A TOTAL of £250,000 is on offer to community groups with ideas to regenerate under-used land in East London. They were invited this week to submit their applications for the money – by the end of the month.
They could be competing with local authorities. Along with councils in the Olympics boroughs, community groups in Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Newham, Waltham Forest, Barking and Dagenham and Greenwich have until 31 January 2012 to apply for sums of between £25,000 and £50,000.
The Sita Trust, which is linked to Sita UK, a recycling company, came up with the £250,000 last year.
It is for the Transform project, in which environmental organisations Groundwork London and the London Sustainability Exchange have been working with local people to transform outdoor spaces in the six Olympics host boroughs and, they explain, to “encourage people to live more sustainably and get involved in volunteering”.
Applicants must get permission from the relevant landowner to carry out their proposals. They must also have arranged matching funding of at least 11% of the requested grant.
Rosie Hardicker of Groundwork London said that Transform had been “kick-started” by a £200,000 Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs grant and funding from the City Bridge Trust to convert derelict land to green spaces or community gardens.
So far, a total of £137,000 has been awarded to 17 community improvement projects in Greenwich, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest and in Hackney in Glenarm Road and at Woodberry Down, Linzell and Rhodes estates. Groundwork London is proving to be a good source of funding for environmental/regeneration Big Society groups.
A report last autumn said that Groundwork London was spending £700,000 on Transform.
Hardicker told Loving Dalston: “The application form is quite straightforward, so we are hopeful that we will get some good applications.”
Monika Katkutė, a social entrepreneur and founder of Bit Greener, a location-based advertising platform, said: “If you were not lucky to be starting a project right now, it might be impossible to hit the deadline. It feels like there are some leftovers in the budget that have to be spent quickly.”
Hackney journalist and chef Hardeep Singh Kohli said: “How can we be expected to action meaningful change for a community if we are given less than a month to generate ideas?”
David Altheer 050112
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