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£130m grassroots grants scheme opens its doors to small local voluntary and community groups

£130m grassroots grants scheme opens its doors to small local voluntary and community groups

CABINET OFFICE News Release (CAB/091/08) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 4 September 2008

The Government's groundbreaking £130million Grassroots Grants scheme declared itself open for business today and called on small local voluntary and community groups to come forward and get their hands on essential funding.

Whether it's helping local clubs get hold of new kit, coaching new volunteers or simply giving the village hall a fresh lick of paint, Grassroots Grants aim to make a real and immediate difference to the work of any small and local community groups with annual incomes below £20,000.

The programme, funded by the Office of The Third Sector in the Cabinet Office and administered by the Community Development Foundation, offers grants of between £250 and £5,000 to support activities that lie right at the heart of our local communities.

Phil Hope, Minister for the Third Sector, said:

"Our communities are teeming with thousands of small groups and individuals who work tirelessly to tackle local problems and this £130million fund is dedicated to supporting their efforts. Grassroots Grants will put essential cash in the hands of small local voluntary groups without all the paperwork required for larger grants."

To keep the process as simple and easy as possible for applicants, the money is being distributed directly through local funders - slightly larger local organisations already based in the community and selected because they are familiar with the needs and causes in each area.

Local, regional and national businesses were also invited to get involved through investing in the scheme's innovative endowment match challenge - the first of its kind in England.

Within the programme, the Government has set aside a £50million pot from which it will match endowment investments from businesses. This offers businesses the chance to contribute directly to supporting and sustaining the communities in which they operate.

The endowment element - which is also open to individual investors - aims to ensure that that Grassroots Grants remain available for many years to come. It is estimated that with match funding and sound investment this £50million could be worth as much as £150million when it starts paying out in 2011. In addition, as Gift Aid can be claimed on donations to a charitable cause, a £1,000 match-funded contribution from a business would be worth £2,560 to the fund.

Today's announcement names 66 of those local funders who are ready to be approached by grant applicants or potential investors.

Phil Hope added:

"I urge local leaders and businesses to make an investment in the future of their community by contributing to the new endowment funds. Every penny that goes in will return a much greater value, particularly as donations will also be eligible for Gift Aid."

Alison Seabrooke, CDF Chief Executive said:

"Grassroots Grants are exciting as they provide funding for community groups now and into the future. Grassroots Grants reach out to grassroots groups which may have never even considered applying for grant funding before. The endowment match challenge enables local funders to continue this funding over the long-term, giving small community groups a real future.

"Grassroots Grants are all about building a strong, independent third sector, and the Community Development Foundation is delighted to be administering such an innovative programme."

Stephen Hammersley, Chief Executive of Community Foundation Network, the national association representing community foundations, said:

"Previous experience of Community Foundations clearly demonstrates the huge potential of the Grassroots endowments challenge. If we can repeat the success of previous pilots, then this £50million fund could help Community Foundations generate £1.5billion for grassroots organisations within 20 years."


Notes to editors:

1. Any public enquiries about the Grassroots Grants programme, please go to the website of our national delivery partner the Community Development Foundation and identify the number for your local funder:

2. For more information about the programme, including a full list of contacts for local funders and the areas they will cover, please go to:

3. As part of the Cabinet Office, the Office of the Third Sector leads work across government to support the environment for a thriving third sector (voluntary and community groups, social enterprises, charities, cooperatives and mutuals), enabling the sector to campaign for change, deliver public services, promote social enterprise and strengthen communities. For more information please go to:

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