Groups from across Worthing have celebrated successful bids for funding from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Neighbourhood Fund.
Over £577,000 from Worthing Borough Council’s CIL Neighbourhood Fund was successfully bid for by 45 community groups and voluntary sector organisations in September this year.
Groups have already started using the money on a range of projects that improve the lives of residents in the town, with others developing plans to get their projects up and running in the new year.
At a celebration event, representatives from Dad La Soul, Humber Avenue Community Allotments, Sight Support Worthing and West Tarring Young People's Hub spoke about their projects, as well as the work they do in the community and how this funding is helping to support them.
The audience of over 70 people was shown progress photos and videos and heard powerful testimonials. There was also a chance to ask questions as part of a panel session designed to help groups learn from each other.
Soul and gospel choir Spring into Soul, which was awarded funding to host a month of events to celebrate Worthing Black History Month in October, topped off the celebrations with a couple of songs before groups were given the chance to network.
A recurring theme throughout the night was the groups’ desire to collaborate by sharing resources, partnering on projects and even helping each other apply for other funding opportunities.
Community Works, a local organisation that supports the voluntary community and social enterprise sector, also spoke about the advice, support, learning and networking opportunities it can offer.
The CIL Neighbourhood Fund is collected as a levy from developers building in the local area, to offset the impact felt by residents. As part of its commitment to being a council for the community, last year Worthing Borough Council began speaking with community groups to find out how the fund can be made fairer, more transparent and easier to bid for grants from.
As a result, the fund was expanded to cover a wider area of Worthing, assessment panels made up of ward councillors and selected community groups were introduced and an expression of interest stage was created.
Cllr Carl Walker, the deputy leader of Worthing Borough Council, said:
“We wanted to give groups the chance to celebrate the valuable work that they are doing in our communities and a space to talk about their projects with their peers. It was great to see so many developing useful connections on the night and discovering how they can work together.
“Councillors and officers redeveloped the CIL Neighbourhood Fund alongside the community at a series of engagement events, but the learning doesn’t stop there. Groups filled out evaluation forms after the event and council officers captured the common themes that emerged on the night so we can make the fund even more accessible next year.”
The council will be following up on the progress of the successful projects and will give residents regular updates via its website and social media platforms.
Visit https://www.adur-worthing.gov.uk/worthing-cil/neighbourhood-fund/#summary-of-bids to find out more about the fund.