Big Society Fund announced
Published: 25 January 2011
A new grant fund for community projects will be available to local people as part of the Wandsworth Challenge initiative, the council has announced.
The Big Society Fund is aimed at projects that help communities help themselves, but that need additional funding to make them happen.
It will be up to residents themselves to come up with ideas, but examples could include community shredding and composting schemes, volunteering projects in libraries and parks and schemes that help older people or prevent anti-social behaviour.
Details of how the Big Society Fund will be allocated are still being finalised, but groups of local people and small voluntary organisations will be able to apply for a share of £169,000, preferably, although not exclusively, on a match-funding basis.
The money is available after London borough leaders decided that much of the cash they currently hand over to the London Borough Grants Scheme (LBGS), which helps a range of voluntary groups across the capital, could be better spent locally.
Some of the money the council has clawed back will be spent funding groups previously supported by the LBGS that directly help Wandsworth people. The rest will be used for the new grant scheme
Wandsworth Challenge sets out ambitious plans to change the way the council provides public services and works with residents and community groups. Officers will be expected to find new and efficient ways of delivering services while at the same time empowering local people to help themselves.
The whole community will be encouraged to work with the council to draw up priorities for action over the next four years and think of creative new approaches to local issues. New ways of working are expected in areas including schools, families, environment, health, social care, community safety, partnerships, voluntary sector and employment.
Council leader Edward Lister said the Big Society Fund will help get the best ideas off the ground.
"Wandsworth Challenge is about big changes in the way the council works, such as personal choice in social care, free schools and taking over responsibility for public health.
"But it's also about the smaller things that, added together, will make a big difference to people's quality of life. We want local people to think about projects, however modest in scale, that will tackle a local problem or make life better for the people in their community.
"The Big Society Fund will help with funding, but it will be the people themselves that make it happen."
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