Funding goes to the grassroots

More than £100,000 of grassroots funding is being awarded across Somerset for community projects that improve lives thanks to a new County Council scheme.

The Improving Lives Grants Scheme was created to kick-start and support voluntary and grass-roots initiatives that bring people together and help communities stay connected and thrive.

Each of Somerset’s 55 County Councillors were able to tap into the fund and award up to four grants – a maximum of £2,000 each.

The investment is 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.

The money will benefit a wide range of initiatives across Somerset including:

  • Support for youth groups, scouts, baby and toddler group activities and equipment
  • Enhancing and updating children’s playground equipment and outdoor spaces, including sensory gardens and community woodland
  • Men’s sheds
  • Community transport and holiday hunger initiatives
  • Projects to help bring communities together and address loneliness and isolation – for example older people’s groups including support for dementia and carers groups, as well as choirs and regular coffee mornings / talking cafes

Councillor David Fothergill, Leader of Somerset County Council, said: “The response to the fund has been superb. As a result, we are able to help support locally led projects built around bringing people together.

“Our Councillors really understand their communities and these grants will give them some financial muscle to make a real impact.”

There are plans to relaunch the scheme later this year so community groups interested in tapping into the Improving Lives Fund should contact their local County Councillor to discuss ideas. Initiatives that benefited this year will not be eligible.

To find out who the elected Somerset County Councillor is for a particular area, visit http://democracy.somerset.gov.uk/mgMemberIndex.aspx