Council funding totalling around £2.5m a year will be available for bids from Croydon’s community and voluntary groups from next month after proposals were approved on Tuesday evening.

The council’s cabinet has now approved a new framework for funding bids covering 2020-2023 and totalling almost £7.8m divided equally over three years, and delivering on the council’s commitment to maintain funding for the sector.

The new bidding framework includes:

• A simpler application process for each size and type of funding bid
• Rolling the previously separate Community Fund and the Prevention Fund into one process
• Encouraging different groups to apply jointly to run a borough-wide service together
• Awarding funding in three annual payments instead of one lump sum

Groups can apply from June and receive support with their bid. The council is already holding a series of drop-in sessions where organisations can get advice on how the process works. After the deadline closes in October, successful bidders will be announced around Christmas before the three-year contracts begin from April 2020.

The proposals came after a council review into its commissioning process and following engagement with over 200 voluntary and community organisations. The result of this process was a new voluntary and community sector strategy, which was approved in March and sets out what the council wants to achieve through working in partnership with grassroots organisations. This includes people living longer, healthier and more independent lives, improving their career prospects, making them feel safer in their local area, and valuing the borough’s arts, sports and culture.

Croydon Council supports voluntary and community organisations across the borough with funding totalling around £4m a year, including the Community Fund and Prevention Fund plus subsidies and other benefits such as access to lower-cost office space and wider support and advice.

These groups are all not-for-profit organisations with a social conscience that work to improve their local communities through support, prevention and intervention, and include faith groups, co-operatives, registered charities, school groups and sports clubs.

“The Community Fund represents a significant amount of the council’s investment in our voluntary and community sector.  I’m pleased that we are continuing to deliver on our manifesto to invest in Croydon’s voluntary and community sector through the Community Fund in spite of financial pressures on the council.

“We have done a lot to improve the way local groups bid for council funding, and will make it easier to bid for a share of up to £7.8m over three years. I encourage organisations to come forward and submit their bids to the Community Fund to make sure this funding continues to make a real difference to local people’s lives.”

Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for safer Croydon and communities