A project to stimulate a greener, more regenerative economy in North Lancashire is currently offering grants of between £5,000 and £10,000 to community groups, social enterprises and not-for-profit organisations through its ‘Pots of Possibility’ fund.
The Pots of Possibility fund supports ideas for community-led action to reduce waste, improve sustainable consumption habits, restore the environment and build healthier communities. It is part of Closing Loops, a £1.5 million project funded by The National Lottery Community Fund that will distribute £300,000 in small grants over the next four years.
The fund will offer two different granting opportunities:
- Community Pots – Grants of up to £5,000 to support pilot projects, test the feasibility of new ideas and support community projects.
- Your Pots – Grants of between £5,000 and £10,000 to take forward new ideas or to scale up and expand regenerative projects and enterprises that will help our community and environment to flourish over the long term.
The first round of Community Pots grants were awarded earlier this year, with 13 local projects receiving funding. The current round of funding is for the Your Pots grants, with a deadline of 6 October for submitting applications.
Community organisations, charities, social enterprises and other not-for-profit groups can apply to develop ideas in any of the following themes:
- Reusing, repurposing or repairing materials currently going to waste (e.g. textiles, electronics, packaging, surplus food, etc)
- Sharing resources (e.g. tools, materials, skills, etc) or repurposing unused space for community benefit
- Inspiring people to use and buy things more sustainably and to produce less waste
- Growing, cooking and eating food that’s local, seasonal and sustainably produced
Grant applications will be taken forward to a community event where organisations pitch their project ideas and members of the public vote to make recommendations about who should get the money.
This innovative approach to awarding grants is called ‘participatory budgeting’, and is an opportunity for organisations to build connections and increase community engagement with their project. There won’t just be one winner, and it’s not about ‘winner takes all’. It’s about local communities deciding how best to spend scarce resources and about helping local projects to reach their full potential.
To find out more about the Your Pots grants currently available through the Pots of Possibility fund visit: www.lancastercvs.org.uk/pots-of-possibility.
Anyone interested in finding out more can come along to a drop-in support session, where representatives from Closing Loops and Lancaster District CVS will be on hand to answer questions. Drop-in support sessions available:
- Wednesday 13 September (10.00am-12.00pm) Morecambe Hobby Hub, Yorkshire Street West, Morecambe LA3 1QE
- Wednesday 20 September (2.00pm-4.00pm) Lancaster Sustainability Hub, Unit 6 Marketgate, Lancaster LA1 1JF
Yak Patel, Chief Officer at Lancaster District CVS, said: ‘As the umbrella organisation for the voluntary sector across the Lancaster district, it’s really exciting to be working with LESS and all the Closing Loops project partners in taking action to help grow a zero-waste, regenerative economy in North Lancashire. We were thrilled by the amazing response to the Pots of Possibility Community Pots round earlier this year, and now we’re looking forward to giving the public their voice in the fund through the Your Pots participatory budgeting process.’
‘Thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund and National Lottery players, we’re proud to be distributing grants that mean grassroots projects can make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of communities and our environment, helping to create a more sustainable future.’
Jo Stocking, REconomy Coordinator at LESS (Lancaster District) CIC, said: ‘People are facing huge challenges at the moment in their daily lives and it’s easy to feel powerless and without a voice. But there are also so many amazing projects happening right across our communities – from repair cafes, surplus food swaps and community gardens through to local enterprises changing their business model to put social and environmental regeneration at their core. We want to connect those people and projects up – to ‘close the loop’ if you like – and really make a difference in the Lancaster District.’
‘By applying to the Your Pots fund and pitching their project idea at a public event, groups can showcase what they’re doing, get more people involved and build connections with other projects. And because the grants are decided by public vote, anyone who comes along to vote at the decision day in November will be making a big and immediate difference to some very worthwhile local projects.’
Jez Hall from Shared Future CIC, who is advising on the design of the project, said: ‘Pots of Possibility, and in particular the Your Pots fund, is an exciting and well proven way to put decision-making power into the hands of the residents of Lancaster District. To be able to choose where funding goes is a big responsibility, and, backed by the great team involved in Closing Loops, I’m confident the community will step up and it will be a great success.’
‘From long experience of seeing this participatory budgeting approach in other places, the impact can be genuinely surprising. It’s not just about money, but also the new connections that will be forged. Sharing ideas, working together, and trusting others is the beating heart of a strong community. And that local energy and passion is what we will work with, and grow, in Lancaster District.’
Notes to Editors
About Closing Loops
Closing Loops is a five-year £1.5 million project led by FoodFutures, North Lancashire’s sustainable food partnership. The scheme is delivered by six local organisations (LESS (Lancaster District) CIC, Lancaster District CVS, Eggcup, Global Link, Shared Future CIC and Scientists for Global Responsibility), and is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund. It is supported by a broad coalition of partners through the FoodFutures partnership and reports on project activity to the FoodFutures Working Groups.
Thanks to National Lottery players, the Closing Loop project will support community-led action and local initiatives to transform waste into a valuable resource, aiming to stimulate a zero-waste, circular and regenerative local economy. As part of this, £300,000 in small grants will be available through the Pots of Possibility fund to enable organisations and social enterprises in North Lancashire to develop creative ideas to help communities and the environment to flourish.
More information is available on the project website at https://foodfutures.org.uk/about-us/collaborative-projects/closing-loops/
About FoodFutures North Lancashire
FoodFutures North Lancashire is FoodFutures is North Lancashire’s award winning Sustainable Food Place initiative. It is made up of representatives from the local farming community, local food businesses, the public sector, Lancaster City Council, NGOs, community food groups and our local academic institutions.
This partnership of people from across North Lancashire’s food system are working together to create “A thriving local food system that is healthy, resilient and fair”. The partnership organises seasonal markets in Lancaster every three months.
About Lancaster District CVS
Lancaster District Community & Voluntary Solutions (LDCVS) was founded in 1972 as the Council of Community Service, an infrastructure organisation dedicated to supporting a growing community sector. Today, we guide, represent and support hundreds of organisations in the voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise (VCFSE) sector.
Our work focuses on building collaboration and partnerships between these organisations and with the statutory sector, providing advice on governance and funding, supporting community organisations to recruit and work with volunteers, providing high quality financial services, and administering grant programmes.
About The National Lottery Community Fund
We are the largest non-statutory community funder in the UK – community is at the heart of our purpose, vision and name.
We support activities that create resilient communities that are more inclusive and environmentally sustainable and that will strengthen society and improve lives across the UK.
We’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and to work closely with government to distribute vital grants and funding from key government programmes and initiatives.
As well as responding to what communities tell us is important to them, our funding is focused on four key missions, supporting communities to:
- Come together
- Be environmentally sustainable
- Help children and young people thrive
- Enable people to live healthier lives.
Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, we distribute around £500 million a year through 10,000+ grants and plan to invest over £4 billion of funding into communities by 2030. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.
National Lottery players raise over £30 million each week for good causes throughout the UK. Since The National Lottery began in 1994, £47 billion has been raised and more than 670,000 individual grants have been made across the UK – the equivalent of around 240 National Lottery grants in every UK postcode district.