Local Member Grants Scheme

Overview

Our Local Member Grants Scheme helps our county councillors to support the vital work of voluntary, community and faith sector (VCFS) groups.

The grants can be used to fund projects that will directly benefit the community, from gardening workshops and knit and natter sessions, to football activities to help young people stay active.

Groups can apply for a grant, and their local county councillor will decide which applications are accepted and award a grant from their own budget.

The annual Local Member Grant budget for each county councillor will be £2,000 for each financial year. For the 2023/2024 financial year, an additional £500 has been given to each councillor in celebration of the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III. Please note that this extra funding is not restricted to funding events or activities directly related to the coronation.

Who can apply

Voluntary, community and faith sector (VCFS) groups working with local people in Lancashire that:

  • have a constitution, set of rules, or articles of association in place
  • have a group bank or building society account
  • are a not-for-profit organisation

Who cannot apply:

  • Parish and town councils
  • individuals
  • schools, colleges, academies or universities. However, we can fund parent, teachers and friends associations.
  • NHS organisations
  • local authorities, police, fire or rescue services

What the grants will fund

Local Member Grants can be used to fund specific projects that benefit the community directly. They cannot fund running costs.

Projects must fit in with our corporate priorities (pdf), particularly 'caring for the vulnerable' and 'protecting the environment'.

Examples of what we can fund:

  • New equipment – such as computer tablets, gaming equipment or tools for gardening
  • Materials to help groups deliver their objectives – such as books or information display boards
  • Improvements to make activities more accessible, such as wheelchair ramps or accessible seating
  • Group activities such as outings and fitness sessions
  • Any other one-off costs to help groups deliver community projects

We can't fund

  • "core funding" such as staffing, salary costs, office rental expenses
  • Political and religious activity (as set out in our VCFS compact) may not be funded, although political and religious groups may apply for funding for community activities.
  • Research
  • Projects or activities that run contrary to county council policies or are unlawful

Grants cannot be awarded retrospectively.

Even if your project meets the above criteria, your group may not be awarded a grant. The decision on whether to approve the funding will be made by your local county councillor.

Grant funding levels

The minimum amount groups can apply for and be awarded towards their project is £100. The maximum amount groups can apply for and be awarded is £2500.

Groups can apply to more than one county councillor, however, the total amount cannot exceed more than £2500.

The maximum grant will be determined by each county councillor but will not exceed the amount they have available from their annual local member grant budget for the year.

How to apply for a grant

Please ensure you read the following before completing the grant application form. We recommend submitting your grant application at least one month before your project date to allow time for it to be processed.

Guidance on completing the application form

You will need to submit an application form and supporting documents to prove your group meets the criteria so that county councillors can make their decision.

You can either print off the form and fill it in and return as a paper copy or you can fill it in on your computer and email it back.

Note if you are emailing it back, you don’t need to scan in your signature, you can just type in your name.

Because we need two signatures, we would ask that both people named send us a separate email confirming they are happy to sign up to the application.

If you don't have all the documentation, you may still be able to apply. Please read the guidance notes below and contact the grants team if you need to discuss anything further.

1. Your details

Please fill in your details, or the details of the person in your organisation who we should deal with.

2. Proof of your organisation's status 

You need to provide us with a document that demonstrates that this application is on behalf of an organised group. You should have a set of rules (it may be called something like "Terms of reference" or "Articles of Association").

If you don’t think you have anything like that, you can use then Declaration template (DOCX 22 KB) to demonstrate that you are a legitimate organised group.

You also need to provide us with a copy of a bank statement. This helps verify the name of the group and the sort code and account number. If you don’t want us to see your groups' income and expenditure, that's fine – please cover them up. We only want to see the name and sort code / account number.

It is fine to send us scanned or electronic versions of both these documents.

3. Bank Account details

Please provide the bank or building society details for your group. It must not be a personal account. You should take care to ensure that the sort code and account number match the copy of the statement you have sent us.

4. Amount 

Simply enter the total amount of the grant you are applying for.

5. Which councillors / division 

In this section, you should write the name of the councillor(s) for the Division(s) that the grant will be used in. If you are not sure which division your group is in, please find your councillor here.

You can apply to more than one councillor, as long as the project / expenditure benefits people in every division you apply to.

Please include the name of the councillors and how much you want from each one. You can add in extra rows if you want.

The total amount must not exceed £2500.

6. Purpose of the grant 

A brief description of what you want the grant for. The rules set out in this guidance document explain what is and isn’t allowed.

7. Benefits 

Please briefly explain how the grant will help local people. Think about how it will help and also who it will help. For example, it might be a scheme that is just aimed at young people or residents of a particular estate. This helps the councillor to decide about each grant.

8. Breakdown of expenditure

Use this section to explain in more detail what you will be spending the money on. For example, if you are organising a community fun day, what elements exactly will this money be used for. If you are buying equipment, what equipment exactly will you be buying and how much will each bit cost. This helps us by showing that you have got a good plan for the money. 

