Ward Committee Grant Aid - Guidance for Applicants
Each Ward Committee in Newcastle has a small budget to fund projects that benefit people in the ward. These notes explain how to apply for this money.
Applications are only accepted from ‘not for profit organisations’ such as:
- community groups
- voluntary organisations
- businesses limited by guarantee with charitable aims and objectives
- community interest companies
- social enterprises
Organisations must be able to show that they have:
- An elected management committee that meets on a regular basis, or that general meetings are held on a regular basis.
- A document describing how they are governed (e.g. constitution, memorandums and articles of association).
- An equal opportunities statement or an equalities and diversity policy. This may be contained within a governing document.
- Their own bank account with at least two unrelated signatories, who do not live at the same address.
- Funding must go directly to the bank account of the organisation who are applying for the grant – we cannot pay money to another organisation to manage on your behalf.
- Systems enabling them to manage their finances (e.g. keeping accurate records and making sure accounts are examined or audited depending on the nature and size of the organisation).
- Practices and procedures for any paid employers and volunteers which conform to legislation on employment, health and safety, racial and sexual discrimination, disability discrimination and age discrimination.
- Clear procedures on how they safeguard the welfare of children, young people, and vulnerable adults. This includes taking steps to ensure that paid staff and volunteers working with vulnerable adults, children, and/or young people as part of the project are appropriately vetted.
- Sufficient insurance cover in place for relevant risks – e.g. theft, fire, employer’s and public liability and third party damages.
To apply, you need to fill in a Ward Committee Grant Aid Application Form.
For your application to be successful you will need to be able to show us that your project:
- Will benefit people in the ward or wards you are applying to.
- Will be open to all. We do fund projects that are to benefit particular groups, for example women or young people but the project should be available to all members of that group.
- Is supported by people in the local community.
- Is good value for money.
- Is suitable to receive public funding (i.e. not contradict any City Council policy or other legislation).
- Helps to achieve one or more of the Council’s overall aims and objectives. These are:
- Employment – creating more and better jobs
- Education and Skills – the best learning opportunities for all
- Environment – a clean, green, safe Newcastle
- Health and Social Care – a healthy, caring City
- Housing – building more, and better, homes
- Fits in with any priorities the ward you are applying to has agreed. More information about the ward priorities can be found on the ward funding web page.
Ward Committees will not give grants for:
- Projects or activities which are designed to promote religion, or where people have to take part in religious activities to benefit.
- Projects which have already taken place or items or services which have already been purchased by the applicant before their completed application has been received and logged by the Council. Organisations should be aware that if they spend any money before a decision is made on their application it is at their own risk.
- Projects or activities which directly support any political party or activities that could reasonably be seen as promoting a political party.
- Projects that campaign to persuade people to take a particular point of view on a question of law or public policy. This does not prevent projects which seek to inform and raise awareness as long as this is done in a neutral way and does not promote a particular point of view. (This does not affect organisations' rights to run campaigns using other sources of funding).
- Citywide projects. Applications can only be made to up to 4 wards for any particular project. These wards need not be neighbouring (i.e. share common boundaries) but you must be able to show how your project will benefit people in the wards you are applying to.
- Projects that involve giving cash payments to individuals (e.g. giving cash payments to people as part of a Christmas party).
The smallest amount you can apply for is £150. This figure applies to the total amount applied for, so for example, an application for £150 could be divided between four wards with each granting £37.50.
There is not a set maximum amount you can apply for. Individual ward committees may set a maximum amount they are prepared to give to a single application. The amount ward committees can give is also limited by the amount of funds they have remaining in their budgets at the time they consider the application. Details of the amount of money available in each ward and whether any limits have been set by the ward committee can be obtained from the Ward Committee Funding web page or the relevant Communities Officer
You should apply to the wards where the people who will benefit live.
Apply to one ward if you can show that most of the people who will benefit live in this ward. If the people who will benefit are in more than one ward you should apply to all of the wards where they live (up to 4). You can apply to up to four Ward Committees. The amount you apply for should be proportionate to the number of people benefiting in each ward. So, if half the people benefiting live in one ward you should apply to that Ward Committee for half the money, and so on. Most of the people who are expected to benefit from your project must come from the ward(s) you are applying to. The form asks you to provide information about:
- which ward, or wards, you are applying to
- how much money you are applying for
- how the people in the ward, or wards you are applying to will benefit from your project.
For advice about where to apply and for how much please contact your Communities Officer.
- If possible we like to see a list of postcodes for people who will benefit. If you are applying to more than one ward we can use this list to divide the application between the wards.
- We store lists of postcodes securely and only use them to identify the wards where people live.
