Local communities and budding young athletes are set to benefit from fresh investment and support in Nottinghamshire.
At a recent Communities Committee meeting, Nottinghamshire county councillors gave the go ahead to the Local Communities Fund (LCF) – a new four-year county council scheme due to be launched later this autumn.
The LCF plans include more than doubling the current Talented Athletes funding pot to £50,000 to help support more up-and-coming athletes, particularly those with disabilities who may require expensive adapted equipment, clothing, or have higher transport costs.
Councillor John Cottee, Chairman of the Communities Committee, said: “With the current Local Improvement Scheme reaching its natural end, it was time to look again at how we allocate funding to local groups to encourage healthy and thriving communities, as well as making the current application process as fair and accessible as possible.
“We are so proud of the wonderful local groups and charities which were a lifeline to many people through the various lockdowns, so it is more vital than ever that we support these groups with some of their running costs as they continue their good work.
“This includes their work to improve access to new or existing services, such as sports and leisure, which then helps improve physical and mental health and reduce loneliness, particularly for more vulnerable residents who were the hardest hit by the pandemic.
“And on the back of such a fantastic Olympics and Paralympics for Team GB, we are keen to support a wider range of local athletes, so we have increased this part of the budget from £21,000 to £50,000.
“We want to see more Nottinghamshire-based athletes follow in the footsteps of inspirational sports stars such as Mansfield’s Charlotte Henshaw, the new paracanoe champion at the recent Tokyo games, who received support from our Talented Athletes fund on her journey to success.”
Local sports stars to have previously received this funding include gymnasts Sam Oldham, Becky Downie and Ellie Downie; swimmer Ollie Hynd; athlete Richard Whitehead and show jumper Sophie Wells.
Wider funding plans include having a rolling programme of support for revenue-based schemes to help grass-roots projects with their running costs, with larger grants available for those with good track records of delivering services.
There will also be an opportunity for local groups and charities to apply for capital grants of up to £20,000 which could be used to make improvements to facilities which support community access and improve health and wellbeing, such as:
- Improvements to sporting facilities which help to improve wellbeing and access for all;
- Play areas and/or equipment to provide exciting and safe opportunities for accessible outdoor activity and community interaction;
- Green/horticultural improvements to open spaces such as the development of an ‘all year round’ community garden for the benefit of all members of the community;
- Heritage improvements, signposts and information boards within a park that include points of interest to improve the visitor experience.
Cllr Cottee said: “Once again we want to invest in capital projects with full match-funding already in place, so they are ‘ready to go’ to make best use of these funds.
“The new Local Communities Fund is expected to be open for applications later this autumn, so more details are to come.
“Our plans will of course not affect any previous funding agreements made as part of the Local Improvement Scheme 2018-21.”