White paper reveals new communities fund

Communities secretary Hazel Blears has announced a £70m funding programme to strengthen community organisations and social enterprises.

The Communitybuilders fund will be a joint programme from the Communities and Local Government department and the Office of the Third Sector. It has been established to provide support for community projects "throughout conception, development and delivery".

About 400 organisations across England will benefit from the scheme, which will offer a mixture of grants and loans.

The fund is targeted at community groups and social enterprises that are hubs for wider community activities.

A delivery partner for the fund will be chosen through a competitive procurement process, and funding is expected to begin in spring 2009. The Adventure Capital Fund has already indicated that it will bid for the contract.

"The Communitybuilders scheme will support and develop the local organisations that provide a vital focal point for community life, bringing people together and providing services and activities under one roof," said Blears.

The fund was announced in the white paper Communities in Control: Real People, Real Power, which was published today.

The white paper includes details of a wider package of measures to support the third sector, including a £7.5m empowerment fund to help third sector organisations give a voice to communities.

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