A new way of funding community projects in West Sussex has launched where contributions can be made through a crowdfunding website.
Groups have already started to register ideas on to West Sussex Crowd, which is hosted on Spacehive, including a campaign to save a cycle path, a project to rescue surplus food and deliver it to those in need and an inclusive music festival.
West Sussex County Council is making £330,000 of Community Initiative Fund available a year to pledge to projects on the site.
This will replace its previous funding initiatives including the Small Grants Fund and the Members’ Big Society Fund, but is half of what was previously available for community projects last year.
Debbie Kennard, cabinet member for safer, stronger communities, said: “This is a really exciting time for groups and projects in West Sussex.
“If you have an idea which will benefit your community, whether it’s a renovation project, a festival or even equipment for a club, then upload it to West Sussex Crowd.
“Groups have already put started using the site and I hope we will see many more crowdfunding campaigns launch on there soon.”
The cut to grant funding was criticised by Lib Dem Francis Oppler back in December where he expressed ‘deep reservations’ about the new systems.
Then in February members of the Environment, Community and Fire Select Committee backed a pause to the scheme’s introduction in order to receive more information.
However Mrs Kennard ‘ignored’ the committee’s recommendation and described how the council needed to ‘act promptly to ensure that our community has the greatest possible opportunity to access a wide range of potential financial support’.
Lib Dems later criticised an ‘outrageous’ five per cent administration charge levied by Spacehive on top of the yearly fee paid by the county council to the private company.
A number of free events for groups with project ideas who would like to start crowdfunding will run during May, with places needed to be booked online.
• Mid Sussex Community Workshop, Monday May 14, 10am-12pm book here
• Chichester Community Workshop, Tuesday May 15, 9.30-11.30am book here
• Horsham Community Workshop, Thursday May 17, 10am-2pm book here
• Crawley Community Workshop, Thursday May 17, 2-4pm book here
• Arun Community Workshop, Friday May 18, 10am-12pm book here
• Adur/Worthing Community Workshop, Friday May 18, 2-4pm book here
Those who have a project idea but are unable to attend an event are encouraged to register for this free webinar:
• Spacehive’s Webinar: How to run an awesome crowdfunding campaign, Wednesday April 25, 12-1pm click here
A formal launch event will take place on Wednesday May 9 from 5.30-7pm at St. Paul’s in Worthing.
To find out more and to upload your project to West Sussex Crowd, visit the website.
For queries about getting started or to discuss project ideas email firstname.lastname@example.org