Grassroots Grants scheme opens for applications

Small local voluntary and community groups can from today apply for grants under the Government's new £80m Grassroots Grants scheme.

The three-year programme, funded by the Office of the Third Sector and run by the Community Development Foundation, is open to any local community groups with annual income below £20,000.

Groups can apply for awards of between £250 and £5,000 to fund community activities.
The application process has been kept deliberately simple, and the grants will be distributed directly through local funders.

The Government is also encouraging businesses of all sizes to invest in an endowment fund to prolong the scheme's life beyond 2011. It pledged £50m in match funding for the scheme in last year's third sector review, and estimates that the fund could ultimately be worth up to £150m.

Donations to the fund will be eligible for Gift Aid, meaning that a donation of £1,000 from a business would be worth £2,560 to the fund.

Phil Hope, Minister for the Third Sector, said: "I urge local leaders and businesses to make an investment in the future of their communities by contributing to the new endowment funds."

Stephen Hammersley, chief executive of the Community Foundation Network, said: "If we can repeat the success of previous pilots, then this £50m fund could help community foundations generate £1.5bn for grass-roots organisations within 20 years."

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