Government saves over 80 community spaces from closure

Community assets including pubs, music venues and sports clubs saved from closure thanks to a major £33.5million package announced by the Government.

image for illustration

… saved from closure thanks to a major £33.5million package…

GOV.UK writes:

More than 80 community assets including pubs, iconic music venues and sports clubs have been saved from closure thanks to a major £33.5million package announced by the Government today.

This investment from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ Community Ownership Fund – the highest amount ever announced from the pot – will ensure these beloved establishments are protected, ensuring they will be around for generations to come. This funding will maintain more community spaces for people to enjoy, helping to bolster local economies as well as contributing to the government’s wider mission to grow the economy.

Nineteen sports facilities are being given a lifeline in this round, with £6.7million keeping football clubs and swimming pools afloat so that local people can continue to keep fit and healthy. That includes £300,000 to reopen the Mirion Street Centre in Crewe, which burned down in a devastating fire in 2014. The funding will allow a local boxing club to redevelop the building so they can move into it, offering fantastic new opportunities to local people and allowing the group to move out of the run-down warehouse they currently use.

Two cinemas will also now be kept open, including the Edinburgh Filmhouse which opened in 1979 but became run down over time and had to close in 2022. It will now receive £1.5million so that it can open its doors again, and the newly refurbished venue will screen the best new films from across the globe.

Nine pubs have also been given almost £3million to keep them open so that they can keep pulling pints, including the Shrewsbury Arms in Kingstone, which has been in need of vital investment to keep it running. Now, with £178,000 from the Fund, the roof can be replaced and the pub can once again become the centre of community life.

A further £1.9million will be spent on keeping four music venues open so that local people have access to live music on their doorstep. That includes £250,000 for Le Pub in Newport, which has sat proudly at the centre of the city’s music scene for 28 years. The venue hosts over 300 events a year but has been at risk of being sold, and this funding will ensure that it is protected for future generations to enjoy.

This is the third round of the Community Ownership Fund, bringing the total spending from the pot to more than £103 million with 333 projects rescued so far as part of the government’s ongoing mission to level up towns, villages and cities across the UK.

Jacob Young, Minister for Levelling Up, said:

We know how much these vital community assets mean to people across the country. They are an important lifeline for people young and old, and they’re the beating heart of our towns, cities and villages.

That’s why we’re stepping in to protect them with a major rescue package, so we stop these great establishments closing or being lost forever and ensure that they continue to sit at the heart of our beloved communities.

In total this latest announcement of funding also includes:

  • 33 community centres receiving £12.7million, so that they can continue to serve their communities;
  • Three theatres receiving £1.5million so they can keep putting on exciting local events;
  • Five community shops receiving £1.38 million to protect our high streets;
  • Nineteen sports facilities being given £6.7million so people have a place to play sport and exercise;
  • Nine pubs being given almost £3million so they can keep their doors open.

Other projects previously saved include rugby union club Blackheath FC in London – the oldest independent rugby club – which was given £725,000 in the second round of the Fund. This will allow them to buy their ground and facilities for the first time in their 165-year history.

James Fleming, chairman of Blackheath Football Club, said:

“The purchase will secure the ownership of the ground in perpetuity for the community of Blackheath Football and for future generations.

“It is a momentous moment in the history of the Club and for the local community.”….

Scottish projects in this round will be supported with £3.8million of funding, with a further £2.8million for Northern Ireland and £3.1million for Wales. So far, the Community Ownership Fund has awarded a total £17million for 47 projects in Scotland; £8.1million for 31 projects in Northern Ireland and over £7million for 24 projects in Wales.

Since Round 1 of the Fund, Ministers have funded all bids which have passed the criteria for successful applications. This approach allows the Department to fund the maximum number of projects. In future windows ministers may choose to prioritise funding to underrepresented areas to help even out any regional imbalances.

The Levelling Up Minister Jacob Young visited two Community Ownership Fund projects in Cumbria to mark the launch. The Minister visited Cooke’s Studios in Barrow-on-Furness which has been awarded £910,000 from the Fund today (23 March). The Minister heard how this investment will be used to carry out essential renovations so that it can become Barrow’s flagship community-led arts centre, which will deliver a range of community services like art exhibitions and a community cinema….

The next round of the Community Ownership Fund, Round 4, is the final round. There will be two bidding windows in Round 4 to allocate remaining funding. The next bidding window, Round 4 Window 1, will open on 25 March 2024 and close on 10 April 2024.

Read more….

This entry was posted in Sector NewsBlog. Bookmark the permalink.