UK Government: The Community Ownership Fund launch updated prospectus
The Community Ownership Fund is a £150 million, UK wide Fund helping community groups to protect, through community ownership, assets in their local area which are at risk of being lost.
The UK government launched the £150 million Community Ownership Fund in 2021. The Fund was set up to help communities take ownership of assets and amenities at risk of closure. It will run for 4 years.
Community Ownership Fund Prospectus and Webinars
An updated prospectus for the Community Ownership Fund was launched on 27 May 2022 and Expression of Interest to applicants will open on 10 June 2022.
Webinars for prospective applicants will take place on 8 June and 16 June, and will be open to Voluntary and Community Sector organisations, Councils and other organisations.
To register your interest of the webinars, fill out a sign-up form.
In Round One, 39 bids totalling £10.15m across all areas of the United Kingdom have been funded.
Amendments to Community Ownership Fund
They have made a number of changes to the eligibility requirements and application process for the fund having learnt lessons from a review of the first bidding round. These changes are explained in the updated Community Ownership Fund prospectus and include:
- an extension for project completion from 6 months to 12 months from the date indicated on the offer letter
- allowing the approval of bids for assets with at least 15-year leases and reasonable break clauses, although 25-year leases are still preferable
- removing the requirement for projects to have had a community use in the last 5 years, although assets must still have evidence of some past community use
- clarifying and simplifying the eligibility requirements for publicly owned assets and sporting assets.
Other changes include a more user-friendly prospectus, additional guidance on assessment and early-stage support for applicants. The latter will be provided by an external provider, referred to in the prospectus as the development support provider. This service will include support that will be available for every applicant and targeted support available for some applicants. Once this support is available, the prospectus will be updated with more detailed guidance.
Additionally, they have introduced a two-stage application process by including an always open Expression of Interest (EOI) stage, whereby applicants will complete a short form to check if their project is likely to be eligible and receive quick feedback on their proposals before submitting a full application.
Moving to three bidding windows per year, applicants can submit a full application once their EOI has been approved, at a time that is right for their project. Applicants deemed ready to progress to the second stage, will be provided with a link to the full application form to complete in any bidding window.
The first window will open 10 June and will close at 12pm on 19 August 2022. There will be two further application windows before the end of the financial year in April 2023.
A PDF of the slides from an earlier webinar explaining the changes is available above.
Key dates to note
- Updated prospectus is launched - 27 May 2022
- EOI stage opens - 10 June 2022
- First main application window opens - 10 June 2022
- First main application window closes - Noon 19 August 2022
For further information, visit Community Ownership Fund: Prospectus
Clink link to see a list of successful bids from Round 1 including organisations in Northern Ireland.
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