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£1.2m up for grabs, as new Community Investment Fund grants set to support projects that help local people

Published: Monday, 18th October 2021

Communities across Stoke-on-Trent are being given the chance to apply for a share of £1.2m in the latest wave of a hugely successful Community Investment Fund.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council is making grants of up to £50,000 available to help groups with on-going projects, help to get new activities off the ground or help communities to become more resilient against the risks of the coronavirus.

Applications open today and run until Friday, 7 January 2022, and priority will be given to projects that:

  • Transform outcomes for children and young people in the city
  • Improve education and skill levels for residents of all ages
  • Protect and improve mental and physical health and wellbeing
  • Work with residents and partners to make our communities safer, cleaner and heathier
  • Celebrate and promote Stoke-on-Trent as a destination for business, heritage and culture.

Councillor Lorraine Beardmore, cabinet member for culture, leisure and public health, said: “We’re thrilled to announce the latest wave of the Community Investment Fund. This fund has a proven track record of making a big difference to communities across the city and the people at the heart of them.

“Since 2017, we have provided £3.2m to support 142 projects, and this next round of funding will further that contribution. Grass roots organisations carry out incredible work, and the pandemic has further highlighted the importance of the work they do in our communities. The Community Investment fund is here to enable to enable them to enhance the work they do in bringing positive changes to the lives of residents here in Stoke-on-Trent.”

Community group Middleport Matters received £5,500 from the last wave of the initiative in March and used the money to buy laptops, smartphones and tablets to help local people improve their digital skills. The group had earlier received £9,500 from the fund in May 2019 to furnish the IT hub with tables, photocopiers and heaters.

The centre’s operations manager Vicki Gwynne said: “The funding has gone a long way and been really positive. The IT facilities are being used by people from across the Middleport, Longport and Burslem area. It is helping older residents access emails, use social media to send photos and speak to their families, and is helping them in reporting issues such as fly-tipping or applying for a bus pass. It is every day things that a lot of people take for granted, and we are able to sit down in a friendly setting in small groups and help local people to do the things they need to do to get on with their lives.”

Community groups can find out more about the initiative, the criteria for funding and how to apply by visiting: www.stoke.gov.uk/cif or by contacting communities@stoke.gov.uk.

Council leader Abi Brown said: “I’ve visited many projects that have benefited from Community Investment Fund grants, from a wonderful initiative that uses horses and farm animals for therapy sessions, to community hubs that have purchased new kitchen equipment, from groups that have purchased sports equipment to provide activities in their community, to groups that have transformed their community halls.

“The community and voluntary sector is the thriving in our city with groups and activities that benefit so many people. The latest wave of funding is the opportunity to support even more groups and we encourage anybody who has an idea or project to get in touch with us to hear more about the fund.”