New approach to funding community projects in Tower Hamlets

THPS Mayor John Biggs

A new approach to funding community organisations and the voluntary sector in Tower Hamlets has been approved by the council’s cabinet.

The £2.6 million Local Community Fund will replace the existing mainstream grants programme, which is due to come to an end next year.

The fund has been developed together with the voluntary and community sector (VCS) after an extensive consultation. The sector will continue to play a key role in helping to shape delivery moving forward.

This approach ensures that the council makes best use of the sector’s valuable local knowledge and insight to build and deliver local activity that is right for communities.

Mayor John Biggs said: “Since 2008, funding for community and voluntary organisations across the country has fallen by 44 per cent. I’m proud that in Tower Hamlets, we have maintained the current funding for our thriving Voluntary and community sector to help it continue to grow. 

“In approving the new Local Community Fund, we are setting out our commitment to work closely with the sector to deliver the services residents need, while also ensuring transparency, sustainability and independence.”

The new approach will start by identifying the areas where there is a need for voluntary and community sector (VCS) support to help deliver borough priorities.

Organisations will then devise and propose specific targeted programmes to deliver results in those areas, with the council funding those selected as being best placed to deliver desired outcomes.

The council has been working in close consultation with VCS organisations to identify a number of specific outcomes that fit within the following areas. The amount of funding that will be directed to each area has also been decided.

  • Inclusion, health and wellbeing (£990,000)
  • Employment and skills (£435,000)
  • Community safety (£195,000)
  • Digital inclusion (£60,000)
  • Information and advice (£980,000).

The process of deciding which programmes are funded will also place a premium on local links, alongside other criteria such as best value.

The Local Community Fund will sit alongside a new small grants programme which will provide funding of up to £5,000 for small scale innovation, local community action, community cohesion, prevention and the development of local partnerships.

Cllr Candida Ronald, Cabinet Member for Resources and the Voluntary Sector, said: “We could not hope to provide all the vital services our residents need without the support of our VCS partners.

“We have not arrived at this new approach overnight and I would like to thank all those in the sector who have helped to co-produce the new programme."

Cllr Sabina Akhtar, Mayoral Advisor for Community & Voluntary Sector, said:  “The council is committed to continuing our close relationship with the VCS in the coming years, ensuring that our valued community partners continue to thrive."

Posted on Friday 16th November 2018