by 31 March 2016.
Community Assets and Services Grants
Over £10 million is available to community groups looking to take over local services. Pre-feasibility grants between £5,000 and £10,000 are on offer to help organisations build internal capacity. Organisations that can demonstrate a strong potential to compete for public service delivery contracts can apply for feasibility grants of up to £100,000 to help compete in a procurement process. The deadline for the first cohort of applicants is 15 February 2013.
Pre-feasibility and feasibility grants are also available to community groups looking to buy buildings and assets valuable to the local community.
People's Postcode Trust - Small Grants Programme
Funding for projects of up to six months in length, ranging from £500 up to £10,000 (£5,000 in Wales) can be bid for by registered charities, community and voluntary groups, community interest companies and other not-for-profit organisations.
To be eligible for funding, all projects must help in one or more of the following areas:
To prevent poverty
To promote, maintain, improve and advance health
To advance citizenship or community development
To advance public participation in sport
To promote, improve and advance human rights, conflict resolution or reconciliation
To promote and advance environmental protection or improvement
Organisations that are not registered charities can apply for up to £2000. Applications over this amount are open to registered charities only.
The current funding round is open to Scotland, Wales and the North of England and closes on 22 February 2013. A new round for Scotland, Wales and the South of England will open on 7 April followed by a round which includes the east and West Midlands opening on 8 July.
Community Sport Activation Fund - Sport England
The Community Sport Activation Fund is a £40 million Lottery revenue fund developed to support grassroots activity at a very local level. The kinds of projects which Sport England expect to fund include:
Activities reflecting a broad range of sports
Informal opportunities which could lead to regular participation
Multi-sport activities which provide people with a range of choices and opportunities to suit them
Family orientated activities with a focus on 14 plus age group
Local activator roles that focus on directly organising and delivering new opportunities for participation.
Projects could be for up to three years and the grants will range from £50,000 - £250,000 with partnership funding required. The next funding round opens on 7 May and closes on 1 July 2013.
Grants for Places of Worship - Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)
The UK-wide Grants for Places of Worship programme is for projects that involve urgent structural repairs to places of worship that are at risk. As part of a repair project HLF can also fund work to encourage greater community use and engagement. Applications can be made for a grant from £10,000 to £250,000 with a two-round application process. This is to enable applications to be made at an early stage of project planning and help to be provided in working out the scope of the work that needs to be undertaken before submitting proposals in greater detail.
In England, decisions are made four times a year by Local Committees. The next committee meeting is in June 2013 with all forms and supporting documentation to be provided by 28 February.
Enhancing Communities Programme - Sita Trust
This programme supports projects that make physical improvements to community leisure facilities and historic buildings / structures. Not-for-profit organisations including community groups, parish councils, local authorities and charities can apply. Projects can be supported in any of 115 funding zones around qualifying sites owned by SITA UK.
A Core Fund provides grants of up to £60,000 where overall project costs are no more than £250,000 and a Fast Track Fund provides grants of up to £20,000 where overall project costs are no more than £40,000. The next deadlines for applications to each fund are 18 March and 25 February 2013 respectively.
Empty Homes Round 2 - Homes and Communities Agency (HCA)
Communities Minister Don Foster MP has announced a further round of funding aimed at bringing empty properties back into use. As well as tackling empty homes this new bid round has an additional emphasis on the refurbishment of empty commercial and non-residential properties as affordable housing. To be considered for funding properties must have been empty for at least 6 months. Bidding is open to all organisations who are, or intend to become, qualified as HCA Investment Partners. This includes housing associations, local authorities, private sector developers and community groups, among others. Bids must be submitted by 25 March 2013.
Green Bus Fund Round 4 - Department for Transport
The Green Bus Fund allows bus companies and local authorities in England to compete for funds to help them buy new low carbon emission buses. The maximum grant per bus is 50% of the difference between the cost of the low carbon emission bus and its standard diesel equivalent. The maximum grant rate rises to 80% for fully electric buses. The competition is open to bus operators holding a current PSV operator's license who run local registered bus services, Community Transport operators, local authorities in England, Passenger Transport Executives (PTEs), Transport for London (TfL) and companies leasing/renting buses to these bodies. Bids must be submitted by 26 March 2013.
