Community Ownership Fund – Round 3

Please see below for update on Round 3.

Round 3 Window 2 will open on 30 August 2023 and will close at 11.59am (midday) on 11 October 2023.

We have extended the maximum capital funding available to new applicants from Round 3 Window 2 onwards. Applicants are now able to apply for up to £2 million in capital funding. For further details please read the prospectus.

The funding is intended to support communities in all parts of the United Kingdom to purchase community assets and amenities and run them as sustainable community businesses.

A list of successful bids from the first funding round have been published on GOV.UK website.

The Community Ownership Fund has a total value of £150 million over a four year period.

The Fund will contribute up to 50% of the total capital required.

Applicants can apply for a blend of capital and revenue funding:

  • Capital funding to take ownership (including the acquisition of the building; refurbishment costs alongside a sale or a transfer). Up to £250,000 match-funded capital will be available for all eligible asset types. Exceptionally bidders will be able to make the case for up to £1 million match-funding to help establish a community-owned sports club or help buy a sports club or ground at risk of being lost without community intervention.
  • Revenue funding to support the running costs of the project, ie for legal fees, general costs including utilities, staffing costs, or costs associated with appointing external consultants such as architects or other specialist support. This does not need to be matched.
  • Revenue funding request cannot be more than 20% of the capital funding request or £50,000, whichever is smaller. This is also applied to sporting assets applying for up to £1 million capital funding.
  • Two types of revenue funding are available:
  1. Pre-acquisition support – this will be awarded alongside the main capital grant to cover feasibility studies, professional services and business support in establishing the asset.
  2. Post-acquisition support – this will be awarded alongside the main capital grant to support organisations to manage cash flow in the first year of operation

Applicants are required to provide at least 50% of their total project costs from other sources.

Eligible sources of match funding will include funding from:

  • Public bodies.
  • Devolved administrations.
  • Charitable trusts.
  • National Lottery funders.
  • Community shares.
  • Social investors.
  • Other lenders.

The following ‘in-kind’ match funding (otherwise known as ‘non-cash’ match funding) will also count as an eligible source of match funding:

  • Donations of goods.
  • Buildings or professional services, including from:
  • Individuals.
  • Community groups.
  • Funders.
  • Businesses.

Applicants are not required to have all match funding sources secured at the time of project application.

Applications will be accepted from voluntary and community organisations from all parts of the United Kingdom who have a viable plan for taking ownership of a community asset at risk and running it sustainably for community benefit.

To be eligible, the applicant must be an incorporated organisation which is set up to deliver charitable purpose, social purpose or public benefit. Eligible organisation types include:

  • Charitable incorporated organisation (CIO).
  • Scottish charitable incorporated organisation (SCIO).
  • Co-operatives including Community Benefit Societies.
  • Community Interest Company (CiC).
  • Not-for-profit company limited by guarantee.

To be eligible for investment from the Fund, the terms of community ownership must be either the ownership of the freehold or a long-term leasehold of at least 15 years with reasonable break clauses.

Assets with leaseholds of 25 years and no early break clauses are preferred as applicants will find it easier to demonstrate the long-term sustainability of the asset in community hands.

Proposals will need to prove the value of the asset to local people and that the asset can run sustainably for the long-term benefit of the community. Projects could include (but are not limited to):

  • Community centres.
  • Sporting and leisure facilities.
  • Cinemas.
  • Theatres.
  • Music venues.
  • Museums.
  • Galleries.
  • Parks.
  • Pubs.
  • Post office buildings.
  • Shops.

To be eligible for funding, applicants must demonstrate that the community asset they want to save fulfils the following criteria:

There is a risk of loss without community intervention

Risk might be from closure, sale, neglect and dereliction under current ownership, or unsustainable operations under the current business model. Applicants need to demonstrate the nature of the risk facing the asset. This will include evidence that without community intervention the asset or amenity would be lost to the community.

Community value

Applicants will need to show the contribution of the asset to their community including to the social wellbeing or cultural, recreational or sporting interests of the local place.

Community use

The asset will be used and accessed by the community or have had a community use in the recent past, which applicants will need to evidence in their application.

Long-term sustainability

Applicants will be required to demonstrate a clear plan for how the asset can be sustainable in community ownership in the long-term.

Applicants who have been unsuccessful are encouraged to apply again in a future round.

How To Apply

Organisations can make an Expression of Interest at any time. If they are successful, they will be invited to submit a full application, which they do not have to do immediately. Applicants should check the bidding window timings for the full application stage in the Fund prospectus.

Round 3 Window 2 will open on 30 August 2023 and will close at 11.59am (midday) on 11 October 2023.

Guidance documents and application forms are available from the GOV.UK website.

Skip to content