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1 May 2012
Communities have been given an enormous boost by the efforts of the Community Foundation Network (CFN) who announce today that they have successfully raised £8.7m which is to be matched by government funds bringing the total to £17m for community projects. The money which will go into an endowment will generate income for communities for years to come.
These figures give the clearest indication yet that despite the economic climate there is still a positive culture of community support and philanthropy in this country. Community First is an £80 million government funded programme being delivered by the Community Development Foundation (CDF) that helps communities come together through new and existing community groups, to identify their strengths and local priorities, plan for their future and become more resilient. It includes a £30m small grants programme for some of the most deprived areas in the country and a national £50m endowment match challenge.
Community First runs until April 2015, and during 2012/13 a further £15m of matched funding is available offering those who want to establish Community First endowed funds a bonus of £1 for every £2 donated. The programme is mobilising both national and local giving and philanthropy and will raise £100m to be matched with £50m of government investment. This money will continue to grow over the life of the programme ensuring a sustainable source of funding for communities in years to come.
Stephen Hammersley, CFN's chief executive, comments: “This is a fantastic achievement. The aim of the Community First programme is to help neighbourhoods become more self-reliant and grow their capacity to make the changes they want to see in their area, and this first £17 million of endowed funding is a great start.”
Alison Seabrooke, Community Development Foundation's chief executive said: “Our work leading this programme has demonstrated that communities are resilient but they deserve our support. We are working with communities who tell us what a difference small amounts of money makes. The Endowment Match Challenge will make sure that communities are supported for years to come.”
Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd, said: “As part of a wider drive to revive social action and build a bigger, stronger society, we're giving power back to people and supporting them to make their communities better places to live. We set up Community First so that local people have access to funding on the ground, to enable them to work together, take control of their lives and create the change they want to see in their local area.
I am pleased by the success of the first year of the Endowment Match Challenge, with over £17 million of endowment funding raised so far – through generous donations by individuals and businesses matched by the government – creating a lasting legacy of support for communities across the UK.”
Alistair Lang, chief executive officer, Birketts LLP said: “Birketts LLP is delighted to be able to support the Community First match funding initiative. As a regional law firm, we work closely with the community foundations of Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Essex so this represents a very special opportunity to boost our local giving by 50% and make an even greater impact in the counties in which many of our staff and clients work and live.”
Find out more about Community First here:
Find out more about Community First Funds here: http://www.communityfoundations.org.uk/working_in_partnership/community_first/