Community grants announced for for Fast Track summer projects

Voluntary and community sector organisations can now apply for a small Fast Track grant of up to £1,000 to run activities over the summer, as part of Team Hackney Community Grants.

Groups who want to apply need to get their applications in quickly, as the deadline is 12 noon on Thursday, 7 August 2008. There will then be just a three week wait for a funding decision and successful organisations can start running their projects in September 2008.

The summer grants are being launched today (Friday, 11 July ) by Team Hackney and the Hackney Community Empowerment Network (CEN). Through last year’s programme, £750,000 was invested in the voluntary and community sector in Hackney, and, for the first time, large grants of up to £50,000 were made available to the sector.

Ian Lewis, Director of Partnership for Hackney Council, said: “Last year there were lots of creative and innovative ideas for summer activities which received funding, and we are delighted to be running the Fast Track grants programme again. The activities need to be enjoyable and engaging but they also need to show how they will benefit the people of Hackney, especially those who need them most.”

Last year’s Fast Track grants were very popular with over 77 groups successfully receiving funding for a wide range of projects fromincluding football tournaments, health sessions for older people, and alcohol and substance misuse advice services, to a recycling information day, music as well as music production and healthy cooking workshops.

One of last year s recipients, Clapton Rangers football team, won the 2008 London Sunday Junior Cup, beating Barking s Eastwood Sports 2-1. The squad is made up of 40 young men aged 18-25 from the Clapton Park and Kingsmead estates, and trains weekly on Hackney marshes. The idea for a football team came from founders Mark Whyte, now club secretary, and Decarlo Franklin, manager, back in 2005. The club reformed for the 2006-7 season, after a 20 year absence from Sunday football.

Community Interest Companies (CIC) can now apply for these grants as well as small not-for-profit, voluntary and community sector groups with an annual turnover of under £250,000.

Funded projects must meet one of eight objectives which have been identified in Hackney’s Local Area Agreement (LAA)by Team Hackney as ways that the voluntary and community sector can contribute to improving life in Hackney. These include: reducirange from reducing worklessness;, creating cleaner, greener and safer public spaces;, supporting older people to live independently;, tackling domestic violence; raising educational attainment;, reducing the rate of violent and criminal gang culture; and reducing health inequalities for young people.