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News: What would your community do with £10,000?

Community groups across Britain are the backbone of village life and yet often struggle for cash to get a project going.

With the grant available from the Lottery’s Award for All scheme now having been increased to £10,000, these groups could get substantial funding - and within 8 weeks too. You don’t have to be a large group and you have to use the money within a year. You can apply if you are a not-for-profit group or you are a parish or town council, school or health body.

It’s not difficult to get a grant either - chiefly you must have propose and describe a project that will benefit your community.

You will have to show that you can perform the project if given the cash and you must have a bank account that requires at least two people to sign each cheque or withdrawal.

You don’t have to have a big project either: the new rules mean that as little as £300 can be awarded to help grass roots community groups and voluntary organisations.

What sort of projects could you get running? Here are some examples:

  • Introducing digital photography to your community.
  • A crèche facility for a rural community.
  • Publicity and promotion of a group that recycles computers for use by the community.
  • Equipment such as visual bingo machines, hearing loops which allow more people to take part in events.
  • Trying out a new way of recruiting volunteers.
  • An exhibition and trail walk featuring buildings of local historical interest.
  • Sharing the experiences of older people within the community with young people, explaining their history in the form of a book or mural.
  • Promoting healthy eating and more exercise.
  • Creating a community wildlife garden.
  • Introducing people to alternative cultures through participation in storytelling and drama.
  • Improving a village hall to provide better facilities for all members of the community.
  • A telephone helpline offering advice and support for people with cancer and their carers.
  • An historic event illustrating various periods of history and the rich cultural heritage of a community.
  • Involving more people in a community event.

The money can be spent on a range of things such as new equipment, publicity materials, venue hire, computers, research costs, volunteers' expenses, refurbishment etc.

Carefully targeted, relatively small amounts of money can make a real difference to local communities. Tessa Jowell, secretary of state for culture, media and sport said, "More than £287m has been given out since Awards for All began, and a further £60m will be available for projects next year. Be it a fresh lick of paint for the village hall or new instruments for the local brass band, this money has quietly and without fuss been making local communities across the country a better place to live."

For examples of funded work or to find out more about Awards for All grants, who is eligible to apply and how to submit your application, log onto www.awardsforall.org.uk or call 0845 600 2040.

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