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Rural Opportunities - June

June 2012
A monthly bulletin facilitated by your membership of the Rural Services Network highlighting a selection of current funding, consultation and other opportunities

Rural Community Broadband Fund
£20 million is available for communities in hard to reach areas to establish super fast broadband. Grants of up to 50% are available. The first round for Expressions of Interest closed on 31 January 2012. A second round opened on 10 May 2012 and is open to a variety of organisations acting on behalf of their local community including social enterprises, Community Interest Companies, community trusts, charities and private businesses (non-communications providers). Communities interested in applying are advised to work closely with their local authorities. Expressions of interest are required by 6 July 2012.

Air Quality Grant Programme
£2 million is available from Defra to support local authorities in tackling air pollution, in particular, reducing Nitrogen Dioxide emissions. Defra state that local action designed to tackle local problems, particularly in relation to traffic emissions, will be especially important. Eligibility is limited to English local authorities with one or more Air Quality Management Areas for NO2 or those authorities where the Government’s national air quality assessment in 2010 identified a high level of NO2 emissions in their area. The deadline for submission of grant applications is 22 June 2012.

Youth Contract
The Government has announced a £1billion Youth Contract to help young unemployed people get a job. The Youth Contract, which launched in April 2012, aims to provide nearly half-a-million new opportunities for 18-24 years olds, including apprenticeships and voluntary work experience placements.
Support will be provided to private and public sector employers to create new and sustainable jobs for young people. The Youth Contract is intended to mark a substantial increase in the support and help available to young people through the Work Programme, Jobcentre Plus and sector-based work academies.

Government response to the Portas Review
‘High Streets at the Heart of our Communities’ was published as the formal response to the Portas Review at the end of March 2012. As part of this response, the opportunity to become one of a further 12 Town Team pilots in England has been announced worth up to £100,000 each. Applications, including a supporting video, need to be submitted by 30 June 2012 and unsuccessful round 1 bids will automatically be considered. A £10 million ‘High Street Innovation fund’ has also been announced for 100 local authorities to help address the issues of riots and empty shops.

Regional Growth Fund
£1 billion is available across England through Round 3 of the Regional Growth Fund (RGF). This supports projects and programmes that lever private sector investment to create economic growth and sustainable employment. It aims particularly to help those areas and communities which were dependent on the public sector to make the transition to sustainable private sector-led growth and prosperity. Completed applications are required by 13 June 2012.

Traveller Pitch Funding
Traveller Pitch Funding of up to £60m is available as part of the Homes & Communities Agency’s Affordable Housing Programme to support local authorities, housing associations and other delivery partners to provide good quality public sites to help meet the need for accommodation for traveller communities. The HCA has confirmed allocations for £47m of this funding which will support 71 projects around the country, for the provision of new traveller sites and new pitches on existing sites, as well as the improvement of existing pitches.
Details of the bidding process for the remaining £13m Traveller Pitch Funding budget are due to be announced in May 2012.

Village SOS
Through this scheme the Big Lottery Fund wants to support inspiring business ideas that will bring communities together and support activities or enterprises that tackle the challenges they face. Grants of between £10,000 and £50,000 are available in communities with a population of 3000 or less. The fund cannot contribute towards projects that will cost more than £100,000. Applications must be received by 12 September 2012. Applications can be submitted at any time and, if unsuccessful, applicants can re-apply providing this is before the deadline.

Big Lottery Fund guidance for applicants
Big Lottery Fund is an outcomes funder and is driven by the difference its funding makes for individuals and communities. A ‘Getting Funding and Planning Successful Projects’ guide is available for organisations applying for a Big Lottery Fund grant. It is described as a simple step-by-step introduction to the fundamental concepts and principles required to apply for funding.

Heritage Grants
Heritage Grants is the main grants programme from the Heritage Lottery Fund offering grants of more than £100,000 for projects that relate to the national, regional or local heritage of the UK. To receive a grant a project must:
• help people to learn about their own and other people’s heritage.
The project must also do either or both of the following:
• conserve the UK’s diverse heritage for present and future generations to experience and enjoy;
• help more people, and a wider range of people, to take an active part in and make decisions about heritage.
There are no deadlines for grant applications between £100,000 and £2 million. The next deadline for applications of £2 million and under £5 million is 25 June 2012 with further deadlines later in the year.

