Norfolk groups urged to stake claim for £3.5m building grants
Norfolk County Council
Community groups were today urged to stake their claim for a share of a £3.5m pot of cash available to build new village halls, sports facilities and play areas.
Applications opened this week for Norfolk County Council’s Community Construction Fund, which council bosses see as a shot in the arm for the construction industry.
The fund has been created from an underspend in the County Hall budget, to get a wide range of schemes off the ground and stimulate the local economy.
Grants from £100 to £100,000 are available, which must be spent within a year of the grant being made, with the first ones due before Christmas.
Ian Mackie, deputy leader of Norfolk County Council and cabinet member for finance and performance, said: “We want to work with communities to build a better Norfolk.
“We are now accepting applications, which means we will have approved the first round of funding decisions before Christmas.
“Construction traditionally requires higher levels of employment and for every pound spent a further two pounds is generated from economic activity in the supply chain, often by small and medium sized businesses.
“This fund is a part of a sustained and determined attempt by the county council to enable communities to help themselves practically and therefore support both short and medium term economic growth in Norfolk.”
The one-off grants for new construction projects in Norfolk will be available to a wide range of community led organisations.
Those eligible to apply for a share of the fund will need to be formally constituted bodies such as parish, town and district councils, charities, sports clubs, neighbourhood boards and churches.
Applicants must be able to demonstrate that projects are construction or building-related; will benefit the local community; have all of the necessary planning permission; have estimated costs with quotes from contractors; can be taken forward in a timely way with no delays; have support after consultation with the local community; have county councillor support and have plans in place for long term maintenance, insurance and sustainability.
The council says particular consideration will be given to projects that will help the local economy by employing small business in Norfolk and local workers or contractors and might generate more cash from other sources such as lottery or match funding.
Applications submitted by Norfolk organisations will be co-ordinated by the Norfolk Community Foundation and a shortlist will be considered by a cross-party panel of county councillors - Derrick Murphy, Shelagh Gurney, Ian Mackie, Cliff Jordan, Ann Steward, Colleen Walker, Richard Bearman and Graham Jones.
Applications can be made via www.norfolk.gov.uk/communityconstructionfund