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Gloucestershire Business News

'Build Back Better Fund' to aid Gloucestershire recovery

Gloucestershire County Council has announced a £2million 'Build Back Better Fund' to be launched later this month after Cabinet approval. The fund is aimed at helping communities recover from the impact of Covid-19.

The fund will be allocated evenly across the county's 53 divisions to allow each county councillor to support bids in their area and ensure the investment is shared right across Gloucestershire. Each councillor will have access to a total of £40,000 in grants to support their local area.

The criteria for bids is likely to consist of key themes including 'community health and wellbeing', 'digital inclusion', 'nature and/or the environment', 'healthy lifestyles' and 'safer neighbourhoods'.

A range of groups and bodies will be able to submit bids including community and voluntary organisations, charities, community interest companies, town and parish councils and sports groups.

Cllr Lynden Stowe, deputy leader and cabinet member for finance and change said: "Creating this fund is important to us as we want to do all we can to support communities and neighbourhoods, not just to recover but to build back better and stronger from the impacts of Covid-19.

"The proposed fund, allocated evenly across the county, will ensure every community, supported by their local county councillor, can bid for funding.

"With further details on the fund set to be released in the coming weeks, I would encourage communities to start thinking about how a share of this fund could be used in their local area."

Cllr Colin Hay, Gloucestershire Lib Dem's finance spokesperson said: "We're very happy to see the Conservatives launch the Build Back Better Fund, especially since this was our idea brought to the Budget meeting back in February.

"At the time Conservative councillors voted unanimously against our Community Recovery Fund - a position reiterated just last month when Cabinet Members again refused my request to allocate some of the £3 million Budget underspend towards this proposal - so it's pleasing to see that they have had a change of heart.

"It is a shame that our residents have had to wait an additional five months for this scheme - just for the Conservatives to put their own rosette on it - however the most important thing is that community groups will soon be able to access this critical lifeline."

Cllr Stowe responded: "Conservatives on Gloucestershire Council introduced the first "councillor-led" grant schemes ten years ago and realise how important these funds are for our communities.

"We're delighted that the Liberal Democrats now also support the principle of empowering local councillors and it's equally important that the new council elected in May has ownership of the new scheme."

Funding will need to be spent by 31st January 2025. Further details about the proposed fund will be set out in a cabinet report, due to be published next week, that the cabinet will consider at its meeting on 21st July.

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