COMMUNITY groups are urged to make a bid for a share in a £55m grant making scheme for the third sector.

Glasgow City Council's Communities Fund replaces the former integrated grants fund with bosses claiming it is easier for organisations to make applications. 

It will go live on Monday following a decision by the council’s City Administration Committee.

The scheme has caused controversy in previous years but bosses now say it is a success and has helped nearly 300 groups.

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Christina Cannon, city convener for education, communities and equalities, said the change had make the application process more "fair and equitable".

Cllr Cannon said: “Both established and new organisations across every council ward have given us their views and ideas to help shape the new and more straightforward application process.

“Benchmarking against other national grant funders including the National Lottery Fund has also helped us develop a new online service that’s fair and equitable.

“By working together with community groups and third sector organisations we will make a difference to the lives of many Glasgow citizens."

The changes were brought about by several months of engagement with community and third sector groups.

Secured with cross-party support, the £55,871,742 includes ring-fenced funding for groups delivering financial inclusion support in their area. 

The funding will be distributed to successful applications from April 2023 until March 2026.

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The Glasgow Times told in 2020 of concerns from several community groups that they would lose funding due to changes to the scheme.

More than 200 groups had applications rejected and a £4m transition fund had to be set up to help the advice sector, violence against women organisations, communities of interest and equalities groups.

The Communities Fund then caused further controversy last year as planned projects that were delayed by the pandemic struggled to use up the money to a deadline imposed by the council.

As part of the review of the fund, council officers, the Glasgow Third Sector Interface Network (GTSIN) and the Glasgow Council for Voluntary Sector (GCVS) held a series of sessions with both currently-funded groups and potential new applicants.

Cllr Cannon added: “We only need to look at some of the statistics to see the difference the fund is making. 

"On average, each project funded engaged with almost 2500 citizens during the last year.  

"The numbers speak for themselves and opening the fund up has extended it to even more Glaswegians during an absolutely critical time for communities and putting money directly into the pockets of local organisations.

“We now want to build on that and ensure no group is unnecessarily excluded from applying."

The deadline for applications to the fund is September 12, 2022.