Headlines: November 24th, 2005

Public sector organisations, as well as voluntary and private bodies, are being asked to help the Big Lottery Fund to channel more than two hundred million pounds to groups trying to improve their local environment. The money, from the Changing Spaces scheme, will be available next year.The chairman of the Big Lottery Fund, Sir Clive Booth, said it wanted organisations to help it engage with communities to deliver the 234 million pounds available throughout England. The money is earmarked to help local groups improve their local environment and to realise the potential of community spaces. The fund wants to ensure it identifies and supports the best projects by working with organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors.

Sir Clive said, “We want organisations with a real understanding of the environment to help us engage local communities and deliver our funding throughout England. This will mean our funding has the greatest impact, transforming the way communities think about and use the spaces around them.”

The Changing Spaces scheme will fund a range of activities such as supporting communities to grow their own food and set up local farmers’ markets and to finance the creation of attractive community spaces that can be easily reached. Priorities for funding will be community spaces, local community enterprise and access. Alongside Changing Spaces, the Big Lottery Fund will launch a 50 million pound programme to support the development and refurbishment of Community Buildings. Through its various programmes the Big Lottery Fund will distribute more than 2.6 billion pounds between now and April 2009.

Sir Clive said the Fund was aiming to work with organisations that would act as award partners to distribute funds on its behalf or which would put together portfolios of projects in the areas where they had expertise.