Community buildings funding round-up - June 2019


Grant funding through the Public Works Loan Board

Local councils can borrow money at a low interest rate from central government through the Public Works Loan Board. They can then use this money to support community groups and activities, such as improvements to the village hall or community centre. The council pays back the loan (usually through the council tax precept) so from your perspective it is a grant.

To explore the idea, talk with the lowest level of council in your area – for most of Hampshire this will be your parish / town council. When you’re suggesting the idea to them, keep these two points in mind:

  • The council can draw down the money well after approval has been given. This means the PWLB funds can be used as match funding for grant applications; you’ll be able to say that a considerable amount of your funding target has already been confirmed.
  • Using the PWLB to part-fund your project can be seen as fairer than the whole burden falling on the current trustees and residents. The council will probably repay the loan by raising the parish precept, meaning future residents (who will, after all, benefit from the project) will contribute to the costs.

Legacies – inviting people to remember your organisation in their will

This is an area that community buildings have not explored very much, at least in our experience. However, why shouldn’t local people wish to include a gift to your organisation in their will?

If you have looked at this, please do share your experiences with us – call Kevin Sawers on 01962 857358 or email him. And if you’d like to explore legacy giving, take a look at these online guides:

NCVO Know-How guide

Institute of Fundraising guide

Age UK’s resources

Village Hall Improvement Grant Fund

We’ve already mentioned this new grant scheme for community building improvement works in rural areas – see the news item here. But we’d also like to thank all of you who lobbied your MP about the need for such a scheme to help with the VAT burden facing charitable halls. If you did contact your MP, please thank them for considering your request.

The longer-term picture: This scheme is running on a pilot basis for now, but if it goes well then the Government might extend the funding. And looking further ahead, we might get the VAT level reduced or even removed completely on improvement works to charitably run community buildings.

Meeting the scheme’s outcomes: The grant scheme is intended to achieve three main things – improving people’s well-being and sense of community, improving the environment, and supporting the rural economy (more info here). The first two outcomes are pretty straightforward but the third one might leave you scratching your head. Here are some ideas:

  • Use local builders and contractors
  • Provide space and facilities for business activities like away days and client meetings
  • Run projects to improve people’s employability (or provide space for such activities)