The world of grant funding can be a mindboggling minefield. However, with so many potential benefits it should not be seen as a hurdle, but as an opportunity to grab some free cash to bring your project ideas to life and create a valuable asset for your community.
Not only is the money free, with nothing to pay back, it releases Councils’ reserves for use in other schemes improves your Councils’ transparency and integrity while developing positive relationships with grant funders who you may well apply to again. Once one grant has been received, it is easier to get another. A bonus is that most grant funders require engagement with the local community providing the Council with an opportunity to connect with its electorate.
Grants usually vary from as little as £300 up to £100k with some funders fulfilling 100% of the total project costs. Bear in mind that most grant providers will only fund capital costs and not revenue costs or preliminaries. Check before you apply what costs can be covered, you do not want to waste hours completing a grant application only to have it returned stating they cannot fund certain items. It is also worth noting that if your Council is eligible to reclaim VAT this may be classed as unsecured funding by the grant supplier.
A Town or Parish Council may apply for a grant for a variety of reasons such as:
- Play Area Equipment
- Village Hall
- Community Centre
- Sports Pavilion
- Skate Park
- Recreation Facilities
- Skate Parks
- Multi Use Games Areas (MUGA’s)
- BMX Pump Tracks
- Health and Wellbeing Support
Examples include a Council who applied to Sport England to install a BMX Pump Track in their recreation ground. The funding application was successful and a grant of £10,000 was awarded, the facility is now being enjoyed by bike, scooter and skateboard users attracting support from neighbouring parishes. Another case involves Viridor Credits granting £30,000 to install a new recreation ground circular track and patio outside the village hall.
It is paramount you give thought to procuring quotations from reputable contractors as grant funders will usually require that each quote be like for like in order for them to be fairly compared, especially if your preferred supplier does not provide the cheapest estimate. Grant funders will monitor the project from start to finish and the audit process can last a few years after project completion so it is important that everything is completed correctly and you uphold all of the grant conditions supplied with your contract.