Executive Member for Countryside and Rural Affairs, and Lead Member for the Town and Parish Council Partnership, Councillor Edward Heron, launched the fund with support from Hampshire’s Association of Local Councils (HALC) at their Annual General Meeting on Saturday 10 November. Both organisations are looking to use the fund to pilot new ways of working in support of local people and services.
Councillor Heron said: “Parish and Town Councils work closely with local people and have the local knowledge to understand what their neighbourhoods need. We’re keen to encourage innovation at this local level; and it was good to see, at the launch, that many councils are already actively discussing this opportunity, and getting ready to join in.
“The Town and Parish Council Fund will operate as an investment fund, and focus on areas of need and opportunity. It’s a way for us to empower local organisations to run well-targeted community projects themselves, by providing funding for specific schemes. It’s also a reflection of the invaluable role these local councils play, supporting the wellbeing of people and communities across our entire county.”
The Parish and Town Council Fund is being set up in partnership with HALC. The new fund was agreed by the Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Roy Perry, in September. As well as Town and Parish Councils, the fund will be available to support properly constituted community groups, particularly in areas with no parish or town council.
There will be three themes on which organisations can apply for funding, all of which look to support new, innovative and sustainable proposals:
- enhancing existing or providing new infrastructure which supports their communities, such as community centres
- new schemes or projects which allow communities to be more resilient, for example, tackling social isolation or in the management of their green open spaces
- funding training to support local community members to deliver services in the area, such as maintaining rights of way
Further information is available at Hampshire County Council Grants and Funds.