New Living Legacy Fund will help grass roots groups support their communities

A new fund to help grass roots groups tackling poverty and isolation to improve health and wellbeing is being launched by Dorset Community Foundation and BCP Council.

The Living Legacy Fund is targeting the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area and has been boosted with a £50,000 injection from the council. The fund, which is now open for grant applications, aims to fund services and activities that bring people together to support one another, provide healthy social activities, support personal aspirations and skills and promote volunteering opportunities where possible.

Community foundation director Grant Robson said: “There couldn’t be a better time to launch a fund like this, with voluntary groups struggling after 18 months of increased demand and lost fundraising opportunities because of COVID-19.

“We want this fund to be a catalyst to rebuilding communities and giving groups the resource and certainty to meet the needs on their doorstep. We are very thankful for the support from BCP Council, which has been incredibly supportive of what we have been trying to do over the last year or so.”

Cllr Jane Kelly, BCP Council’s lead member for Community Engagement, said: “I am delighted and really excited that BCP Council are working with DCF to launch this fund, it is a fantastic opportunity for community groups to receive some valuable resource to continue or expand their work.

“The council is dedicated and passionate about helping our communities to flourish when they have had such a difficult time. Demand is high on services to help those who are in need, many people are facing social and financial challenges but we know that there are many fantastic people out there who can and will want to take advantage of this opportunity to start or continue community-based projects.

She said the community foundation was an obvious choice for the council when looking to invest money into the voluntary sector. “I have worked with the community foundation several times over the last few years,” she said.

“It is a well-established and very trusted name in the voluntary sector and that really matters. It has a fantastic network and the aims of the Living Legacy Fund reflect our corporate priorities, which is all about recognising the strengths within our communities, building on those and keeping residents at the heart of everything we do.”

Last year’s donation from BCP Council to the community foundation’s Dorset Coronavirus Community Fund provided 13 grants and benefitted more than 10,000 people. 

Mr Robson said he is expecting other people and organisations and corporate partners to support the fund. “I know there are many people in Dorset who share BCP Council’s belief in building and growing communities through investment in the voluntary sector,” he said.

“I firmly believe this fund will become an important means of support for grass roots groups in the area for many years to come.”

The fund will award grants of up to £5,000 and can cover running costs, staff and volunteer pay and expenses, capital expenditure such as IT or sports equipment or venue hire.

Organisations which apply must work in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole and priority for funding will be given to those based in the area.

The funded activities must start within two months of funding and groups have up to 12 months to spend the grant. Applications do not need to be for new services, they can be for the continuation or expansion of existing services to meet changing needs or increasing demand.

To apply for a grant, find out how to support the Living Legacy Fund or learn more about the work of the Community foundation go to dorsetcommunityfoundation.org.