The third round of bidding to the Community Ownership Fund (COF) (part of the Government's Levelling Up programme) opened on 15 February and runs until 14 April.
In the fund's own words, "The Community Ownership Fund is a £150 million fund over 4 years to support community groups across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to take ownership of assets which are at risk of being lost to the community."
You can find full details here. Essentially, the COF exists to enable local groups to take ownership of key buildings which might otherwise be lost to community use.
So far, feedback from the community sector has centred on the requirement for match funding; the COF guidance stipulates that applicants must demonstrate match funding to be eligible for a capital grant. Informally, we understand that the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) are concerned that the funds are not getting out of the door quickly enough, so if you have an idea for acquiring a local community asset on your patch, we would suggest that now would be a really good time to contact DLUHC or complete the EOI form, which you can find here.
If you're interested in working out how best to take ownership, or how to set up a group which is eligible to apply, do get in touch.
Key information for the full application bidding windows in 2022/23 are as follows: bidding window 3: 15 February to 14 April 2023 each bidding window will close at 11:59am on its respective closing date the dates of future bidding windows will be announced in due course Your full applications must be submitted by 11:59am on 14 April 2023 if you are applying in the third bidding window.