Big Society.jpg

Date published: 15th May 2017

Nearly two thirds of parishes across North Norfolk have received at least one Big Society Fund grant from North Norfolk District Council during the first five years of the scheme being run.

And those local groups who have not yet submitted successful applications are being encouraged to do so after it was agreed to continue the fund for at least another year. 

In the 2016/17 financial year, ten additional parishes who had not previously received funding made a successful grant application. This means that in total, 77 parishes in North Norfolk have received at least one BSF grant. This equates to 63% of parishes in North Norfolk.

The total handed out by the BSF in the financial year was £273,817.65, shared between 37 grants. The annual allocated budget for the BSF is £225,000. The additional figure of slightly more than £48,000 came from reserves accrued from previous years when the entire allocated grant fund was not used.

The number of applications to the BSF increased by 51% in the last year. Likely reasons for this include increased community need, reduction in the availability of other grants and funding, proactive promotion of the fund, publicity regarding grant awards, and media publicity in relation to completed projects.

Since the fund started in 2012, 183 grant awards totalling approximately £1,400,000 have been made to 150 organisations.

A recent meeting of North Norfolk District Council’s Cabinet considered these figures and resolved that the BSF grant scheme should continue at its current level of funding (£225,000) for another year.

Cllr Tom FitzPatrick, Leader of North Norfolk District Council and chairman of its Big Society Fund Grants Panel, said: “This is a very successful fund which has enabled a wide variety of projects to be implemented across an impressive percentage of parishes.

“The fund has particularly benefitted smaller parishes that may be less likely to receive funding for services and facilities from other sources, for example as a result of new housing.

“We would be very keen to receive applications from those parishes who have not yet made successful applications and we have a very professional and supportive team in place to give pre-application guidance to make sure applications meet the criteria.”

Grants from the fund have been used to complete projects of varied sizes. Some have been used as contributions to larger projects requiring significant funding such as those undertaken by Sheringham Museum and the Hawk and Owl Trust at Sculthorpe. Grants offered by the Big Society Fund can be crucial in securing additional funding from organisations such as the Heritage Lottery Fund or Sport England.

Grants have funded projects that have increased volunteering opportunities, reduced social isolation, increased opportunities for people of all ages to participate in sports and activities - thereby improving their physical, mental and social wellbeing - and created sense of pride and cohesion within a community.

In addition, the second North Norfolk Big Society Awards event was held at Sheringham Little Theatre in March 2017. Members of the public as well as a range of organisations were able to nominate people, community projects and organisations for awards. Over 150 people attended the successful event.

Awards were made in the following categories: Outstanding Contribution by a Young Person to Their Community, Voluntary Services to Young People, Voluntary Services Award to Sport, Community Project Award, Voluntary Services to a Neighbourhood, Outstanding Contribution to a Big Society Funded Project, and Act of Heroism Award.

A special thank you was also given to organisations and individuals for their help and support during the tidal surge in January 2017.

The full report can be read here:

Last updated: 6th October 2017