The UK Government’s £150 million Community Ownership Fund is accepting applications.
Funding is available to charities and community groups in the UK to support them in taking ownership of local assets such as pubs, theatres and parks.
Applications will be accepted from voluntary and community organisations from all parts of the United Kingdom who have a viable plan for taking ownership of a community asset at risk and running it sustainably for community benefit.
To be eligible, the applicant must be an incorporated organisation which is set up to deliver charitable purpose, social purpose or public benefit. Eligible organisation types include:
- Charitable incorporated organisation (CIO)
- Scottish charitable incorporated organisation (SCIO)
- Co-operatives including Community Benefit Societies
- Community Interest Company (CiC)
- Not-for-profit company limited by guarantee
To be eligible for investment from the Fund, the terms of community ownership must be either the ownership of the freehold or a long-term leasehold of at least 25 years minimum (with no break clauses).
Proposals will need to prove the value of the asset to local people and that the asset can run sustainably for the long-term benefit of the community. Projects could include (but are not limited to):
- Community centres
- Sporting and leisure facilities
- Music venues
- Post office buildings
The Community Ownership Fund will contribute up to 50% of the total capital required.
Applicants can apply for a blend of the following funding:
- Capital funding to take ownership (including the acquisition of the building; refurbishment costs alongside a sale or a transfer). Up to £250,000 match-funded capital will be available for most asset types. Exceptionally bidders will be able to make the case for up to £1 million match-funding to help establish a community-owned sports club or help buy a sports club or ground at risk of being lost without community intervention
- Funding for project development – this might include professional fees for technical advice from architects or surveyors or legal advice. It might also include costs for project management to oversee capital works where this is part of an application
- Post-acquisition support funding for up to the first year of operation, where there is a convincing case that this will help support a sustainable business model in the long term. Up to £50,000 (and no more than 20% of the total capital costs applied for through the Fund) is available for project development costs and post-acquisition support
The Round One deadline for applications is 13 August 2021.