We’re encouraging our borough’s community groups and voluntary organisations to ‘Think Big’ in 2021 and bid for funding for new exciting and ground-breaking projects from Surrey County Council’s ‘Your Fund’ scheme. 

Launched last November, the £100 million fund gives power and influence to local communities to bring to life projects which will enhance their area – from new sports and leisure facilities to a community centre, allotments or business premises. Connecting communities and using local knowledge to make a positive difference is particularly important as they recover from the impact of COVID-19 over the coming years. 

The minimum bid for each project is £10,000. There is no upper limit but this fund is for capital funding only. Capital funding is money to purchase or improve a building, equipment, infrastructure or software. You’ll need to think about how ongoing costs will be covered and if you will need to introduce something that will generate revenue, such as a café. If it’s part of an existing organisation or building, such as a school or charity, could any additional running costs be met through existing budgets? However, other funds are available that could help with running costs. 

You will need to make sure that your project fits with the aims of Surrey’s Community Vision, where everyone has a great start to life, people live healthy and fulfilling lives, are enabled to achieve their full potential and contribute to their community, and no one is left behind.

You will also need to show that the project has the support of your community and highlight any backing received from your local councillor. 

Lead Councillor for Community, Cllr Julia McShane says:

“Empowering residents to initiate fantastic projects to benefit their communities is wonderful news and this fund has the potential to really help communities.

“I encourage everyone to get involved and share their ideas and aspirations and the bigger the idea the better! Speak to your neighbours, community groups and councillors about how you can create place-changing projects together then submit your bid.” 

She adds; ‘We also offer community grants (though applications are now closed for this year) see here for details https://www.guildford.gov.uk/grants. Our Community Lottery is also another way to raise funds for your community projects and groups, its free to join, includes marketing support and 50p of each £1 ticket sold goes directly to you.’

Full details, plus an interactive map on which ideas can be plotted, can be found at www.surreycc.gov.uk/yourfund.  Local residents are able to comment on ideas and make further suggestions, or simply show their support for a project. 

A couple of the ideas that have already been put forward include a new accessible, safe and fun playground for disabled children and young people at Stoke Park and new premises for the Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre where survivors of rape and sexual abuse can seek support, information and advice as well as receive counselling to help them to cope and recover from the abuse they have suffered. 

Projects that meet the criteria and prove that they will deliver a positive benefit for local people will be taken through an application process and the first funding will be delivered in the Spring this year. However, there is no deadline for submissions as this is a five year project.