Bolton Council has agreed funding of over £150,000 to an initial five projects as part of its Community Empowerment Fund.
The £500,000 Community Empowerment Fund was launched in November 2014, to reduce demand on council services and to enable local volunteers, community groups and businesses to become more involved in improving their local area.
Groups and organisations were invited to bid for a share of the fund and could benefit from either a one-off investment of up to £2,000 to try out an idea, or a larger investment of up to £50,000 over two years in order to develop an innovative scheme further. Projects which applied for the funding had to demonstrate how they will reduce demand for council services and either make improvements to the environment or meet the needs of young people.
Five projects have received approval for funding, but others are expected to be approved in the coming months.
Three schemes which have received approval for funding of £50,000 are Moss Bank Community Sports Club, Bolton Lads and Girls Club and Friends of Haslam Park.
Moss Bank Community Sports Club will receive £50,000 to set up a new community sports venture including the existing football, cricket and rounders activities, to plan for other sports, and to secure new partnerships including schools and universities. The investment will be used to increase young people’s participation in these sports through use of junior clubs and through a new summer football scheme. The investment will also be used by the club to take on the management of Moss Bank playing fields on Church Road and Captains Clough, allowing them to apply for additional streams of funding to improve the maintenance of the pitches and to carry out further development works.
This initiative will fill a gap for community sports provision in the area, and reduce demand on the council’s maintenance of sporting facilities and playing fields.
Bolton Lads and Girls Club will receive £50,000 from the council to develop a range of both targeted and universal youth services in Westhoughton, involving collaboration between local residents, community groups and the private sector. This will reduce demand on the youth services being provided by the council in this area.
The Friends of Haslam Park will also receive £50,000 for an initiative to make Rumworth cleaner, greener and safer. This will include the recruitment of a volunteer co-ordinator to organise and participate in litter-picking, door-knocking and recycling education, as well as the creation of a team of ambassadors to educate local residents and keep the area clean. Again, this will reduce demand on council street cleansing teams in the area.
Finally, two local voluntary groups have been provided with smaller grants of up to £2,000. High Street and Peabody Street Residents Association will receive £1,500 to run an after school club and weekend activities for young people in Great Lever, as well as organizing litter picks in the area. LIFT People will also receive £2,000 to provide a range of activities for young people in Breightmet, including day trips, mentoring sessions and developing the skills of young people and volunteers through new resources and equipment.
Councillor Cliff Morris, Leader of Bolton Council said: “We are really pleased to announce this funding for the first five sets of projects across the borough. All of these groups have come up with ideas that will reduce demand on council services, but also will address existing and emerging issues across the borough, by providing new services for young people or making improvements to the environment.
However, we would love to award more funding, especially to small voluntary and community groups to improve their area. We’d love to hear from any groups who have ideas which reduce demand for our services and will make a real difference to local communities in Bolton now and in the long-term.”
Gary Russell, Chair of Moss Bank Community Sports Club said: “We are really excited to be awarded this funding for £50,000. It will allow us to really develop and increase young people’s participation in sport in the local area, as well as deliver a new summer football scheme with Bolton and Bury Junior Football League. We will also be in a stronger position to be able to apply for additional funding streams to carry out further development works and to improve the maintenance of the pitches.
We thank the Council for their support and look forward to a close working relationship as we embark on this exciting venture."
For further information on how to apply please visit www.bolton.gov.uk/cef