Bury Council doubles maximum grant bid level for community groups after underspend

Bury Town Hall
Bury Town Hall

Bury Council has doubled the maximum amount of grant funding local community groups can bid for after almost two-thirds of its grants budget went unclaimed last year.

The council sets aside £56,000 a year for community groups in Bury, with six township forums across the town each receiving £8,000 to distribute, with another £8,000 available for cross-forum initiatives. Community groups could claim grants of up to £250, according to the council.

But for the financial year ending last week, only £20,000 had been awarded to community groups, with the council blaming the poor uptake on the low cap on maximum grants.

The council will therefore double the maximum bid threshold for bids to the fund to £500, and to £750 for cross-ward applications.

A spokesman for the council said the council would decide "how best to support local groups" using the £36,000 left over from last year's pot. 

"We have discussed the reasons for the low number of applications, and it would appear that one is that the maximum grant a group can apply for – £250 – is too low for many of them to fund their proposals," he said. 

"So for the coming financial year we will double the maximum amount that can be applied for in a single township. We would encourage local groups to come forward and apply for the cash help available.

"We recognise the great work undertaken by local groups, so we are using the unallocated funds to supplement the support given to community organisations in the coming year. 

"It is a constant source of regret that demand for resources outstrips the money we have available, but by using the township forum underspends in this way we have been able to keep the money in the voluntary sector and avoid much deeper, damaging cuts to local organisations."

He said the council had a further fund that awarded grants to groups such as the local Citizens Advice bureau and which gave out £450,000 in grants last year. 

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