People across Wales will have the chance to become owners of at-risk local pubs, theatres, post offices, sports grounds and corner shops with the launch of the UK Government’s Community Ownership Fund, which will see more than £7m set aside for projects in Wales.
The £150m fund is part of the UK Government’s plan to build back better from the pandemic by giving communities the power to save local institutions when they are under threat.
Details have been published today (Thursday 15 July) of how voluntary and community organisations across Wales and the rest of the UK will be able to bid for up to £250,000 matched funding to buy or take over local assets and run them.
In exceptional cases, up to £1 million will be available to establish sports clubs or help to buy sports grounds at risk of being lost without intervention – meaning a group of supporters could become the Chairman and board at their local team.
A total of £7.1 million has been set aside for community projects in Wales, whether they be sporting and leisure facilities, cinemas and theatres, music venues, museums, galleries, parks, pubs, post office buildings and shops.
The Prime Minister unveiled more detail as part of a major speech today (Thursday) in which he set out how the UK Government will continue to level up all regions of the country, by empowering towns, villages and high streets as we bounce back from the pandemic.
Welsh Secretary Simon Hart said:
Alongside the Levelling Up Fund, Community Renewal Fund and UK Shared Prosperity Fund, the Community Ownership Fund is part of a crucial package of UK Government funding designed to support communities and to make sure that nowhere is left behind.
The funds will play an important role in levelling up and strengthening our Union as we build back better from the pandemic. I encourage people and communities across Wales to take advantage of the opportunities the Community Ownership Fund provides in their local areas.
Today’s announcement follows major investment and action from the UK Government to level up opportunity and prosperity across all areas of the UK, including through the £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund and the £220 million Community Renewal Fund.
The UK Government will undertake a series of information events with communities, the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) and local authorities in all parts of the UK. The fund will run over four years (until 2024/2025). There will be multiple bidding rounds. The first opens on 15 July and closes on 13 August.