£2.7 million funding boost for 50 community bidders to improve people's lives

Tower Hamlets skyline

Tower Hamlets skyline

  • Applications worth £10 million received for a £2.7m funding pot.
  • Over 50 local community groups take a share of the Tower Hamlets Local Community Fund.
  • Council commits to dedicated community funding, which many others have ended.
  • Recognition of the dedication and commitment of local organisations to serve the community.
  • Scheme will start to deliver from later in the year.

Tower Hamlets Council approved the recommendations to allocate £2.7 million annually for three and half years to over 50 community groups as part of its Local Community Fund (LCF) at a meeting of the Cabinet 31 July.

As many councils across the country have ended dedicated financial support for community groups, Tower Hamlets continues its commitment to this vital community fund. The LCF gives a major boost to the thriving local voluntary and community sector (VCS) and will make local residents safer, healthier and improve their access to new technology, skills and jobs.

Subject to the decision not being ‘called-in’ for further scrutiny, the confirmation of the bids will become active at the end of next week.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets said: “We are lucky to have such an amazing hardworking voluntary sector in Tower Hamlets and I’m grateful to every group that submitted an application. Congratulations to each of the successful organisations who will now play an important role in improving the lives and life chances of our residents in the years to come.

“We would have loved to support every strong bid we received and recognise the dedication and commitment of local organisations to serve the community and the excellence of that work. We can still be proud that we provide direct funding for the community sector as the number of local authorities that offer this is declining. We will continue, through other means including council contract opportunities and other funding schemes, to support our crucial community groups.”

The council has committed to help organisations that made high quality bids, but were unsuccessful, find alternative sources of funding. This includes setting up a ‘funders forum’ where community groups and potential funders can network and share ideas.

It has also committed to an additional annual £180,000 funding pot for the next two years and has agreed to look at what additional support can be given to our Somalian communities, as well as local groups that provide play, sports and recreational activities for older people.

Local community organisations were invited to submit their funding bids to lead on delivering a range of projects in specific areas:

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

As part of the council’s commitment to greater involvement of local people in shaping new services, the new programme has been developed jointly with voluntary sector organisations over the past 18 months, including with Tower Hamlets Council for Voluntary Service (THCVS). Alongside THCVS, the council has provided extra support, including 18 workshops and face to face support for those wishing to bid.

The independent assessment and scoring process was carried out for the council by a team of expert assessors. Following an equalities assessment and other checks by the council, the final set of recommended bids was put forward for agreement by the mayor in Cabinet.

The first of the successful community schemes are expected to be delivered from October 2019. 

Councillor Candida Ronald, Cabinet Member for Resources (including the voluntary sector) said: “It’s important that we continue to do all we can to maintain a healthy and vibrant voluntary and community sector, despite government cuts of £148 million, a 64 per cent reduction since 2010. I’m delighted that we received so many outstanding bids and I look forward to seeing the great work delivered through the LCF in the months and years ahead.”

The full list of recommended projects is available on the council’s website.

Posted on Friday 2nd August 2019