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The £16.7m Hardship Fund opens to bring real help to communities

The £16.7m Hardship Fund opens to bring real help to communities

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 23 July 2009

The Hardship Fund is now open, Minister for the Third Sector Angela Smith announced today – just three months after the Fund was first announced by the Chancellor in his April 2009 Budget.

Building on the £42.5 million package of measures in the Government’s Real Help for Communities Action Plan, the Fund offers grants between £50,000 and £250,000. It will provide support to third sector organisations in England delivering front line services to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in society.

The Hardship Fund is available for third sector organisations that are suffering financial hardship that is impacting on their ability to deliver services in health and social care, housing support, education and training, and information, advice and guidance. To apply, organisations must have a turnover of £200,000 a year or more.

Angela Smith, Minister for the Third Sector, said:

“The £16.7 million Hardship Fund shows the Government’s commitment to providing real help now to communities and to the third sector. Delivered in just three months, this grant programme is responding quickly to the challenges faced by the third sector during these difficult times when demand for their services is increasing, but when their incomes may be falling. It will bring targeted help to both the third sector and to the vulnerable and disadvantaged people they support.

“I am delighted to open this grant programme to applications. It will provide significant support for the people who need it most.”

Stephen Timms, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said:

“We recognise the invaluable work of many third sector organisations in supporting people, particularly in these difficult times, and some of these organisations are struggling because of the global economic turbulence. The Hardship Fund will provide much-needed financial assistance to organisations that are delivering crucial front-line services.”

Grants will be assessed and allocated on the basis of need, based on immediate financial hardship and evidence of demand for services.

The Hardship Fund will be administered by the Community Development Foundation (CDF).

Alison Seabrooke, Community Development Foundation Chief Executive said:

“Many organisations are working with vulnerable people right now, offering services to support them through these difficult times. It’s vital that these organisations get the support they need to cope with this. The Community Development Foundation is delighted to be managing the Hardship Fund, which offers this support now, when communities most need it.”

Notes to editors

More information about how to apply can be found on the Community Development Foundation (CDF) website (www.cdf.org.uk).

CDF is the leading source of community development expertise and delivery. As a public body and a charity we bridge government, communities and the voluntary sector. We help local people lead.

Our aim is for an inclusive and just society.

Our mission is to lead community development analysis and strategy in order to empower people to influence decisions that affect their lives.

Our goal is to help create

* engaged communities - supporting involvement in local decision-making

* cohesive communities – helping people come together to manage diversity

* stronger communities – building community control and contribution

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Contacts:

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Rachel Shaw
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