Funding is available to voluntary, community and charitable organisations in the UK to support them in taking ownership of local assets such as sporting and cultural venues, meeting spaces, community centres, pubs and shops. The £150 million Community Ownership Fund aims to support charities and community groups across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to take ownership of assets which are at risk of being lost to the community. The fund forms part of a package of UK wide levelling-up interventions, helping to support recovery, build opportunity and empower communities to improve their local places.
Ahead of the opening of the third round of applications, the Fund has published an updated prospectus to support potential applicants in making a submission.
To be eligible, the applicant must be an incorporated organisation which is set up to deliver charitable purpose, social purpose or public benefit.
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.
The Fund is designed to contribute up to 80% of the total capital required for a project. Applicants can apply for a blend of capital and revenue 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 all eligible asset types. Exceptionally bidders will be able to make the case for up to £1 million match-funding.
- Revenue funding to support the running costs of the project, ie for legal fees, general costs including utilities, staffing costs, or costs associated with professional services or other specialist support. This does not need to be matched.
- Revenue funding request cannot be more than 20% of the capital funding request or £50,000, whichever is smaller. This is also applied to all assets applying for up to £1 million capital funding.
Organisations can make an Expression of Interest at any time. If they are successful, they will be invited to submit a full application, which they do not have to do immediately; however, they must submit their EOI at least three weeks before the closure of the bidding window in which they want to apply to allow time to receive feedback and then to submit their application.
Round 3 Window 1 of applications will open on 31 May 2023 and close at 11.59am on 12 July 2023.