Grassroots Grants brings over 2m to region

29 July 2011

COUNTY Durham Community Foundation is celebrating the distribution and leverage of £2,212,000 for both the short and long term benefit of community groups in the County thanks to the Government’s Grassroots Grants programme.

A three year Grassroots Grants programme ran between April 2008 and March 2011 during which time the Community Foundation received £881,703 to distribute as grants to community and voluntary groups across County Durham and Darlington.

A total of 287 groups received awards from the Grassroots Grants programme with approximately 211,000 people benefitting either directly or indirectly – around 35.4% of the population. Applications for Grassroots Grants were assessed by a committee chaired by Vice-Chairman & trustee of the Foundation, David Watson.

David said: “We are delighted at the success of the programme. The funding has made such a big difference to the lives of thousands of people across County Durham and Darlington.”

Another element of the programme was an Endowment Match Challenge. The government scheme ran latterly by the Office of Civil Society (OCS) offered donors a £ for £ match on any donations they made into a Grassroots Endowment Fund. During a time of recession, this incentive has managed to attract another 31 donors to set up lasting funds at the Community Foundation to benefit grassroots groups in the area. In total, these funds are now worth £1,330,298 with 50% of this money coming from the OCS match.

Christopher Lendrum set up the first Grassroots Endowment Fund, the Lendrum Family Fund, to support groups providing opportunities for young people. The first group to benefit from this funding was the Barnard Castle Young Farmers. Christopher said:

"In today's world, young people need all the help that they can get, and it gives me much pleasure to offer a helping hand to the Young Farmers of Barnard Castle in developing their skills and experience."

Although Grassroots Grants has finished, the Community Foundation has over 140 other funds still open for grant making. Any groups wishing to apply for a grant should visit for more information.