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Community Ownership Fund opens for bids

By David Porter

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People are being given the chance to become owners of at-risk local pubs, theatres, post offices, sports grounds and corner shops thanks to the UK Government’s new Community Ownership Fund.

The move is part of the UK Government’s strategy to build back better from the pandemic by giving communities the power to save the local institutions that bring us together and foster a sense of community.

Details have been published of how voluntary and community organisations across Scotland and the rest of the UK will be able to bid for up to £250,000 matched funding to buy or take over local assets and run them.

Up to £1 million will be available to establish sports clubs or help to buy sports grounds at risk without intervention - meaning a group of loyal supporters could become the chairman and board at their beloved local team.

A total of £12.3 million has been set aside for community projects in Scotland, whether they be sporting and leisure facilities, cinemas and theatres, music venues, museums, galleries, parks, pubs, post office buildings and shops.

Alister Jack has announced the opening of the Community Ownership Fund
Alister Jack has announced the opening of the Community Ownership Fund

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: "Alongside the Levelling Up, Community Renewal and UK Shared Prosperity Funds, the Community Ownership Fund is part of a crucial package of UK Government investment to support communities.

"The funds will play an important role as we build back better from the pandemic. I encourage communities across Scotland to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities the Community Ownership Fund provides.

"The announcement follows major investment and action from the UK Government to level up opportunity and prosperity across all areas of the country, including through the £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund and the £220 million Community Renewal Fund.

"The UK Government will undertake a series of information events with communities, the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) and local authorities in all parts of the UK.

"The first bidding round closes on August 13 with another seven bidding rounds expected to take place over the next four years.

Full details of the application process can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/new-levelling-up-and-community-investments#the-community-ownership-fund

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