The Community Foundation Network (CFN) has raised £8.7 million which will be matched by government funds bringing the total to £17 million for community projects. The money which will go into an endowment will generate ongoing income for communities.
Community First is an £80 million government-funded programme being delivered by the Community Development Foundation (CDF) that helps communities come together through new and existing community groups, to identify their strengths and local priorities, plan for their future and become more resilient.
It includes a £30 million small grants programme for some of the most deprived areas in the country and a national £50 million endowment match challenge.
Community First runs until April 2015, and during 2012/13 a further £15 million of matched funding is available. This means that people and organisations that wish to set up Community First Funds will be able to attract matched funding from the Government, with £1 added to every £2 donated.
Stephen Hammersley, CFN’s chief executive, said: "The aim of the Community First programme is to help neighbourhoods become more self-reliant and grow their capacity to make the changes they want to see in their area, and this first £17 million of endowed funding is a great start."
Alison Seabrooke, Community Development Foundation’s chief executive said: “Our work leading this programme has demonstrated that communities are resilient but they deserve our support. We are working with communities who tell us what a difference small amounts of money makes. The Endowment Match Challenge will make sure that communities are supported for years to come.”
Alistair Lang, chief executive officer, Birketts LLP said: “Birketts LLP is delighted to be able to support the Community First match funding initiative. As a regional law firm, we work closely with the community foundations of Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Essex so this represents a very special opportunity to boost our local giving by 50% and make an even greater impact in the counties in which many of our staff and clients work and live.”