Communty Development Foundation to deliver government's 80m Community First programme

23 June 2011

Community Development Foundation (CDF) will partner with a number of organisations including Charity Award-winning Community Foundation Network (CFN) to deliver the government’s £80m Community First programme, the Cabinet Office has announced.

CDF was awarded the contract following a competitive bidding process after successfully delivering the government’s four-year Grassroots Grants programme, which ended in March this year. The grantmaker will now deliver a £30m small grants programme and £50m endowment match fund to encourage communities to develop their strengths and funding potential to strengthen their resilience for the future.

A spokeswoman for CDF said that the programme differs from the Grassroots Grants programme as it works as to create “real aspiration for communities to get even more involved” because of the match-funding elements.

Some 800-1000 areas will benefit from the £30m small grants programme, where community groups will be able to apply for grants of up to £30,000, but will be encouraged to match the financial investment with in-kind investment, such as time dedicated to the cause or offering specific expertise.

CDF will work with CFN to raise an additional £100m in communities, which will be matched by the government’s £50m endowment. This will provide community groups with future revenue potential through the investment of these funds.

Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd said: “Community First has introduced a new approach by providing grants to neighbourhoods on a matched basis, primarily to encourage the giving of time. The programme offers support to communities to enable them to build more self-reliance and capability to make the changes they want to see in their area. We have committed to making £30m available to targeted neighbourhoods around England to provide financial support for community-led projects and a £50m endowment fund to create a sustainable source of grants for neighbourhood projects in the long term.”

New community groups

The Community First programme could encourage new community groups to form, advised the spokeswoman for CDF: “We know from previous experience in the Grassroots Grants programme that new groups do form. For instance 40 per cent of those applying for a Grassroots grant had never applied before,” she said.

CDF has gained corporate support from supermarket chain ASDA, which already partners with the Big Society Network on the Your Square Mile programme, to help raise funds in-store and identify local priorities.

CDF will also work closely with Locality to ensure the Community First programme complements the Community Organiser programme, which was set up to train a new generation of community organisers as part ot the Big Society manifesto.