New fund launched to empower local communities

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COMMUNITY and voluntary groups across Norfolk are being given a chance to bid for a share of £449,000 as a new fund is launched to strengthen the county’s communities.

The Norfolk County Strategic Partnership has created the new Norfolk Community Fund to help charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to support their local communities.

One-off grants of £500 to £5,000 will be available to support and create projects that strengthen local communities or stimulate new, sustainable local services. The aim is to provide practical support so that grassroots organisations can help build resilience in their communities. The funding can support projects for a range of groups including older people, those with disabilities, young people, church groups, extra-curricular school activities and parish and town councils.

The grants will be administered quarterly by Norfolk Community Foundation.

Derrick Murphy, Leader of Norfolk County Council and Chairman of the Norfolk County Strategic Partnership and the Right Reverend Graham James, Bishop of Norwich, will launch the new fund at the Bishop’s House at 9am on Friday 21 October.

Cllr Derrick Murphy, Chairman of the Norfolk County Strategic Partnership, added: “We already have a very strong voluntary and community sector in Norfolk and we value their work tremendously. However we want to empower communities to be in a stronger position to support local people.

“This fund is about supporting community activity and vibrancy with small sums that could make a genuine big difference. We want to see established groups develop new projects. This is an opportunity to strengthen local communities and the fund will also be used to ensure there is practical support available to groups that could benefit from extra advice. The fund also comes as the national Grassroots Grants Programme comes to an end and this may be a timely alternative.”

The Bishop of Norwich, The Rt Rev James said: “I’m delighted that the Norfolk County Strategic Partnership has chosen to use Norfolk Community Foundation to channel such a significant charitable fund to our local communities. It’s an imaginative way of making the best possible use of these monies for the benefit of the county we love. It’s also a vote of confidence in the way Norfolk Community Foundation has done its work since its inception just six years ago.”

Groups needing further information can contact Norfolk Community Foundation on 01603 623958 or email grants@norfolkfoundation.com. The closing date for the first round of applications is Friday 25 November.

Graham Tuttle, Director of Norfolk Community Foundation, said: “Following the conclusion of the Government’s Grassroots Grants Programme back in March this year the creation of this Community Fund by Norfolk County Strategic Partnership is extremely important to the sector as many groups look for new funding opportunities to continue their valuable community work.”