A major grant-giving organisation is working with a West Midlands council to utilise inactive charity funds – and is encouraging other councils to do the same.
Sandwell Council has entrusted the Heart of England Community Foundation to award grants on its behalf – launching the ‘Sandwell Community Grants’ fund.
The first grants, taken from the council’s previously dormant assets, have now been issued to charities and volunteer-led projects in the borough.
Krunch UK and the Christian Youth and Community Service were together awarded £5,000 from the fund, and the money will be used by the groups to support Sandwell’s younger generation.
Oldbury’s Krunch UK, who work with vulnerable children and young people, will use the money to provide fun and practical sessions covering topics such as sport and cooking for children finding the transition from primary to secondary school difficult.
And the West Bromwich-based Christian Youth & Community Service will use the money to purchase new IT equipment so staff and volunteers can perform more effectively.
The Heart of England Community Foundation has worked with Sandwell Council to bring a new focus for these funds which were linked to trust funds that had not been accessed for some years.
Tina Costello, CEO of the Foundation, is urging other councils to follow suit and help community projects within their own boundaries.
“It’s fantastic to be working with Sandwell Council and awarding the first-ever Sandwell Community Grants to Krunch UK and the Christian Youth and Community Service.
“I’m very grateful to Sandwell Council for entrusting us with its funds and allowing us to support worthy causes in the region.
“The work we’re starting with Sandwell is a great example of how councils can revitalise previously unused funds and benefit projects in their communities. We want other local authorities in the West Midlands to work with us so we can really make a difference.
“Councils may not realise they have access to these funds so it’s a huge opportunity to do more locally.”
Councils across the country have been encouraged to work with local community foundations as part of an initiative from the Charity Commission.
Many local authorities have inherited charitable trusts that have become dormant over many years and are not being used.
Sandwell Council Leader Councillor Yvonne Davies said:
“Giving children and young people the best possible start in life is one of our top priorities and it’s great we have been able to free up this money to create a fund to support them.”