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Community projects welcome council’s Small Grants Fund

Projects to support future young leaders and transform a community garden among the successful bids.

A total of 13 local community projects and thousands of residents are set to benefit from almost £45,000 funding announced as part of Tower Hamlets Council’s Small Grants Fund (SGF).

The fund was agreed last year to support mainly small scale community projects with one off grants that will make a positive difference to the lives of local residents. The successful projects are due to start operating from October 2019.

This funding round, worth over £42,000, was oversubscribed by more than eight times with 76 applications totalling just under £355,000. A further fund of around £48,000 is expected to be awarded in the next round of bids, which will start delivering from January 2020.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “I’m delighted we’re investing in projects that will make a real difference to our resident’s lives. Our small grants programme is just one way as a council we are working with our vibrant voluntary and community sector”

The Small Grants Fund is independently managed, assessed and awarded by the East End Community Foundation, which allocates a total of £180,000 each year in funding over several rounds. Local groups were invited to bid for grants under five main themes:

Innovation to encourage creativity or pilot something new, especially where there is a gap.

Prevention to promote grass roots activity to reduce the impact on public services.

Neighbourhood action to promote local initiatives.

Community cohesion to develop community resilience, promote cultural opportunities and reduce social isolation.

Partnership working making the sector more effective through closer collaborative working within and across sectors.

One of the successful community projects is the Poplar-based Leaders in Community’s ‘Be Heard’ project which has been awarded £2,425. The project will be led by a group of 20 young people aged 14 to 18 who will plan and deliver four themed community events, including panel discussions with key decision makers to tackle issues of local concern.

Welcoming the funding news, Suna Ramadan, Fundraising Officer from Leaders in Community, said: “The grant we received from the Small Grants Fund will help contribute towards improved community cohesion in the borough. Through our Be Heard events, young people will help deliver events to the whole the community, so that local people can have their say, feel more connected and be part of the area they live in.”

Also welcoming its £4,000 funding news is community organisation Seeds for Growth. Their community gardening project will be based on Isle of Dogs’ Samuda Estate, and will work with residents of all ages towards transforming the current community garden to re-open next summer.

Gregory Cohn, Seeds for Growth Chief Executive said: “Our Samuda Community Engagement project will run tea parties, informal chats, focus groups and workshops all to inspire local tenants and residents in the Samuda Estate to make more use of their existing community garden. We shall also offer training workshops and121 advice on growing flowers, fruit and vegetables.”

Councillor Candida Ronald, Cabinet Member for Resources and the Voluntary Sector, said: “It’s so encouraging to hear from community organisations about how even fairly modest sums of funding can make a real and lasting impact across all parts of our borough. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the projects develop over time”

Councillor Asma Islam, Mayoral Advisor for the Community and Voluntary Sector, said: “The wide ranging work of our local community organisations is truly one of the borough’s greatest achievements, and we can all be proud of the contribution they continue to make. It is also very positive to see that due to the Small Grants Fund, a number of small local groups are receiving council funding for the very first time.”