Share of £700,000 for community groups in County Durham to help bounce-back from pandemic

Community groups in County Durham, which are helping the local area to recover fromCovid, are set to receive hundreds of thousands of pounds in funding.

Venues which offer vital activities and services will be invited by Durham County Council to apply for grants which will support them to open safely in the wake of the pandemic.

Hundreds of sites will be encouraged by the council’s Partnerships and CommunityEngagement Team to register for a one-off payment from the Covid Outbreak Management Fund.

A total of £734,000 will be available through the fund, which is part of the Government’swider Contain Outbreak Management Fund, to enable centres to open safely andprovide essential services to support their local communities.

Who will be able to apply for support?

The council have identified 190 community centres that are eligible to claim funding.

These include;

  • Buildings where the council is landlord

  • Buildings which are community owned and managed

An additional 44 centres run by social housing providers will also be invited to applyfor grants, to support the costs of reopening communal rooms and encouraging thecommunity to return to use them.

Faith centres which provide non-religious community activities will receive a £75,000 shareof the funding and will be contacted directly by North East Churches Acting Together, which will process applications which meet the criteria.

Cllr Mark Wilkes, the council’s Cabinet member for Neighbourhoods and Climate Change,including community facilities, said: “These venues contribute massively to the wellbeing ofcommunities across our county. It is fantastic that this money is available to support themto open and operate safely."

Centres can use the funding that they receive to cover a range of costs, including:

  • Increased cleaning costs

  • Replacing loss of income through meeting COVID restrictions, such as reducedcapacity in activities

  • The cost of extra staffing to facilitate adapted services

  • Additional equipment such as movable plastic screening or surface coverings andpersonal protective equipment

  • A contribution to more permanent adaptions to touch points or floor coverings andfurniture

  • Building running costs