Grant scheme given go-ahead

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COMMUNITY groups can now take advantage of money saved by Lincolnshire County councillors’ self-imposed two-year freeze on their allowances, thanks to a new ‘Councillor Big Society Fund.’

Proposals, to allow councillors to bid for up to £2,000 for good causes in their areas was given the go-ahead at a full council meeting held last Friday. (September 16).

Such a scheme will enhance the ability of county councillors, as democratically elected representatives, to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of their local communities.

At present, there is a set amount of £160,000 per annum for a two year period. If split amongst all 77 divisions this would give each one a potential budget of £2,077.92.

The initial decision in May by councillors not to take the increases recommended by its Independent Remuneration Panel mean that there was an estimated £210,000 a year saving.

It was then proposed that it should be invested in worthwhile community projects.

Since proposals were given the go-ahead, £160,000 a year for two years will be shared among causes successfully nominated by local councillors.

It was also originally proposed that the remaining £50,000 a year would be given to the Lincolnshire Carers Partnership, which supports the county’s “hidden army” of unpaid carers.

Councillors will first need to identify the projects they wish to support then follow a step-by-step procedure, which includes, the councillor completing an ‘Award Form’ which will then be sent to The Big Society Fund.

Coun Sue Woolley, for health, housing and community, said: “Councillors know their areas well and are well placed to identify those little groups that carry out sterling work locally and could benefit from this funding.

“These proposals would see us using the funds from the savings on councillors’ allowances for an initiative that will support communities to do more for themselves.”

For more information visit: www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/bigsocietyfund.