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Grants and other support for the Voluntary and Community Sector

We have long had a tradition of supporting communities and the local voluntary and community sector.

The principal way that we provide this support is through funding third party voluntary sector support services, and through our own community grants programme.

  1. Voluntary and Community Sector Support Services

    We provide financial support to SPARK, South Somerset’s voluntary sector support service.

    SPARK provide a wide range of services including:

    • funding advice
    • help in setting up or developing a group/organisation
    • recruiting and supporting volunteers
    • Training
    • Regular information and funding bulletins
    • Opportunities to network through Forums
    • Community Accountancy service
    • DBS checking
    • Downloadable online resources (model constitutions, policies etc.)

    There are a number of other support services available either national or Somerset specific, for example:

  2. Community Grants

    Who do we fund?

    • Community, voluntary and charitable organisations
    • Not-for-profit groups with a signed set of group rules
    • Parish or Town Councils
    • Other organisations e.g. churches and schools (including Academies) provided wider community benefits can be shown

    What do we fund?

    • Up to 50% of the application costs
    • Requests between £101 and £12,500 can be considered

    Even a few hundred pounds for your community can make a difference such as:

    • Covering the cost of hiring a room/pitch or equipment to help start new activities
    • Booking a coach or activity leader to help increase use of local facilities
    • Helping to subsidise the cost of transport to get your idea moving
    • Training for volunteers to make a difference in your community
    • Getting some expert help for designs or other advice and guidance

    Larger projects supported by our community grants have included:

    • Setting up local services like a social enterprise to operate a shop, pub or cafe
    • Refurbishing or expanding local community halls and meeting places
    • Community transport - enabling a new community transport service to start up
    • Creating or improving local recreation facilities for all ages (see also help for play and youth groups)
    • Starting or developing arts, conservation, education and environment projects (see also help for arts organisations)

    We also aim to fund projects which target particular groups within our community:

    • people at risk of, or suffering from, poor health
    • people with mental health problems
    • children and young people up to age 18
    • older people
    • people on low incomes
    • people facing exclusion in urban and rural areas
    • people seeking to improve and develop work or educational skills

    Other things to consider

    • We hope that you have the support of your parish council - which may include a financial contribution, and we expect other sources of funding to be considered, which ensures that every £1 we provide for community grants goes as far as possible.
    • Your project will need to be well-planned and managed by your group - our grants are only offered after a careful assessment
    • Applications for more than £1,000 are decided by your SSDC Area Committee.

    Please view our guidance document for further information.

    If you would like to speak to someone about our grants programme or obtain an application pack, email communities@southsomerset.gov.uk.

  3. Helpful guidance when planning your play area or youth facility

    This is general guidance on what you should consider whilst planning your play area or youth facility project for your community. This will help you install good quality equipment that will last and which you can easily maintain.

    • Installation of quality equipment: This needs to be to EN1176 Play Equipment and EN1177 Safety Surfacing regulation
    • A good design: Experience play companies can assist with this. You can also look at other parish play areas for completed recent projects and/or contact the Parish Clerk for good practice information. You should also consider landscaping environment, furniture, signage and accessibility of the area.
    • Support for your project: Have you consulted the Parish Council and residents to establish what equipment is required for the project? You should talk through your ideas with the Parish Council in the first instance.
    • Insurance implications: Check this with your insurance company.
    • Regular inspections: Industry standards strongly suggest the following:
      - Weekly Inspection – Routine
      - Quarterly Inspection – Operational
      - Annual Inspection – Annual

    Routine inspection is a visual inspection and can be carried out by any competent person, training is advised and is usually a one-day course. SSDC offer a service to carry out Weekly and Quarterly inspections. There are other companies that also provide this service.  Annual Inspections are carried out by qualified play inspectors.  Please email locality@southsomerset.gov.uk if you require further information on play inspections.

    • Maintenance costs: A sinking fund for ongoing maintenance is advisable. Equipment generally lasts for around 20 years before replacement is required. Parishes can precept for maintenance costs and funding can also be in the form of S106 commuted sums, if this has been requested from a recent planning development in your parish.
    • Repairs and maintenance: Issues will be picked up following inspections and will need to be actioned. Maintenance will also include regular cutting of grass, litter picking and emptying of bins.
    • Funding your project: Check to see if there is any S106 funding available. Further information on S106 can be found here. You may also be able to apply for grants please see here.

Thank you. You response is appreciated.

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