The Government's groundbreaking Grassroots Grants scheme declared itself open for business yesterday....
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£13million Grassroots Grants scheme for small voluntary and community groups

Posted on September 5, 2008

This article was published in September 2008. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Government Office for the East of EnglandThe Government's groundbreaking Grassroots Grants scheme declared itself open for business yesterday (4 September 2008) and called on small local voluntary and community groups across the East of England to come forward and get their hands on £13,574,255 of 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 the East of England's small and local community groups.

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

Funded by the Office of The Third Sector in the Cabinet Office and run by the Community Development Foundation, the programme is offering a total of £13,574,255 to local funders in the East of England to start making grants of between £250 and £5,000 to voluntary and community groups with annual incomes below £20,000.

Businesses across the East of England 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 £130million national programme, the Government has set aside a £50million pot from which it will match endowment investments from local businesses - offering them the chance to contribute directly to supporting and sustaining the communities in which they operate.

Each local funder has a match fund target that it must reach in order to release an endowment allocation from the Government.

The endowment element - which is also open to individual investors - aims to ensure that Grassroots Grants remain available for many years to come. It is estimated that with match funding and sound investment this £50million will be worth £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.

Phil Hope, Minister for the Third Sector, said:

"The East of England is full 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.

"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 is exciting as it provides funding for community groups now and into the future. Grassroots Grants reach out to grassroots groups that 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."

There are 66 local funders who are ready and able to start taking donations and distributing grants directly in local areas across England over the upcoming years.

Source: Government Office for the East of England

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