Friday, 7 October 2011

Big Society drive to boost local social action begins

This from the cabinet office

The £80 million Community First fund, which will provide small grants to community groups and local social action projects, was opened today by Nick Hurd Minister for Civil Society.

This comes in the same week that the first of 5,000 people to be trained as Community Organisers took up post. These are two flagship Big Society initiatives which together will encourage people to do more to help each other out and give them the tools they need to make a difference.

A Community First website has been opened today which invites people to sign their community up to receive support. Funding will be handed out by panels of local people so communities decide what’s important to them.

The fund is divided into two strands. £30 million will be used to provide small grants. The remaining £50 million will be used to match private donations invested in community endowment funds which will pay out money for small grants well into the future.

The first Community Organisers took up post this week. They have begun a twelve month training programme based in local community groups in eleven places in England supported byy Locality, the Government’s national partner.

They are learning the skills they need to identify local leaders and bring people together to act on what matters to them, including using new powers devolved from government to citizens. They will play an important role organising communities to take advantage of Community First funding. A total of 5,000 Community Organisers will be trained from now to 2015.

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