The next round of bidding for the government’s levelling up funding has opened this weekend, with communities able to bid for a share of the £150 million Community Ownership Fund.
This round of funding is focused on rescuing cultural buildings that are at risk of being forgotten about, whether they are historic buildings, sports facilities, pubs and music venues.
Neil O’Brien, Minister for Levelling Up, the Union and Constitution, said:
“We want to help communities across the UK save the pubs, sports clubs and historical buildings which matter most of them, and would otherwise be at risk of being lost future.
This is part of our plans to spread opportunity, boost local pride and level up every corner of the UK while growing the economy to address the cost of living.”
The first round of funding helped local people make their communities into places they can be prouder of, becoming more desirable places to live, work and visit, which is the whole point of levelling up. Making places more desirable will help to reduce the level of depravity in many places, whilst continuing to improve more prosperous places.
Across the first round of funds, 39 projects were supported, including £550,000 being invested in a historic, Victorian building in Oldham to turn it into a gym, as well as £1 million of funding to help football fans in Bury save their club’s Gigg Lane home.
One major development is that the eligibility criteria has been expanded so that more community groups can apply for funding that they need to support local economies and take back control of the cultural sites in their area. Previously there was a requirement that the assets had to have had a use within the last five years, which has now been removed as well as opening the door for applicants that have a 15-year lease on an asset. The criteria before was that leases were restricted to a minimum of 25 years.