The Dairy Fund - RDPE Network/Defra
The Dairy Fund is now open for applications from eligible projects that will deliver transformational change to multiple English dairy farm businesses. Grants are available from £25,000 to circa £1million.
Projects will be considered that encourage the establishment, development or expansion of co-operation structures and for adding value projects by such structures that will improve the profitability of its farmer members. The central objectives of the cooperation activity must be to strengthen members connection with their market(s), enable dairy farmers to explore and develop new market opportunities and ultimately improve farm profitability and long term sustainability of the dairy sector.
The Dairy Fund application process is competitive and those projects offering the greatest return on grant investment will be more likely to be successful. The application process includes two stages, an outline application stage and a full application stage. The deadline for outline applications is 28 February 2013.
Micro-Enterprise Support in Rural Growth Network Areas
Whilst the Rural Economy Grant application round has closed, due to a delay in establishing micro-enterprise support in the 5 Rural Growth Network areas, Rural Economy Grant support (for micro-enterprise businesses in target sectors only) will be available in these locations "in the near future".
Following the selection of the Rural Growth Networks, Defra are currently working with the successful areas to identify what support will be available, and the best method for businesses to apply. Defra state that further details will be made available as soon as possible.
The 5 selected Rural Growth Network areas are as follows:
Northumberland, Durham, and Gateshead
Coventry and Warwickshire
Swindon and Wiltshire
Devon and Somerset
Future Ready Fund - Homeless Transition Fund
The aim of the Future Ready Fund is 'To protect and enhance essential and strategically critical services for single homeless people and support them in the transition to becoming sustainable'. Grants of between £5000 and £25,000 are available to not-for-profit organisations which spend more than 50% of their income on single homeless people.
Protecting Playing Fields - Sport England
The fourth round of this programme opened on 10 December 2012 with a submission deadline of 18 February 2013. Local authorities, voluntary & community sector organisations, and educational establishments can apply for between £10,000 and £50,000 for projects that help communities maximise the sporting benefits of playing field land. The programme will create, improve and protect playing fields by:
Improving the condition of pitches
Creating playing field land (not less than 0.2 hectares)
Bringing disused playing fields back into use
Offering support to community and voluntary groups and local authorities to protect playing fields.
Supporting Libraries - Arts Council
An extra £6 million in grants for the arts funding of libraries is now open to applications and will be available until March 2015. The funding will support projects that stimulate ambitious and innovative partnerships between libraries and artists and/or arts organisations, encouraging communities to participate in cultural activities.
Public libraries can apply for grants of between £1,000 and £100,000 covering activities lasting up to three years. Applications can be made at any time.
Parks for People - Heritage Lottery Fund
This is a UK-wide programme, delivered in partnership with the BIG Lottery Fund in England until 2015. The Parks for People programme is for projects related to public parks and cemeteries in the UK. Applications can be made for grant from £100,000 to £5million. The next deadline is 28 February 2013.
Sharing Heritage - Heritage Lottery Fund
This fund is available to not-for-profit groups wanting to explore, share and celebrate their community's heritage. Activities supported can include events, exhibitions, festivals and celebrations, or producing local history publications, conservation of individual heritage items, volunteer training and support.
Start-up grants will also be available to community groups taking responsibility for heritage, to create the right constitutional framework (including the costs of professional advice on legal forms and governance structures) and to assess options in arriving at a strategy for managing the heritage. They may then make a further application for a grant for a project focused on their heritage.
Grants will be between £3000 and £10,000 and applications can be made in February 2013.
Our Heritage - Heritage Lottery Fund
This fund supports a range of heritage projects. For example, smaller parks and green spaces, community buildings, museum collections and archives as well as activity projects exploring languages, cultures and memories.
Transition funding will be available to organisations who have previously received HLF investment, to review their strategies and business plans and, where necessary with mentor support, identify ways of achieving greater sustainability.
Applications will be accepted from private individuals or commercial; 'for profit' organisations for physical work to heritage under this programme.
Grants will be between £10,000 and £100,000 and applications can be made in February 2013.
Heritage Grants - Heritage Lottery Fund
Heritage Grants is HLF's open programme for any type of project related to the national, regional, or local heritage in the UK. Applications can be made for grants of over £100,000 via a two round process with the project development phase taking up to 24 months, depending on the complexity of the project.
