Guidance delay snags distribution of Community Chest money to local groups

The administering of Community Chest money to community groups
will be hindered by the six-month delay in introducing guidance on
how to access the £50m fund, the National Council for
Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has claimed.

The Community Chest, launched last week, is intended for
community groups in the 88 most deprived areas identified in the
government’s neighbourhood renewal strategy.

Grants of around £50,000 will be given to selected
voluntary organisations in each of the areas for distribution.
Community groups can then bid for between £50 and £5,000
for individual projects from these “funded organisations”.

The government hopes that the small groups will encourage a
bottom-up approach to regeneration.

But although the voluntary groups have welcomed a funding system
that channels money to the sector directly, concerns have been
raised about the time the funded organisations have been given to
set up administering processes.

NCVO policy officer Sally Cooke said: “Organisations only have
five months to get themselves together. It’s a lot to ask and they
will be under a great deal of pressure.”

Under the guidance, 5 per cent of the grant can be used to
promote awareness of the fund among groups that have traditionally
had problems gaining access to resources.

However, this could change subject to the outcome of the Home
Office-based active community unit’s current consultation on
outreach and development support for small grants programmes.

“The government still hasn’t resolved if there is going to be
centrally funded outreach and development work,” Cooke said.

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