Voluntary groups involved in helping young people and rough sleepers across Westminster are set to get a £200,000 boost as the new community contribution fund opens its doors to applications for support.
A total of £130,000 has been earmarked for youth projects with £70,000 for rough sleeping. Voluntary organisations can bid for up to £30,000 per project*.
The announcement of today’s funding has been made possible due to the success of Westminster City Council’s voluntary community contribution scheme. Launched last year, it has so far raised more than £600,000 due to the generosity of the City’s top-rated Band H council tax payers.
The money raised has already been used to hire former rough sleepers to work with those living on Westminster’s streets. **
The City of Westminster Charitable Trust, which manages the Fund, has set a deadline of May 24 for applications. ***
Chair of City of Westminster Charitable Trust and Lord Mayor of Westminster, Cllr Lindsey Hall, said: “The priorities for helping rough sleepers and the young, together with tackling loneliness, are at the heart of the community contribution initiative.
“Today’s invitation to local groups to bid for funds is a significant milestone. The Trust looks forward to receiving a wide range of imaginative and bold bids that will really make a difference to our communities. “
Cllr Nickie Aiken, leader of Westminster City Council, said: “I am delighted the Trust is supporting these grants.
“Those people who have supported the council’s community contribution scheme are now going to see their money hard at work –serving the priorities they told us that matter to them.
“Anyone who reads the news knows we need to do all we can to get rough sleepers off the streets and give our young people positive career horizons. The City Council already runs a number of initiatives to tackle gangs and knife culture, and I want to see organisations that complement this work putting their applications in.”
The priorities of youth work, rough sleeping and loneliness were selected by Band H council tax payers when they were originally asked whether they would support an additional community contribution alongside the regular council tax bill.
A fresh wave of grants to tackle loneliness among the young and elderly will be launched later this year.
Notes to editors:
* The maximum amount per individual grant for rough sleeping is £10,000 and the maximum for youth support is £30,000. Funding is for defined projects which need to be completed within 15 months.
** The Westminster Buddies scheme involves training former rough sleepers to go back on the streets to help those living rough. Set up five years ago, the initiative has proven successful in getting people who may be reluctant to engage with authority to accept help from those who 'speak their language'. A grant of £60,000 has been allocated to the Riverside Care & Support charity, the charity that runs the scheme, to pay for two “Buddies” for 15 months.
*** to register to bid for a grant, go to https://www.westminster.gov.uk/westminster-trust-apply-for-funding