Agenda item


            (Ms. M. Higgins, Lead Officer Community Provision, attended in connection with this item.)


            The Committee was reminded that the Department for Communities (DfC) provided an annual grant to the Council to help deliver the Council’s Community Support Programme (CSP).


            At its meeting in April, the Committee was advised that on 27th March 2023 the Chief Executive had received correspondence from the Permanent Secretary, DfC, relating to the CSP which stated that the Department could only provide support to cover the three-month period up to 30th June 2023 with the allocations based on the 2022/23 budget settlement. The correspondence added; “I hope you will understand why this allocation cannot be interpreted as an assurance as to the level of funding available for the remainder of 2023/24, given the absence of clarity on the overall budget settlement for the Department.”


            The Neighbourhood Services Manager reported that on 7th June 2023 the Council had received further correspondence advising that the department had decided to extend the interim funding arrangements, based on the 2022/23 opening budget allocations, and that these would run from 1st July to 30th September 2023.


            Following further budgetary consideration by DfC, the Council received the Letter of Offer for 2023/24 on 7th July 2023. The funding allocation was based on the 2022/23 figures which combined nine separate elements, as follows:


Community Support General



Advice Grant



Welfare Reform Mitigations Extension Tribunal Representation - Appeals



Consolidated Uplift for CS General, Advice and Appeals (21/22 – carried forward)



Consolidated Uplift for CSP General, Advice & Appeals (22/23 - also carried forward)


Consolidated Uplift for CSP General, Advice & Appeals (23/24)


Welfare Reform Mitigations Extension Face to Face Advice (including uplift)




Social Supermarket Funding




CSP Grand Total






            The Members were reminded that at previous meetings they had considered proposals to provide funding via the CSP to organisations based on the DfC budget limitations at the time and to mitigate the impact of those decisions on the community groups funded by the Council.


            The Neighbourhood Services Manager explained that this Letter of Offer provided the full match funding to deliver on all the CSP funding allocation and, if they were content, officers would administer funding agreements and payments for 2023/24 in line with normal arrangements, where Letters of Offer/Funding Agreements would be issued based on the total allocations/awards outlined in Appendix 1 attached to the report, which listed the full amount that funded organisations would receive in 2023/24, of which part of this allocation was from the CSP. Following receipt of signed Letters of Offer/Funding agreements, payments would be issued on a 50/50 basis.


·        Small Grant Programme 2024/25


            The Members were reminded of a previous decision to operate a revised project/activity grant approach during 2020/21 and 2021/22 as a result of the COVID-19 operating environment. In 2022/23 the Council had reverted to its historic programme of small grants provision.


The Members were asked to note that community provision small grants were administered through the Central Grants Unit and applications for projects to be delivered in 2024/25 would open in Autumn 2023, with the following grants open for applications:


v  Good Relations

v  Summer Scheme

v  Parks Events

v  Support for Sport Large Development Grant

v  Support for Sport Small Development Grant

v  Support for Sport Hospitality Grant

v  Support for Sport Sporting Individual Grant


            The Committee was advised that information about these funding opportunities would be circulated widely and staff would be available to support applicants, further details of contacts and guidance would be published at to support the open call.


·        Micro/Medium Grants 2024/25


            The officer reminded the Members that this had previously been considered at the June meeting of Committee where it had been advised that, ‘it is unlikely we will be able to invite calls for a Micro/Medium Grants scheme in 2024/25 given the current budget pressures and return to normal levels of activity within the other regular grant scheme approaches’.


            The officer advised that approval was therefore being sought that micro/medium grant programmes would not operate in 2024/25 and would not be advertised, with any available budget being redirected to support other relevant activities.


            Following consideration of the funding allocation of £2,231,055.70 for the 2023/24 financial year, the Committee:


·        granted approval for the Chief Executive to accept the offer on behalf of Council and for him to also accept any additional in-year allocations from the DfC relating to the Community Support Programme;


·        granted approval for officers to progress funding payments where appropriate following completion of due diligence requirements;


·        agreed that the micro/medium grant programmes would not be advertised in October 2023 for 2024/25 activity; and


·        noted the arrangements for the Community Provision small grant programme for 2024/25.


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