The Cabinet Office has revealed the names of almost 400 organisations that have been shortlisted for money from its £20m Local Sustainability Fund.
The long-awaited fund was announced by Nick Hurd, then the Minister for Civil Society, in an interview with Third Sector in March 2014. He said he expected it to have a value of £40m.
The fund, which was opened to applications in June this year and is managed by the Big Lottery Fund, will make grants of between £20,000 and £100,000 to voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations in England that provide services to vulnerable and disadvantaged people and have annual incomes of between £100,000 and £1.5m.
A statement on the Cabinet Office website yesterday said that more than 1,000 organisations had responded to the first phase of the application process, which closed on 26 July. Of these, 397 had been shortlisted and invited to submit full applications, it said.
A spokeswoman for the department said that it expected about 260 awards to be made to organisations on the shortlist.
Asked to confirm the total amount of funding that had been applied for by the shortlisted organisations, she said they were asked only to give an indication of what they would apply for and would be asked to submit detailed plans and budgets in the next stage of the process.
But she said that the total amount applied for exceeded the value of the fund.
"This will enable us to direct the funding to the highest-quality applications," she said.
She said shortlisting had been carried out by regional panels and, although no specific amount of money had been allocated per region, the department was keen to ensure a spread of grants was made across the country.
The successful applicants are expected to be announced in early 2016.