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Grassroots Grants

Volume 495: debated on Wednesday 1 July 2009

8. What criteria her Department uses to allocate Grassroots grants to local community organisations. (283145)

The grassroots grants scheme is worth £130 million and provides small grants and endowments for local community groups. The beauty of the programme is that local communities make the funding decisions, based on local priorities. So far, almost 10,000 grants have been awarded, to the benefit of many organisations that had not benefited before. The criteria set by the Government are that the recipients are bona fide third sector organisations with an income below £30,000, that they meet the needs of the local community and that they are driven by committed local volunteers.

The number of children trafficked into Britain is increasing. The police cannot cope, and local authorities are finding that the children abscond from their homes. Why will the Government support local, voluntary and community groups more, as they can provide guardianship, legal advice and support for children in distress? I hope that the Minister does not mention the POPPY project, as that deals only with adults. Why are the Government not supporting voluntary and community effort more, when the public sector is failing?

I am not aware of any applications under the grassroots fund for the sort of organisations that the hon. Gentleman has referred to. However, the money in the grassroots fund has been well received, and we will be happy to look at applications from any organisation.