Published: 03:08 PM, 01 November 2023
Tower Hamlets (London), 1 November: Eighty-six voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations will receive a £11.96m council funding boost to deliver 110 new community projects across the borough, through the Mayor’s Community Grants Programme (MCGP).
The new grant funding programme was created by the council following engagement with VCS groups and residents, which led to organisations applying to deliver projects based on key council priorities.
Following a comprehensive and independently verified assessment process, the council’s Chief Executive, Steve Halsey approved the recommended list of successful applications.
The council is working with successful applicants to create formal funding agreements setting out the outcomes that the projects are expected to achieve, with the projects running from November 2023 to March 2027.
Feedback and a range of support will be available for unsuccessful bidders which could include the chance to bid for future council funding opportunities such as the £800,000 per year Small Grants Programme due to launch in the new year.
Lutfur Rahman, Executive Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “Congratulations to all the successful organisations and I look forward to seeing the positive impact these projects will have on our residents and communities.
“Unlike many local authorities, we are proud to not only continue with, but actually increase the level of funding for our voluntary and community sector partners, in recognition of the crucial role that they play across our borough.
“I am committed to ensuring the voluntary and community sector flourishes in Tower Hamlets over the coming years. The cost-of-living crisis has hit our residents hard, and often it is the third sector that acts as the frontline in services.”
Cllr Saied Ahmed, Cabinet Member for Resources and the Cost of Living, said: “The new grant funding package is great news for our local voluntary and community groups. It will support the excellent work that they do across our borough to create positive opportunities, and to improve the lives of our residents.
“I’m pleased that we are able to support twice as many organisations as the previous scheme, which means that many more Tower Hamlets residents will benefit in the years ahead.”
The MCGP funding relates to the council’s strategic plan which sets out its priorities and outcomes until 2026 including a commitment for long-term VCS funding, and the allocation process has focussed on projects related to five key themes:
A key principle of the new scheme has been to support a wide range of organisations of all sizes, across all parts of the borough, and to ensure that all sections of the community can benefit.
The grant scheme will support twice as many organisations as the previous scheme, and a larger proportion of small and medium sized organisations.
The annual levels of funding for each project range in size from the Advice Tower Hamlets project consortium of 14 providers at £720,000, to the £5,156 recommended for the St Margaret’s House - The Children’s Making Tree Project.
The Advice Tower Hamlets project will support thousands of Tower Hamlets residents with cost of living and other personal issues including employment, welfare benefits, housing, money and debt management, consumer advice, education and community care.
Young and Talented is a small organisation which is recommended to benefit from £25,000 a year for their Triple Talent Enrichment programme. The project will offer performing-arts training for children which supports good mental health, personal and practical skills, and enriches their learning to provide access into arts and culture-related education and employment opportunities.
The council received bids for more than three times the available grant amounts, despite the fact that the new grants programme has increased funding by £900,000 per year on the previous scheme.
That does mean that the council has not been able to approve as many bids as it would have liked to, but it remains committed to ongoing support for the borough’s voluntary and community groups.
You can read the full report with additional information about the MCGP, further background information on the bidding and decision-making process at www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/MCGP