All Our Stories
Voluntary and community organisations can apply for between £3000 and £10,000 from the ‘All Our Stories’ scheme. This is described as an opportunity for everyone to get involved in their heritage and has been developed by the Heritage Lottery Fund in support of the BBC’s The Great British Story – A People’s History. Funding requests can be made for a variety of activities to explore and learn about heritage including visits to historic buildings, landscapes and sites; using archive, museum and other collections; talking to people who know about heritage; and recording people’s memories or local wildlife; scanning old documents and surveying historic buildings. The deadline for applications is 31 July 2012.

Enhancing Communities Programme – SITA Trust
Enhancing Communities is the name of SITA Trust's funding programme for community improvement projects. Projects can be supported that make physical improvements to community leisure facilities and historic buildings / structures. Not-for-profit organisations including community groups, parish councils, local authorities and charities can apply for projects in any of 115 funding zones around qualifying waste processing sites owned by SITA UK. Grants of up to £60,000 are available through the ‘Core Fund’ and grants up to £20,000 through a ‘Fast Track Fund’. Deadlines for the next rounds are 25 July and 18 June 2012 respectively.

Inspired Facilities Fund
Through this fund, Sport England aims to provide capital grants to help refurbish or upgrade sports facilities, or convert an existing building into a venue suitable for sport and accessible to the whole community. To qualify for this competitive fund, applicants will need to:
• Show how the project will keep and, ideally, attract more people to sport
• Demonstrate that it is needed and wanted by the local community
• Explain how it will cover its running costs and remain open for sporting use for years to come
The next round closes on 17 September 2012.

Rural Growth Network Pilots
Defra has announced that 6 Rural Growth Networks will be established utilising a funding pot of £15 million. These Networks will:
• consist of small enterprise hubs on underused business parks or brownfield sites
• provide infrastructure, premises and a simplified planning regime
• offer enhanced networking within and between hubs
• provide targeted support to women-led enterprises
The approved networks are as follows: Cumbria, Devon & Somerset, Durham & Northumberland, Coventry & Warwickshire and Swindon & Wiltshire. Final details of the schemes to operate in each Network are currently being agreed.

Comic Relief
Comic Relief accept funding applications for up to £40,000 from the voluntary and community sector across the UK. The deadline for applications under the Sport for Change and Managing Money Better programmes (older people) is 8 June 2012 and for the following programmes is 29 June 2012: young people and mental health, sexually exploited and trafficked young people, domestic and sexual abuse, mental health, young people and alcohol, refugee and asylum-seeking women.

Improvements to the policy and legal framework for public rights of way – Consultation
Defra is seeking views on a proposed package of changes to the processes for recording, diverting and extinguishing public rights of way. Feedback will be used to inform Government decisions on whether and how to implement the various proposals for improvement. The consultation closes 6 August 2012.

Rail decentralisation: devolving decision-making on passenger rail services in England – Consultation
The Government is seeking to devolve, where appropriate, more accountability and decision-making related to local rail services to sub-national bodies, such as local authorities and PTEs. This consultation explores how this might be done in parts of England. The Government wishes to seek views on whether improved outcomes for transport users might be achieved in some cases if more decisions relating to local rail services were made closer to the communities they serve. The government is also inviting sub-national bodies – PTEs and local authorities – to indicate their interest and come forward with outline proposals for taking on decision–making responsibility for passenger rail services in their area. This consultation closes on 28 June 2012.

Planning Act 2008: Guidance on the pre-application process – Consultation
This consultation covers all the main processes required by an applicant prior to the submission of an application, including pre-application consultation, the environmental impact assessment and drafting a Development Consent Order. The guidance also gives more specific advice about consultation for offshore wind developments where there is no obvious local authority to consult. The consultation closes on 6 July 2012.

Planning Act 2008: Guidance related to procedures for the compulsory acquisition of land – Consultation
The guidance on the compulsory acquisition of land has been refreshed in line with the Localism Act 2011 and made more concise. Consultation on the guidance closes on 6 July 2012.

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programmes 2007/13 – Calls for proposals
A number of calls for proposals under ERDF programmes in different parts of the country can be active at any one time. For your area, check the website below.

Prepared by Andy Dean of ADPractitioners


The Rural Services Network is an organisation comprising over 100 local authorities and 120 other public service providers seeking to establish links across public service, identifying and broadcasting best practise, and making representations on rural service issues. For details please go to our website