Strong early interest in Communitybuilders fund

Government scheme attracts 900 queries ahead of September opening date

More than 900 voluntary organisations have submitted expressions of interest in applying for funding from Communitybuilders, the £70m government scheme that opens for applications on 7 September.

The Communities and Local Government department and the Office of the Third Sector set up Communitybuilders to support projects that stimulate community cohesion.

Successful applicants should be able to demonstrate that their ideas "make a real and lasting difference to their local communities".

Sixty per cent of awards from the fund will be loans, and the remainder will be grants.

Not-for-profit groups can apply for loans of between £50,000 and £2m over 10 years. They will pay 5 per cent interest for the first three years before rates are reviewed. Organisations can also apply for grants of between £2,000 and £75,000.

"We hope to start making decisions on some of the smaller funding applications by the end of September, but larger investments requiring greater due diligence will probably take until early October," said Caroline Forster, deputy chief executive of the Adventure Capital Fund, which is managing Communitybuilders.

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