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Parish and town councils barred from applying for Newark and Sherwood District Council community grant scheme after cabinet approve changes

A community grant scheme has been revised by a council in order to make it more transparent.

Judgment and eligibility criteria for Newark and Sherwood District Council’s community grant scheme has been altered after majority approval from cabinet members.

The meeting was told in a report that the changes allow for “greater targeting of funds in line with Community Plan priorities”.

Castle House, headquarters of Newark and Sherwood District Council.
Castle House, headquarters of Newark and Sherwood District Council.

Paul Taylor added: “I’m really pleased to be proposing this paper and the recommendations.

“It makes the scheme more transparent.”

The changes mean parish and town councils are no longer eligible to apply for funding, but they may assist their residents in applying.

Additionally, community groups will now be able to apply for up to £20,000 from the £124,100 budget (including underspend from the previous year) to allow for larger, transformational projects — with greater weighting for those which can demonstrate match funding. The previous limit was £5,000.

Additional weighting will also be given to projects that; contribute to overcoming the cost-of-living crisis, contribute to public protection by reducing crime or anti-social behaviour, improve bio-diversity, or contribute to reducing climate change.

Applications will be assessed by a cross-party panel of three members from the largest three political groups before it is referred to cabinet for approval or referred to the relevant portfolio holder for delegated decision if necessary.

The support and endorsement of the district ward councillor is no longer required as part of the application process, but councillors will be made aware of all applications.

Roger Jackson addressed the cabinet, and said: “I’m sorry that councillor Taylor thinks we haven’t been transparent in the past. I do take offense to that.”

He also criticised the removal of small councils from the elegibility criteria, saying many do not get other funding provided, and raised concerns that awarding 5% of the budget on one grant would mean the funds weren’t distributed across the district.

“I think the high level is not right,” he said.

“They were really set up to help small groups with small projects.”

Rhona Holloway echoed the sentiment, and added: “I was also going to make a comment about it not being transparent.

“I found it insulting.”

She also explained that officers were involved in the decision making.

Paul Peacock explained that previously failed applicants were not made public to the council, which he “didn’t think that was transparent.”

Rhona Holloway abstained from the vote, and the changes were approved.

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