Grant programme opens to help community groups take over land and buildings

Annemarie Naylor, head of assets at Locality, says the community ownership grants scheme will help to safeguard the buildings that local groups value most

Fresh Horizons, which runs a service hub in Huddersfield
Fresh Horizons, which runs a service hub in Huddersfield

Community groups can apply for grants from a new £16.7m fund to help them take over the management of land and buildings of importance to the community.

The Community Ownership and Management of Assets Grant Programme (Including Right to Bid) opened yesterday and will provide organisations with funding to help them develop bids to take over the running of facilities such as shops, pubs, libraries and community centres.

The Social Investment Business will manage the fund on behalf of the Communities and Local Government department and the community groups network Locality.

The fund will provide pre-feasibility grants of between £5,000 and £10,000 to help organisations develop the capacity to take on the ownership of assets. They can then apply for grants of between £10,000 and £100,000 to help them undertake feasibility studies into owning and managing the building or land.

The fund has been created to help local groups take advantage of Community Right to Bid, an aspect of the Localism Act that comes into force in the autumn.

The Community Right to Bid gives groups up to six months to prepare bids for "listed assets of community value" before they are put on the open market.

Annemarie Naylor, head of assets at Locality, said: "The grant programme will afford communities across the country access to the expert advice and support they need in order to acquire, safeguard and improve the land and buildings they value the most. In particular, it will help translate ambitious local plans for the development of land and buildings by and for communities into reality."

Information on the criteria for funding is available from the Social Investment Business.

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