£3.4 million boost for communities to save a local building or asset

Five community buildings to receive government boost to help them reopen to the public or transform their existing use.


 These buildings and sites across England are all valued community assets, and today’s funding will pay for repairs, refurbishment and create local jobs.

Each community asset will receive between £130,000 and £440,000 from a £3.4 million Department for Communities and Local Government community assets fund, managed by the Social Investment Business Group. Further allocations from the fund will be made later this year (2014).

Communities minister Stephen Williams said:

Local people and communities know best how they want to run things, from setting up neighbourhood plans deciding on new development to taking over local services.

The monies announced today will help these 6 inspirational schemes get off the ground and not only will they provide leisure, cultural and care facilities for the future, they will also create local jobs, helping to build both a stronger economy and a fairer society.

The assets receiving funding in this round are:

Eyes Open Community Interest Company, Suffolk

£266, 968 - the aim of this project is to purchase the freehold to a Grade II* listed former bank ensuring the sustainability of a Community Arts Centre in the small market town of Eye in rural Suffolk.

Ilmington Community Shop Ltd, Warwickshire

£135,000 as a contribution towards the purchase and refurbishment costs of a church building no longer used as a place of worship. The building will be converted into a viable community centre consisting of a shop and café. The shop will also serve as an informal meeting place particularly in the summer as it is regularly visited by cyclists and walkers passing through. This new venture will bring social, economic and environmental benefits to the area and will also be of particular benefit to residents who find walking difficult.

Saltdean Lido Community Interest Company, Saltdean

£439,800 to refurbish the Saltdean Lido site, a Grade II* listed, 1930’s art deco building, located less than 5 miles from Brighton pier. The ultimate aim is to extensively renovate and conserve the entire Saltdean Lido complex to use all year round as a centre for Saltdean. This grant will help them open the pool in summer 2015 and run community events and a cafe.

Squash Nutrition, Liverpool

£382,573 to purchase and develop derelict land in Toxteth, Liverpool, to build and develop a community food centre called Toxteth Food Central. The group intend to build a space from which they can deliver community services and develop an integrated community food garden. Services will include skills training, volunteer experiences, fairly priced food in an urban food shop, free nutritional health training, a local community cafe and opportunities for sharing health support.

The Reader Organisation, Liverpool

£382,573 to refurbish the Calderstones Barn and Stable Block at Calderstones Park in Liverpool, transferred in January 2013 from Liverpool City Council. The barn and stable buildings will be converted into a ‘Story Barn’, a children and families focused community provision aimed at providing high quality reading events and activities for the local and wider region.

Willowbrook Hospice, St Helens

£400,000 to purchase and renovate Alexander House, the former Pilkingtons Glass head office. The building has lain empty for 6 years and is now derelict. The grant will allow for the creation of a community Wellbeing Centre where patients approaching the end of their lives and their families can meet for positive support, giving them the confidence to be cared for at home and keeping them out of hospital.

Caroline Forster, Director of Investments at the Social Investment Business said:

We are proud to have backed some of England’s most inspired community enterprises transform local buildings and assets to deliver social and economic benefits in their communities. This fund has demonstrated how entrepreneurial our communities can be with a little targeted support at the right time and will inspire many others to follow in their steps and play a greater part helping their communities flourish.

Today’s funding brings the total funding under the programme to £21 million since 2012 to early stage community ventures looking to buy or manage a building for the community or deliver a local service. More than 700 local organisations from across England have now taken the first step towards ensuring that buildings like the local pub are not sold off and lost to the community.

Bruce Potts, one of the Directors of the Saltdean Lido Community Interest Company said:

In a couple of years, when we open, this is going to be a place where everybody in the community can come down and find time to swim in the pool, to go for a lovely meal in our restaurant and delicatessen, to spend time in the library, or even have a retro 1930s wedding as will have a wedding license!

Millions of people across England are now benefitting from the government’s community rights programme, coming together to protect pubs, libraries and leisure centres against sell off, creating neighbourhood plans to decide on new local development and deliver local jobs and improved local services.

The total number of uses of the rights has now hit 3,000, with more than 1,500 much loved buildings, assets and green spaces listed and 1,200 neighbourhood plans well underway.

See our new interactive community rights map to find out about listed buildings and other community rights uses in your area.

Further information

Over the last 3 years, the fund has backed 31 organisations with almost £10 million of capital grants to undertake transformative projects. See furthercase studies from previous funding rounds.

Communities across England that are thinking of taking on a building or other asset of community value can visit my community rights for detailed information on other sources of funding or visit Just Act, run by Community Development Foundation for insight and peer support to help community enterprises at every stage.

Those looking to take on ownership of a pub can call the Plunkett Foundation on 01993 810730 or send an email to info@plunkett.co.uk.

The Social Investment Business is one of the UK’s leading social investors and has invested more than £340 million in 1,300 charities and social enterprises since 2002. They provide simple finance to help them grow and transform the communities in which they work.