Deadline dates for submitting applications varies depending on the level of funding requested. For projects requesting between £2 million and £5 million the next deadline is 12 April for the Board meeting on 23 July 2013. For grant requests of £5 million or more all application forms and supporting materials must be submitted by 30 November.
Landscape Partnerships - Heritage Lottery Fund
This programme is currently closed to new applications and will re-open in February 2013. This programme is normally delivered by a partnership made up of regional, national and local organisations with an interest in the area, community groups and members of the community. The programme is based round a portfolio of smaller projects, which together provide long-term social, economic and environmental benefits for a rural area.
To apply for a grant, you must identify an area of countryside that has a distinctive landscape character and is recognised and valued by local people. The area of countryside should be no smaller than 20 km² and no larger than 200 km².
Community Right to Build - HCA
Community groups in England (outside Greater London) are invited to apply for a share of the £17.5m fund which is being made available to provide seed corn funding to help groups to formally establish, build up their development proposals and submit a Community Right to Build Order. The funding is available until the end of March 2015 or until funding is fully committed. It is unlikely that applications made after October 2014 will be successful. Any community group or parish council can seek to access the funding provided that they have constituted a formal organisation that meets certain basic standards. Community groups are encouraged to contact Locality in the first instance to discuss their application and development proposals.
Paths for Communities (P4C) - Natural England
Paths for Communities is a funding scheme set up to develop and enhance the network of Public Rights of Way (PROW) in England in order to deliver benefits to rural areas. Local community partnerships are eligible to bid to Natural England for funds.
The aim of P4C is to encourage and support local communities to work with land owners to make improvements to the network of Public Rights of Way. In all cases P4C projects must include some element of new Public Right of Way creation. In most cases projects will include an element of new Bridleway creation but projects that include Footpath creation alone will also be considered where community and economic benefit can be demonstrated. P4C will operate over the 2 year period from May 2012 to March 2014, with a total fund of £2m. All agreements will have to be made by December 2013.
Review of Planning Practice Guidance - Consultation
On 21 December 2012 the government welcomed the report of the review of planning practice guidance led by Lord Taylor of Goss Moor. The government is seeking views from users of the planning system on the recommendations made in this report by 15 February 2013.
Streamlining the Planning Application Process - Consultation
This consultation paper seeks views on measures to streamline the planning application process by simplifying the requirements for design and access statements, and improving the validation stage and requirements around local authority decisions notices. The consultation closes on 4 March 2013.
Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE) 2006: consultation on proposed changes
This consultation seeks views on proposals on a range of aspects of the TUPE Regulations 2006:
service provision changes
employee liability information
restrictions on changes to terms and conditions and protection against dismissal
economic, technical or organisational reasons for dismissal
duty to inform and consult representatives
The consultation closes on 11 April 2013.
EU Review of Less Favoured Areas - Consultation
The current Less Favoured Area (LFA) map determines eligibility for EU financial support. In England, the LFA measure is used to make the Uplands Transitional Payment until 2014.
Under the draft Rural Development Regulation (RDR), published as part of the CAP Reform proposals in October 2011, the European Commission is replacing LFAs with Areas Facing Natural Constraints (ANC). This requires a mapping exercise, which Defra is leading in England and co-ordinating at UK level. Devolved Administrations are carrying out mapping of their own countries.
An initial map for England has been developed against the draft new criteria. Defra would like to hear views on the results and any suggestions that might be taken into account in what is described as an iterative process.
The deadline for responses is 27 March 2013.
Measuring Child Poverty - Consultation
In 2012, the Government announced it would consult on developing better measures of child poverty which include income, but provide a more accurate picture of the reality of child poverty today. This consultation from the Departments for Education and Work & Pensions asks how the reality of child poverty can best be reflected using a multidimensional measure.
A number of potential dimensions are proposed: income and material deprivation, worklessness, unmanageable debt, poor housing, parental skill level, access to quality education, parental health and family stability.
Views are requested on the specifics of each dimension, as well as whether other dimensions should be included. The closing date for responses is 15 February 2013.
Further commentary on this matter can be found on the RSN website.