Community groups have fund raising opportunities opened up
Community groups have welcomed a new way for them to attract funding for projects that will benefit local residents.
Groups and individuals with plans to get new projects off the ground often find it a struggle to attract funding.
As well as trying to raise money in their community – for equipment for a youth group or an older person’s day service for example - they might also apply for grants or funding from national pots, such as the National Lottery or larger charitable organisations, and bid for funds made available locally by local councils.
Councils in Devon and Devon and Cornwall Police have long-supported local projects via various funding pots. But now some authorities are piloting a new way to help give that support.
For the first time, Devon County Council, West Devon and Teignbridge District Councils, Exeter City Council and Devon and Cornwall Police are pooling their financial support to communities, in partnership with Crowdfunder.
They’ve launched Crowdfund Devon, a centralised online platform that enables community groups, start-up businesses, charities and individuals across the county to raise money to help get their project or venture off the ground.
Dawn Bebe, Director at Crowdfunder, said: “A good idea will remain just an idea until it’s got the financial support to turn it into reality. Traditionally funding can come from many places, but increasingly one of the key areas of funding a grass roots idea is via 'the crowd' - the local community, local Councils and other funders.
“Quite simply, Crowdfund Devon puts it all in the one place. It’s the place where local groups or individuals can promote their projects in order to attract funding from the crowd, by way of pledges in return for rewards. They can also attract a match pledge from one of the participating authorities' funds or even a national fund like M&S energyfund - which could double the money they raise. More than 320 projects in Devon have already raised £1.5 million on Crowdfunder so far, but with the ability now to attract additional pledges from partners in the county, we hope to turn even more great local projects' ideas into reality. And in time, we hope other Devon authorities that have funding available to support local projects and join the partnership.”
Partnership Superintended Jim Gale, said: "Devon and Cornwall Police are delighted to be the first police force in the Country to invest in the Crowdfund initiative. Supporting local people to help each other is at the heart of making communities safer, and this modern and accessible approach helps to reduce isolation and vulnerability by investing in areas which communities themselves identify as being the most important."
Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Communities, said: “We already do a lot to financially support local projects and local groups, to help pay for equipment, improvements, and to help get local projects off the ground. Those groups also usually need to raise finance from other sources to supporttheir ideas. By bringing these applications for funding into the one platform, Crowdfund Devon will be the place where projects can be brought to the public’s attention in order to attract donations, and the authorities with discretionary community budgets can also choose to support bids with match-funding.”