New community fund to improve neighbourhoods

RESIDENTS in Tameside will soon get the chance to bid for a share of £500,000 towards community projects through a new fund set up to help improve neighbourhoods across the North West and East Midlands.

Judi Kelly

To mark its first anniversary on April 3, Jigsaw Homes Group will launch its new Jigsaw Foundation fund which also allows tenants to vote on where they would like some of the money to be spent.

Jigsaw, which owns 34,000 homes, is encouraging bids from a range of different applicants across it communities including local or charity projects, resident groups, voluntary organisations, social enterprises and partner agencies.

Jigsaw Homes Group was formed on April 3, 2018 following the merger of New Charter Group and Adactus Housing Group and Jigsaw Foundation replaces neighbourhood funds run by the two former organisations.

Projects to benefit from community funding in the past include SUSSED IT (Start UP Support and Social Enterprise Development in Tameside) which helps local people to set up their own businesses.

Community investment has given budding entrepreneurs access to specialist support from a consultant to get their ideas off the ground including financing and marketing their businesses.

Judi Kelly, from Inspire Consultant (Dukinfield) Ltd., provides business support as part of SUSSED IT.

She said: “I’ve been privileged to work with a lot of talented and inspiring people, seeing them grow their business and the impact they have on the community is amazing.”

Other projects to receive funding include local theatres, school workshops, sports activities, dementia cafes, social enterprise start-ups and work clubs.

Applications to Jigsaw Foundation must demonstrate that their projects make a difference to people’s lives and communities either by improving health, well-being and loneliness, employment or training, the environment, financial and digital inclusion or supporting people to sustain their tenancies.

Tenants who have registered to the landlord’s Jigsaw Rewards tenant feedback system will be surveyed on applications of up to £25,000. Bids in excess of this will be decided on by Jigsaw’s executive team.

Applications will also be assessed alongside Jigsaw’s new neighbourhood plans which are also due to launch in April.

A sum of £50,000 from the Jigsaw Foundation programme has also been set aside a special ‘hardship fund’ to support people in immediate financial difficulty with applications made via internal and agency referrals only.

Emma Wilson, group director of neighbourhoods at Jigsaw Homes Group, said: “Jigsaw Foundation confirms our continued investment in all our communities and we look forward to launching this fund on our upcoming first birthday to support projects close to people’s hearts that have a positive impact in our neighbourhoods.”

Applications open on Jigsaw’s first anniversary on April 3. Application forms can be downloaded in advance of the launch date, but entries must not be submitted before April 3. For a paper copy, contact 0300 111 1122.

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