9. Part funding

If you are not asking for the full amount for your project / activity etc, please say where the rest of the money is coming from. For example, if you are organising a day trip for older people, you might be asking for all those who want to go on the trip for a small contribution to the cost. Or you might have got funds from somewhere else.

This is absolutely fine – you can ask for whatever amount you like. This helps us understand if there appears to be a difference between what you're asking for from us and the total costs of your project or event.

You also need to think about what would happen if we give you the grant, but the other funding becomes unavailable for any reason. Will you need to cancel your project and send us back the money? Or will you need to scale it back and only do the things that you have the money for? As long as you have told us here what your plan would be, it’s fine.

You are not allowed to just change what you use the grant for if you don’t have the funding, but if you have set out a reasonable "Plan B" here, then it would be fine.

10. Part-award

The councillor might not be able to award you the full amount you ask for. Please use this space to say what you would do if you don’t get the full amount. If you need the full amount and anything less would not be helpful, please say so in this section.

11. Working with vulnerable children and adults

If your application for funding is to support working directly with children or vulnerable adults, you MUST have appropriate Safeguarding Policies relating to children and/or vulnerable adults. You MUST also ensure that you are complying with the requirements of the Disclosure and Barring Service in relation to this, as well as ensuring that your staff and volunteers having undergone appropriate (standard or enhanced) checks with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) with appropriate Barred list checks were appropriate, in accordance with guidance, for all the individuals involved (both staff and volunteers). The only exception to this is where parents accompany their own children; please refer to our policy for working with children and vulnerable Adults.

We may ask you to provide copies of the relevant policies. If you do not have them or unable to show them to us, we may decline your application or ask you to pay back funding already given.

12. Signing the document

Make sure you have read and are happy with the legal notice. You can either print off your application, sign it and post it to us, or scan it and email it to us. You can also simply type your name in and email it back to us. Note that the two signatories would need to each send us a separate email confirming they are happy to sign the form.

13. Legal information 

The declaration you sign on your application form makes it clear that you are stating the truth in the form.  It contracts you to spend any grant money as you have said you would.  And it makes it clear that it is your responsibility as a group to ensure you have put in place any legal requirements to enable you to carry on the activity you are requesting funding for.

You need to be clear before submitting the application that:

  • your members are covered by insurance if necessary
  • if appropriate, you have Public Liability insurance in place
  • if you are working on land or property you do not own, you have the owner's permission to do so - and so on

If in doubt about any of these things, contact the team in the first instance and they will be able to advise as to who you should talk to.

Please note that the two people who sign the form, who are authorised to sign on your organisation's bank or building society account, must not be related to each other (e.g., have the same surname).

14. Using your information

The county council will use the information you have provided in this form solely for the purposes of processing your grant application. The information in your application will be retained by the council for up to 6 years. However, if you application is unsuccessful, we will only retain the information for 12 months.

15. Data protection

In completing this form, you understand that Lancashire County Council has a requirement to process your personal data.

Lancashire County Council will only ever process your personal data where it has a clear lawful basis for doing so in full compliance with data protection legislation - UK GDPR and The Data Protection Act (2018).

We will ensure the security and confidentiality of your personal data at all times.

For full details of how Lancashire County Council handles your personal data please see our privacy notice.

What happens next

You will receive a letter informing you of the county councillor's decision.

If the funding has been awarded to you, you need to allow three to four weeks after receiving the email for the payment to be made into your group's bank account. When you receive this email, you can make the purchases you planned to make with the funds awarded.

You can use your group's own funds while you're waiting for the money to be paid. Any receipts must be dated after the date of the councillor's decision, as set out in their letter.

Please keep the receipts. Our monitoring team will ask you to provide these and a copy of your group's bank statement showing the award being paid in and the money being spent.

If the cost is less than anticipated or you don't spend the money because of a cancellation for example, please contact the grants team. Don't spend the money without contacting us first as you may need to return the funds.

Monitoring your grant

After your grant has been awarded, we will contact you to make sure everything is ok, and the money has been spent on what you intended.

We will ask for some or all of the following:

  1. Copies of receipts or invoices for the full amount of the grant
  2. A bank statement showing the invoices have been paid by your group
  3. Information about the event – for example
    1. details of how many people attended
    2. Photographs of the event or equipment
    3. Copies of press or promotional activity
  4. Copies of child protection/vulnerable adult policies and associated paperwork
  5. Evidence that any conditions of the grant have been met

Publicity

Lancashire County Council and the individual councillor(s) approving grant funding may wish to publicise the types of expenditure it has funded from the Member Grant Scheme. 

As a condition of the grant, Lancashire County Council reserves the right to publicise the applicant's project in the local media. 

If you intend to publicise the project yourself, then you are required to inform our team.

Contact information

For more information about Local Member Grants, email LPTlocalmembergrants@lancashire.gov.uk or call 01772 530078.

Postal Address:

Local Member Grants
Democratic Services
Lancashire County Council
County Hall
PRESTON
PR1 8XJ

Feedback

The County Council is committed to continuous service improvement and we welcome any feedback.  If you would like to give feedback, please contact the team or your local county councillor.