Central Bedfordshire Council is launching a new grant scheme to help local charities and voluntary groups supporting people in poverty to continue to deliver their services in the face of rising costs.

Grants of between £2,000 to £10,000 are available, with a total of £120,000 available, which can be used towards an organisation’s increased running costs for the next year.

Cllr Tracey Stock, Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Communities, said: “Rising costs affect everyone, including charities and voluntary groups who do so much to deliver valued services for our residents. Which is why I’m delighted to announce our latest grant scheme for the voluntary sector. I hope that groups and organisations throughout Central Bedfordshire who meet the criteria, will apply for a grant to offset some of the additional financial pressures that they are experiencing, and enable them to continue with their good work. In effect, we want to help the helpers.”

The one-off grant can be used to fund increases in staff costs; utilities such as energy costs; rent; food and drink; increased transport costs and other running costs that have risen significantly.

Cllr Stock added: “There is a lot of support and advice for individuals worried about the rising cost of living, but this extra support for local community and voluntary groups means we can help bolster that support by supporting the people already there on the ground, doing great work.”

Local community organisations and charities with an annual income of less than £600,000 can find the full eligibility criteria on the council’s website by searching for ‘voluntary community grants’. The grant scheme opens on Wednesday 1 February and the deadline for applications is 5pm on 10 March 2023.

The Council has set up a dedicated information hub for anyone concerned about the cost of living. This includes information about funding for vulnerable residents to help with food, energy and water bills and other wider essentials and a network of warm spaces across Central Bedfordshire for people to use when the temperatures drop.

Details of the grant can be found at: https://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/info/42/stronger_communities/678/community_grants/2

For advice on support with the cost of living go to: https://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/info/165/support_with_the_cost_of_living