- If you can’t provide a list of postcodes please fill in the box to explain how your project will benefit people in the ward or wards you are applying to. This could be:
- An explanation of how you would target residents in the ward you are applying to (for example you could tell us how you will inform people about your project)
- An explanation of how funding would raise awareness of a particular organisation or project (e.g. for publicity advertising services or inviting new members)
- Details of how equipment being funded would be used by residents in a certain area (e.g. play equipment which would mainly be used by children in the ward or wards you are applying to)
- Even if you are applying to more than one ward you only fill in one application form.
- We know it can be difficult to work out which wards you should apply to. If you would like help with this please contact your Communities Officer before you complete the application form. If you have postcodes you can check which ward they are in by visiting the My Neighbourhood section of the website.
- The important thing is where the people who will benefit from the project live. This may be different to the membership of your group or where your group is based.
- We cannot accept applications for citywide projects but this does not prevent citywide or even national organisations from applying as long as they can demonstrate that their project will be specifically targeted at and will benefit people who live in up to four wards.
Make sure you include all relevant paperwork with your application form. If you don’t include this your application will be delayed. Scanned copies or photos of documents are fine but they must be clear and readable.
To help you do this a checklist is provided with the application form. You should make sure that everything on this list needed for your application is included. The information required is:
We can only fund formally constituted groups and will need a copy of your constitution or governing document. This is a document that has been formally adopted by your organisation that sets out how you are governed. The most common types of documents are a constitution or Articles and Memorandum of Association but the exact type of document will depend on the your legal structure. We keep these on file so if you have provided them with an earlier application there is no need to send them again unless it has changed.
Equal opportunities statement or equalities and diversity policy
You must have an equal opportunities statement or an equalities and diversity policy. If you do not have either of these, we will ask you to adopt one as part of the conditions of your grant. If you need help with this please talk to your Communities Officer.
Organisations applying for grant aid from the council who work with children or vulnerable adults must have an appropriate safeguarding or child protection policy and have robust safeguarding or child protection arrangements in place which set out the organisation's commitment to protecting children and/or vulnerable adults. You must review your safeguarding or child protection policy at least every two years. It is your responsibility to ensure that all staff and volunteers working for the organisation or project to be funded must be fully briefed on the organisation's safeguarding or child protection policy and should receive appropriate training at least every two years.
You will be asked for a copy of your up to date safeguarding or child protection policy as proof that your organisation agrees to the above terms in order to access council funding.
A vulnerable adult is someone who:
• is aged over 18
• may need care services because of mental, physical or learning disability, age or illness
• cannot always protect themselves from harm.
If you need help or advice please contact your Communities Officer.
Note on Safeguarding Training
Safeguarding training for community and voluntary groups is offered by the Newcastle Children's Safeguarding Board . Newcastle Council for Voluntary Service (NCVS) also offer support and guidance.
If you need help or advice about this please contact your Communities Officer.
Vetting of Staff and Volunteers
Certain types of work with children and vulnerable adults are classed as "Regulated Activities" and people who are barred from such activity must not be involved with those activities. Further information about this can be found on the Disclosure and Barring Service web site which has a number of guidance leaflets you can download. If you are carrying out regulated activities it is your responsibility to ensure that your staff and volunteers are appropriately DBS checked to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults.
Risk Assessments and Event Manuals
If you are applying for funding for a trip or to hold an event or activities which will be attended by members of the public you will need to provide risk assessment information. The purpose of this is to demonstrate that you are aware of the risks that could affect people taking part in your project and that you have taken appropriate measures to reduce these risks or to respond if they do occur. The Councils web site has more information about this, including an example of a risk assessment form.
If you are organising a large outdoor event on council land, private land or the public highway (such as a sports day, barbecue or fun day). You will need to ensure that you have the necessary permissions in place and that you have an event plan. More information can be found on the Council's web site.
The following information should be attached to every application:
You must have sufficient insurance cover in place for all relevant risks. The type of cover needed will depend on what you are planning to do but public liability insurance would be needed in most cases. The form asks about your insurance cover and a copy of your current insurance documents showing that the cover is in place should be included with every application .
A copy of a recent (less than three months old) bank statement must be attached to every application. The statement must include the name of the bank, name of the account, account number and sort code. A download is fine if you bank online.
Decisions about whether or not to fund applications are made by the three Ward Councillors who make up the Ward Committee for the ward. If you are applying to more than one ward each ward will consider your application separately so you may be informed of the decisions from each ward at different times. There are two ways in which decisions are made:
Ward Committee Meetings
In the past applications were normally considered at Ward Committee meetings. Ward Committees generally only meet once a year now so most applications are considered by the written process described below. Some applications are still considered at a ward committee meetings . If your application is being discussed at a meeting you may be asked to come to the meeting to talk about your application and answer any questions.
