What is the Community Challenge Fund about?
The Council has agreed to work with Community Councils and other community organisations to encourage community empowerment, by introducing a community challenge fund of £1m of recurring expenditure to support community projects which explore new ways of delivering services at a local level.
The Council’s network of Ward Managers will be the first point of contact to groups considering bidding into the fund to promote a local project.
The prime objective of the fund is to help deliver the Council’s Programme (pdf).
Who can apply?
To see if you can apply for funding or access other assistance, groups are being asked to express their interest on a one-page form. You can
If you would like help to complete the expression of interst you can contact the Highland Third Sector Partnership at: email@example.com
Once your form is received by the Council, we will acknowledge it within 5 working days and provide you with a named contact to keep in touch with. Interest is welcome from all community groups such as:
- Community Councils
- New community groups, or groups coming together for the first time because of the Fund
- Established community groups (your group does not need to be registered as a charity)
- Established social enterprises
What kind of community projects is the Fund for?
The Council is open to ideas on how your group could:
- Deliver the same level of Council service at a lower cost and be sustainable going forward,
- Provide a higher level of Council service for the same cost and be sustainable going forward,
- Help to reduce the Council’s costs for maintaining premises, by taking on the maintenance and running costs going forward with a one-off fund contribution.
Groups will need to show:
- how the community would benefit,
- that there is support for the project in the community and
- that the project would not be achievable without a one-off contribution.
Any area of Council business will be considered.
How much is available?
No limits on the amount available for each project from the £1m are set at this stage. Attracting funding from other sources could support your idea better but it is not a requirement at this stage. £1m is available each year.
Are there set dates for expressing our interest?
Yes. The next deadlines to submit your expression of interest form are: 1st May and 1st September. Six groups have been invited to progress bids following the first deadline on 1 Feb 2013
What happens after my group submits its expression of interest?
Once your form is received we will acknowledge it by e-mail or letter within 5 working days. At this time we will tell you who is dealing with your form and you can stay in touch with them. The person dealing with your form will depend on the service you are interested in providing.
The Council has a Panel of elected members that will consider all expressions of interest.
Some ideas may be ready early on to go to the next stage and these groups could make an Application for grant funding (236kb doc) or submit a Business plan (78kb doc). Your group will be advised which of these is required along with the right guidance. In 2013 these would need to be received by 1 April, 1 August or 1 November. The Panel will consider these as well. Some ideas may need to be considered by other elected members at a committee or Council meeting. These are likely to be those seeking one-off funding of over £10,000 or for larger scale operations.
Other ideas may need further development or support and groups in this position will be contacted as to how to go about that.
At the end of 2013 the Council will review this guidance so that the Community Challenge Fund encourages new ideas, makes community services more efficient and in tune with what communities want.