Windfall for Walsall community groups
Walsall has been allocated almost £800,000 to bolster grass roots community projects with help from leading landlord whg.
whg, working in partnership with Walsall Council, will administer the borough’s share of the national Community First fund. The fund was launched in September to support the country’s most disadvantaged wards including 10 in Walsall.
The funding, which runs until April 2015, is being administered nationally by the Community Development Foundation, a charity and social enterprise. Locally, the funding will be approved through Community First panels supported by a ‘panel partner’.
whg - a driving force in the sustainable regeneration of Walsall - is the official panel partner for Walsall, which involves setting up a Community First panel in each of the 10 wards. Panel members, including whg, will support applications for grants of between £250 and £2,500. Community groups are being actively encouraged to submit their applications now.
The funds can be used to support existing community groups or set up new ones, from Neighbourhood Watch to a coffee morning, parent and toddler group or pensioners’ day-trip. The activity can be educational or social, have a sporting element or be designed to improve an area’s appearance. The key aim of the programme is to improve the quality of life for residents and increase involvement locally.
Jo Baker, whg Community Grants Officer, has been busy recruiting members for each of the panels, which include residents, community leaders, councillors and local business owners.
She said: “It’s very exciting for whg to take a lead on this project locally as there is huge potential for improving communities at a very grass roots level. The ethos of the fund fits perfectly with our work to create great neighbourhoods and strengthen Walsall’s communities by working in partnership with local people.”
Grant applications are invited from any not-for-profit, third sector voluntary or community group based in the following wards:
• Bentley and Darlaston North
• Birchills Leamore
• Bloxwich East
• Bloxwich West
• Darlaston South
• St Matthews
• Willenhall South
Caption: Jo Baker, Community Grants Officer.