Council refocuses grant schemes to improve equity and impact

Illustration of an outstretched hand with a heart in it.

Surrey Heath Borough Council is seeking to update several of its discretionary grant schemes to ensure they are achieving the greatest positive impact in the community.

The Council runs a number of grant schemes which enable local community and voluntary organisations to apply for funding in relation to the services and projects they provide for the benefit of Surrey Heath residents.

Surrey Heath Portfolio Holder for Inclusion and Housing Cllr Lisa Finan-Cooke said: “Support for the community and voluntary sector in the borough is a key objective of the new Council Strategy, in particular the aim to ‘promote healthier and more inclusive communities’ by facilitating a flourishing voluntary sector, supporting those in greatest need, and championing greater equity and inclusion.

“The recommended changes to the grant schemes aim to bring the criteria of these grant schemes more in line with the Council’s objectives - ensuring that the funds will be distributed in a way that achieves the greatest possible impact including promoting support for the most vulnerable residents in our borough and in doing so, achieve greater equity for all.”
The grant schemes affected are the Council’s Ward Councillor Grant, Community Fund Grant and Lottery Grant schemes.

The Ward Councillor grant scheme enables Ward Councillors to support organisations and projects in their wards through the provision of grants of up to £500 for individual applications. Given the uneven take up of this grant scheme across the borough, the key recommended amendment to this grant criteria involves an initial allocation of £1,000 per councillor, with the potential of up to £2,000 later in the year, to maximise its impact where residents need is highest, up to a total of £35,000 per year across all councillors. Funds released will be reallocated to support the larger Revenue Grant Scheme for voluntary and community organisations operating across the borough as a whole.

The much-valued Community Fund will continue, and in future offer grants of up to £15,000 to assist local not for profit organisations with the delivery of community projects.

The Community Fund will accept applications to fund purchases of equipment or resources, one-off events, building projects, start-up costs and, in exceptional circumstances, running costs for existing projects where there is a need for transitional or bridging funding. These grants continue to be funded from Council reserves, and will not be replenished once all funds are allocated.

The Annual Lottery Grant scheme is funded from money raised from Surrey Heath Lottery ticket sales, with grants awarded to local good causes that meet the criteria.

The amount in the grant pot will vary dependent on overall ticket sales, and applications and awards to the scheme will be capped at a maximum of £2,000.

The recommended amendments to the Lottery Grant criteria bring this grant in line with the other grant scheme criteria, based on the Council’s objectives - in particular that they should seek to support the Council in our core aim of healthier and more inclusive communities, and supporting those in greatest need.

Access the Agenda of the Executive meeting of 13 February 2024, and read more details on the Grants review item, and other items to be discussed.

Read more about Council grant schemes


Update - 14 February 2024 

At the Executive meeting of 13 February 2024, the Executive resolved that the grant policy and criteria of the three grant schemes be amended as set out in the Agenda report. You can read more on the 13 February 2024 Executive meeting webpage