Local MP to hold ‘funding day’ to help groups secure grants

LOCAL MP, Steve Barclay is to hold a ‘funding day’ to help arts and sports groups across North East Cambridgeshire to secure grants from bodies such as the Arts Council, Sport England and the Big Lottery Fund.

Mr Barclay has identified a number of areas where North East Cambridgeshire does not receive grants for community activity, particularly when compared with other parts of the country. He said he is determined to change this and has arranged a funding day to raise awareness within the local area of the grants available and the criteria for success, so that the Fens receive a fairer share of funding in the future.

Shortly after being elected Mr Barclay asked a number of detailed Parliamentary Questions to reveal comparative data on grant funding between North East Cambridgeshire and other parts of the country. Amongst the stark findings it revealed that the constituency had not received a single ‘grant for the arts’ from the Arts Council in the last three years. The extent of the funding gap between North East Cambridgeshire and other constituencies up and down the country is highlighted by the funding, in just one year, of the Labour constituency of Newcastle upon Tyne Central which received almost £3 million in grants for the arts alone.

Research undertaken by Mr Barclay also revealed that sports groups had missed out on significant funding, particularly where grants were targeted at specific categories such as disabled sport or women’s sport.

Mr Barclay said: “It is time our cultural heritage and sporting bodies in the Fens was better recognized by national and regional bodies. There is also a responsibility on us as a community to be better at identifying potential cases for funding and constructing a case that meets the criteria of these funding bodies. He added: “The lack of funding is not just limited to the arts, as I have found this is part of a wider pattern where sports and community groups also receive well below the national average.”

Therefore, as well as lobbying the funders to look to North East Cambridgeshire more readily, Mr Barclay is offering support to any group in the area who wants help in securing grant funding.

The first step to this is the funding day Mr Barclay is hosting. This will bring together arts, sports and community groups in the constituency to offer a forum for their questions to be answered. It is to be held on Friday September 29 at his constituency office in the South Fens Business Park, Chatteris.

Any arts, sports or community group in the constituency who wish to attend are asked in the first instance to contact his Senior Parliamentary Assistant, Alan Brace on 01354-697808 or e-mail alan.brace@parliament.uk as registration is required for attendance.