Additional funds for community groups responding to Covid-19 pressures in Hertfordshire

An extra £390,000 is being made available to community groups across Hertfordshire this year, amid the county’s ongoing response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Monday, 11th May 2020, 3:46 pm
Updated Monday, 11th May 2020, 3:48 pm

The funding recognises the role that’s being played by community and voluntary groups across the county.

And it was highlighted at a meeting of the county council’s special cabinet panel, on Wednesday (May 6).

The funds are being added to the council’s ‘locality budget scheme’, which are designed to allow councillor’s to allocate funds to local projects that promote the social, economic or environmental well-being of their local area.

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And that means that instead of the usual £10,000, this year each councillor will have up to £15,000 – provided that at least £5000 is used for Covid-19 related schemes.

At the meeting Cllr Ralph Sangster, executive member for resources ad performance, said it would be a useful way of councillors supporting local charities and groups in the current situation.

And it was reported to members of the panel that 250 grants – totalling more than £175,000 – had already been made to voluntary and community groups.

Following the meeting Cllr Terry Douris, executive member for education, libraries and localism said that since the report had been compiled for the panel the number of grants had already increased to 312 – totalling £211,000.

And he welcomed the additional allocation of funds through the county’s locality budget scheme..

“In these unprecedented circumstances it is right that we should provide this extra facility,” he said.

“This is really positive news across the whole of Hertfordshire, with a further £390,000 now being spent on support for local communities – a 50 per cent increase on the existing locality budgets scheme.

“We’ve also agreed to ring fence a significant proportion of the new total locality budgets to Covid-19 related activities to ensure that the right level of support is given to the current crisis.”

Among the projects to have received grants so far are those protecting the isolated or the vulnerable, domestic violences services and support for parents with autism.

Another project involves dedicated TV programmes to children with learning disabilities.

To apply for a grant local groups must be a limited company, a registered charity, an organisation with a recognised legal status or an unincorporated association with its own bank account.

Those organisations that are awarded a grant will be asked to keep receipts and invoices and to supply a brief evaluation of their project.

In the first instance any group wishing to apply for funding should contact their local county councillor.

During the special cabinet panel meeting Cllr Sangster also referenced the increase in government funding for the county councils response to Covid-19, which has increased from £26m to £47m.

He said the council was not yet sure whether this would cover all of the council’s costs – but that if it didn’t further lobbying of the government would take place.

“The government has indicated they would be responsive to that,” he said.