Somerset’s County Councillors will have £2,000 each to fund community projects that improve lives under a new scheme launched in September.
The Improving Lives Grants Scheme has been created to kick-start and support voluntary and grass-roots initiatives that bring people together and help communities stay connected and thrive.
Whether it’s a project to reduce isolation, give parenting support, prevent falls or enhance emotional health and wellbeing – each of Somerset’s 55 county councillors can award up to four grants using their £2,000.
The £110,000 of investment is coming from the authority’s £1m Prevention Fund, set up to finance Council work and community projects that prevent issues, problems and needs developing or escalating. The aim is to improve lives while reducing future demand on the Council’s services – helping the authority remain sustainable in the long-term.
Applications can only be made by elected County Councillors and have to benefit their own division.
Grants can be used to ‘lever in’ funding from other sources but cannot be used to pay salaries. They can only be awarded to groups or organisations, not individuals. Any individual who has an idea for a potential project should contact their local County Councillor.
Councillor David Fothergill, Leader of Somerset County Council, said: “One of the most important things we can do to strengthen our communities is support locally-led projects built around bringing people together.
“Our elected members understand their communities and these grants will give them some financial muscle to make a real impact.
“We’re not being too prescriptive, but the initiatives put forward should be ones that engage their communities and improve people’s lives. Schemes that support vulnerable, less-advantaged or traditionally isolated groups will be especially welcome”.
Councillors can make applications to the Improving Lives Grants Scheme from 1 September up until 30 November. Applications will be assessed to ensure that they meet the criteria before funding is agreed.
Applications are encouraged from community groups promoting and providing opportunities for people to be socially connected, more physically active, eat well, enjoy the outdoors, be more independent and better informed about health and wellbeing.
It is expected that the majority of grants will go to Parish Councils and voluntary sector organisations; established bodies that can make a big impact at local-level.
To find out who the elected Somerset County Councillor is for a particular area, visit www.somerset.gov.uk/councillors-and-democracy/councillors/somerset-county-councillors/