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45 Treasured Institutions Provided with £12.3m Levelling Up Boost

levelling up

The Government has announced that the futures of some cherished local sites such as pubs, museums and sports clubs have been secured with a £12.3m levelling up boost.

The Community Ownership Fund

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities unveiled plans for safeguarding ‘treasured’ institutions across the UK so that these sites can be “run by the community, for the community”.

The £12.3m funding boost derives from the Government’s Community Ownership Fund. This scheme provides £150 million over 4 years to support community groups in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to take ownership of assets and amenities at risk of being lost. Voluntary and community groups can bid for funding to acquire important assets and run them for the benefit of the local community.

The Community Ownership Fund has now given £49.3 million for 195 projects across the UK. This includes almost £8 million for thirty-three pubs so that local people can still go to their beloved local, and £14.6 million for sixty six community centres so they can continue to play an important role in people’s lives.

The latest round of allocations includes £770,057 for three projects in Wales, £992,825 for four projects in Scotland and more than £1m for four projects in Northern Ireland. Changes which came into effect for this round of bids also meant that all projects could bid for up to £1 million in funding, not just sports clubs, and the amount organisations needed to match fund decreased to only 20%, to allow more places to benefit. The Fund will run until March 2025.

Levelling up the UK

Treasured sites that will benefit from funding include:

  • Lordsfield Swimming Club in Hampshire, a volunteer-run facility which will be sustained for the future with an £835,400 grant so it can provide low-cost swimming to local schools and the wider community.
  • £1.2 million to secure the future of four pubs, including the Vale of Aeron, so they can continue to pull pints for locals.
  • Knutsford Market Hall in Cheshire received £560,000 to ensure it continues to host and support a number of small businesses.
  • Sterts Theatre in Cornwall will be restored with £300,000 so that it can resume its community and professional performances.
  • The Margate School in Kent will be able to undertake essential repairs with £400,000 that will secure a long-term future for the not-for-profit art school.
  • Dartford Gym and Youth Club will undergo essential refurbishment with £244,920 to restore it as a space for local schools, clubs and community organisations to engage in sport and social activities.

The funding will also protect a tourist rail line which is used by more than 250,000 passengers a year, and will improve transport infrastructure in the region so that the local economy can continue to thrive. The original bridge was built in 1867, and the railway line has featured in dozens of films and TV shows over the years including The Railway Children in 1970.

Responses

Jacob Young, Minister for Levelling Up, said “our priority is to support communities and deliver opportunities right across the country, which is why we’re investing £12.3m to secure the future of cherished community institutions. These places – from pubs to historic railway lines – are the golden thread which run through our social fabric, and keeping them going is vital for supporting communities”.

Curia’s Levelling Up Commission

The Levelling Up Commission intends to consider ways to implement the Government’s Levelling Up White Paper and subsequent Bill from the perspective of local and regional government. Too often the Levelling Up agenda is something being done ‘to and for’ local and regional government, the Commission intends to make sure it is done ‘with and by’ them.

Through roundtable meetings with MPs and senior leaders of local and regional government from across the UK, quantitative data analysis and regional sprints, the Commission intends to set out a series of recommendations to consider how regional inequalities can be reduced from the perspective of public services in four key areas:

Health and Social Care

Housing and Homelessness

Education, Skills and Training

Crime, Justice and Rehabilitation

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