Voluntary and community groups in Stoke-on-Trent are being given the chance to apply for a further £50,000 in funding to help them continue to deliver services through the coronavirus.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council launched a new grant fund and groups can apply online via www.stoke.gov.uk/voluntaryfund. The initiative follows a successful grant scheme during the first lockdown which saw 65 voluntary and community groups receive a total of £93,886, with a further £15,985 in match funding given by the Community Foundation for Staffordshire.
Under the new scheme, there is no maximum limit on grant applications, but bids for more than £2,500 will require further evidence and will be subject to additional scrutiny and ongoing monitoring. Priority will be given to charities or community groups based in the city delivering services to Stoke-on-Trent residents which address one or more of the following areas: Mental health support, particularly services which focus on reducing health inequalities involving harder-to-reach groups and communities, Tackling loneliness and isolation, Preventing domestic violence and abuse or supporting victims.
Council leader Abi Brown said: “We have fantastic voluntary and community groups in the city who work so hard to support local people at this most trying of times. The grants are another boost to help these important groups and I am really pleased that we have been able to make this further funding available. Grants under the first allocation of funding went to support a wide range of groups such as those that help to relieve poverty, provide help to the blind, work with children with special needs, and support people with dementia and disabilities. This money will again help local organisations and we’d encourage groups to visit our website and apply.”
The deadline for applications is 2pm on Friday, 4 December. Groups are advised that the application process has a 10-minute timeout, and are encouraged to prepare responses in advance of applying on required information about why they require the funding, details of any existing funding they are in receipt of, what work they are doing in response to the coronavirus and their current financial position.
There are 371 registered charities and an estimated 3,000 organisations that are not registered in Stoke-on-Trent. These charities employ staff and provide volunteering opportunities, as well as contributing to the local economy. A total of 33 per cent of registered charities in Stoke-on-Trent have a turnover of less than £10,000 a year.
Councillor Brown added: “We know that the current crisis has impacted on voluntary groups in a number of ways. This includes a loss of income and reduced ability to fundraise, increased overheads with the need to rapidly move to remote working and online services, and increased demand for support services. My message for groups that are struggling at this time is that we are here to support you. We will make a decision on successful applications as soon as possible after the deadline so that we can get the grants out to groups quickly.”
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