Welsh community groups offered grants to take over disused public buildings

Big Lottery Fund and Welsh Assembly launch community asset transfer programme

Community groups in Wales are being offered grants to take over disused public buildings and land under a £13m scheme being run by the Big Lottery Fund and the Welsh Assembly Government.

The two bodies officially lauched the new community asset transfer programme on 4 November.

The scheme will provide capital and revenue funding to support moving land and buildings from the public sector to community ownership, with organisations able to apply for grants of up to £800,000.

Phil Jarrold, deputy chief executive of Welsh charity umbrella body the WCVA, said property and land in community ownership could "play a vital part in helping organisations to achieve financial independence and sustainability".

Leighton Andrews, deputy minister for regeneration, said many public assets in Wales were not used to their full potential and the programme was about identifying the best way to breathe new life into facilities.

Applications for the first round of funding, aimed at schemes that are already well developed, close on 4 December. Two further rounds will start in 2010.

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