A derelict cinema, local pubs and a rugby club are among 52 community assets which will be revived thanks to almost £13 million of government levelling up funding.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has today (30 June 2023) announced the latest allocations from the second round of the £150 million Community Ownership Fund.
The funding will help community groups take ownership of local institutions that have fallen into disrepair or are under threat of closure and give them a new lease of life. This will ensure they continue to provide vital services, create opportunities and boost local economies, while restoring optimism, hope and pride in UK communities.
Successful projects include the restoration of the derelict Paignton Picture House in Devon, which used to be frequented by detective novelist Agatha Christie, and the creation of a new live music venue at the historic Crown pub in Birmingham. Rugby union club Blackheath FC in London – the oldest independent rugby club – will also be able to buy their ground and facilities for the first time in their 165-year history with the funding.
Recent changes to the fund now mean that the amount of funding all projects can bid for has increased from £250,000 to £1 million. This is making it easier than ever for community groups to seize back control of prized local assets that are at risk of being lost forever.
Michael Gove, Secretary of State for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, said:
This cash will help to revive the vital community spaces which give people a sense of belonging and pride in their communities and allow them to thrive.
We want people across the country to have great opportunities no matter where they live. Ensuring that they can continue to benefit from treasured local institutions is an important part of this.
The Community Ownership Fund has now delivered £36.8m investment for a total of 150 projects across the UK, including £3m for Northern Ireland, £5.2m for Scotland, £3.2m for Wales and £25.5m for England.
Projects receiving funding include:
- The derelict Paignton Picture House in Devon will be able to reopen as an independent cinema and performance venue.
- Rugby union club Blackheath FC in London will be able to buy the club ground and facilities for the first time in their 165-year history, giving them the opportunity to generate commercial income and continuously improve the team and the facilities.
- The historic Crown pub in Birmingham will reopen as a progressive live music venue with seven music themed hotel rooms above.
- Hendon High Street in Sunderland will receive money to create opportunities for residents to explore their own enterprise ideas and create work for themselves.
- North Edinburgh Arts in Scotland will be refurbished to create a state-of-the-art hub for the new and existing community which has historically been overlooked.
- Three pubs in Wales will receive a total of £694,250 to allow them to stay open and serve the needs of their communities.
- The Lambert Hospice in North Yorkshire will be restored and renovated to become the first hospice in the area, removing the need for local people to travel long distances across the district for end-of-life care and support.
- Cotherstone Community Park in Durham will be transformed into a free-to-use park containing playgrounds, a football pitch, and outdoor table tennis.
Following the success of the second round of the Community Ownership Fund, a third round has now begun with the first window for bids closing on 12 July 2023. The dates of future bidding windows will be announced in due course.