Funding for Community Projects 2020- 2021
10 June 2020
£97,081 Funding Confirmed for New Community Projects in KDBH
There's More Time to Bid This Year + We're Here to Help!
You may recall that one of the benefits of Knowle, Dorridge and Bentley Heath (KDBH) having an adopted Neighbourhood Plan (NP) is that we get a larger share of the money that developers pay to the Council for some new builds in our Area. The Council must make these funds (called NCIL) available to the community, who then get to say how they would like to spend it within a certain set of nationally defined criteria. Last year two community projects were successful in their bid for funding:
Dorridge Village Hall: Extension - £20,000 Knowle Village Hall: Emergency Exits - £8,200
In addition, by working in liaison with the Council, the £4,000 bid from Pennys Youth Café in Knowle to refurbish the café and purchase IT equipment was successfully sourced from an alternative fund.
A big 'shout out' to Ellie from the Council for her positive and proactive approach working closely with us to improve the process for KDBH - Solihull's only Neighbourhood Forum with an adopted Neighbourhood Plan.
the total amount now confirmed as available in KDBH for 2020/21
This total is currently split into two pots:
Dorridge and Bentley Heath: £41,960
Although Covid-19 related delays to construction have reduced the total originally anticipated, the figure is still double last year's funding. :)
As you might expect, there is a formal application process and defined criteria that the Council uses for assessing the relative merits of different bids (typically there won't be enough money to do everything). For example, more points are awarded if a proposal can demonstrate how it links into the objectives and/or policies set out (and voted on by residents) in the KDBH Neighbourhood Plan (NP). To help with this, and provide a 'big picture' view locally of the bids coming through, the Council will refer all funding applications to the Forum.
We are very happy to support any community group or organisation who may be thinking about bidding and would like some advice or guidance to understand: what type of bid will qualify; what is required; and how to go about preparing a bid application.
This is a really important strand of Forum activity, with the aim to help realise the full potential of the scheme to benefit our community.
Roger Cook, our Deputy Chair, has therefore taken up the mantle to lead all funding related activities on behalf of the Forum team. Even if a bid doesn't qualify under this particular scheme, Roger is also working with the Council to identify potential alternative sources of funding or assistance that may apply.
So, if you've got an idea that you want to sound out, please do get in contact with Roger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As an aid to getting your thinking flowing:
you can read details of last year's submissions Here
or perhaps Covid-19 has triggered some thoughts on aspects of life in our community that could benefit from some investment?
Appendix 4 of our Neighbourhood Plan describes a number of 'Community Actions' that residents have flagged for future action. Click Here to view this document
More details on how the Council operates the scheme and how to apply via the button below.
Applications can be submitted any time from now until the closing date on 1st September
Funding for Community Projects in 2020/21 - £150,000 + available
We'll know exactly the funds available in financial year 2020/21 in early April. However, the pot already stands at over £150,000 - a big step up on the £37,800 in 2019/20. Bidding opens in April 2020, probably through to the end of August. So interested groups can get their thinking caps on straight away!
If you are a KDBH community group or organisation and want some guidance or support in preparing a bid, please contact Roger Cook, who is leading work on this on behalf of the Forum Team, via email to
The Council's funding request form, with supporting documents, are available Here
In January 2020, we met with the Council to discuss learnings from the scheme's first year of operation and what could be improved - particularly as we are unique in the Borough as having an active Neighbourhood Forum with an adopted Neighbourhood Plan. Other non-Parished areas are generally less aware of the funding available and therefore more reliant on funding decisions being made by the Council. Key points for improvement are:
The need to ensure greater awareness of the scheme across the KDBH community. This is our greatest concern, and one where we can really help. We've therefore committed to using the strong local networks created during Neighbourhood Plan development, as well as our website and Facebook page, to reach out across the community.
The need to improve the Council's documentation on the scheme, making it easier to understand and clearer on what does and doesn't count as a potential project. The Council agreed to look at this.
More help and guidance for potential bidders. The Council has agreed to refer bidders to a nominated Forum contact (see above) for initial guidance and support, eg. to help identify if/how a project fits with the Neighbourhood Plan; where there may be cross-benefits where bids work together; or where other sources of funding may be more appropriate / available.
Improving assessment of bids. The Council would find it really helpful to have a clear framework of KDBH overall community needs and priorities which they can use to more easily and objectively assess bids. So we've committed to working with the community to try and develop this. Starting with the Community Actions already in the Neighbourhood Plan, we would look ultimately perhaps to creating a more 'strategic' rolling 3-year view.
We will keep you posted on developments via this page.....