Ward committees usually only meet once a year so most decisions are made by a written process so that applicants don't have to wait for a meeting before they get a decision on their application. These are also called "delegated decisions" or "DD's". You will not normally be asked to attend a meeting but you may be contacted and asked to provide additional information to help Councillors make a decision about your application.
You should aim to submit your completed application, together with the necessary supporting documents at least 28 days before the funding is required. As the year goes on budgets get spent so we would urge you to put in your application as soon as possible.
If a decision is made at a ward committee meeting you will normally hear if your application has been successful at the meeting. Shortly after the ward committee we will write to you to say how much money you will receive and notify you of any conditions the ward committee have set. If the decisions is made outside of the ward committee meeting we will write to you to inform you of the decision within a few days of the decision being made.
Payment of grants is by transfer directly to your bank account. The transfer will usually take place within a week of you receiving the letter notifying you of the decision.
If you have received a grant of over £500 you will also receive a monitoring form with your decision letter so you can keep this and fill it in as you run your project.
If your application has been unsuccessful you will hear at the ward committee meeting along with the reason why you have not received funding. If your application has been considered outside of the ward committee you will be notified of the decision and the reasons for it, in writing, shortly after the decision has been made.
You can contact your Communities Officer for advice about other sources of funding that may be available to you.
We measure how successful ward committee grant aid has been. Every organisation receiving grant aid must complete and return a monitoring form if requested to do so. Monitoring forms will be requested for all grants of over £500. If your grant is less than £500 you will only need to submit a monitoring form if requested.
The application form asks you to explain how you would know if your project is successful and how you would demonstrate this. This will depend on the sort of project you are running. For example if you were running a community clean up you might consider your project successful if 10 people took part and the streets looked cleaner afterwards. You could demonstrate this with a list of people who took part and some before and after photos. We will ask you to provide this evidence with your monitoring form.
You will receive a monitoring form with the letter telling you your application has been successful – this is so you can fill this in as you run your project.
The form asks for the following information:
- Details of how the grant has been spent
- Confirmation that all of the grant has been spent
- Details of how the organisation has benefited from the grant
- Invoices and/or receipts for all purchases
- Evidence that shows whether your project was successful
When you are spending your grant make sure ask for receipts and keep them safe. You will need to send these with your monitoring form.
You should send in your monitoring form and receipts as soon as possible once your project is completed. If we have not already received them we will send you a reminder 28 days after the completion date for your project to ask you to return your monitoring form and receipts. You must send these back as soon as possible –You cannot apply for any more grant aid if your monitoring form from any of your previous grants is overdue.
If we still don’t receive a completed monitoring form and receipts after reasonable attempts have been made then future applications from your organisation will not be considered and we might ask you to pay back the grant.
You must spend your grant for the purpose it was given for. This will normally be the project you described on your application form but sometimes Councillors may also specify conditions on how the money is to be used. If there are any changes to your plans, for example if an event has to be cancelled, or the costs of items are different to your original estimates, you must tell us immediately. You should do this by contacting your Communities Officer.
We will not normally refuse permission to spend the money in a different way if the overall aims of the project are not being changed. If you want to do something significantly different to what you applied for the ward committee will have to consider your request and in some cases you may be asked to submit a new application for consideration.
You must not spend your grant money for anything other than the agreed purposes until you have received confirmation that the ward committee have agreed to the variation. If you spend the money for different purposes than those agreed by the ward committee you may be asked to pay back the grant.
There is no appeal against decisions of the ward committee but if you have any concerns about the process then you should contact your Communities Officer or, alternatively, the Communities Team Manager to discuss your concerns.
If this doesn’t resolve the problem, you can make a formal complaint in writing. This will be investigated by a senior manager in accordance with the Council’s complaints procedure.
You can contact the Local Government Ombudsman (0845 602 1983) about the handling of your complaint at any time.
You can also raise concerns under procedures relating to the voluntary sector compact (see below). In addition, the council operates a policy for confidential reporting of concerns (‘whistleblowing’).
Information about these procedures can be obtained from the City Council’s Complaints Officer on 0191 211 5116 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Voluntary Sector Compact
The relationship between the council and the voluntary and community sector is governed by the Compact and the supporting codes of practice.
For further information contact:
Newcastle Council for Voluntary Service – 0191 232 7445 or by email email@example.com
What if the council has concerns about an organisation?
If you have financial problems or other difficulty that may affect your grant, you should tell the council about the situation and any action you are taking as soon as possible.
If the council becomes aware of any problems, it will formally notify you in writing.
In both cases, the Council’s lawyers and auditors will be consulted to decide what action needs to be taken.
Who can be contacted for further information?
If you have any questions about the ward grant aid process please contact us by e mail - firstname.lastname@example.org
Other Sources of Funding
General funding advice, information and support is available from Newcastle Council for Voluntary Service (NCVS).