Voluntary groups in Bicester have until 13 April to apply for the sixth round of SPARK funding.
Cherwell District Council has committed £40,000 in grant monies to the fund, which supports local organisations that promote culture, healthy lifestyles and community spirit.
Both new and established groups can apply for the funding, which is intended to benefit people of all ages and backgrounds by helping to sustain or extend the reach of long-term projects or undertake new ones.
As part of the Healthy New Town and Garden Town programmes running in Bicester, the SPARK fund is aimed at proposals which encourage neighbourliness, healthy lifestyles and sustainable living. Applications can also be submitted for arts, heritage and cultural projects. After the first five rounds of applications 13 community programmes have been supported.
FLTR Coffee, the community café in Langford Village, was among the organisation awarded the grant which helped them set up a board game night as a regular event for the community.
Jeff Lothamer, FLTR Coffee’s Head Navigator, said: “As a new business we couldn’t afford to put money towards games when there is so much expense needed in other areas. SPARK allowed us to follow our dreams to create something for the community sooner than we expected we would be able to.”
SPARK fund has been a game-changer for Merton Woodland Community Group, enabling them to improve the usability and the amenity value of the wood. The grant was invested in hiring a contractor for professional gardening and in buying tools for hazel coppicing and for the construction of woven hazel fences.
Fred Foxon, Chairman of Merton Community Woodland Group, said: “The management of the woodland has been improved significantly thanks to the Spark fund. As a result more people are benefiting from this green area and spending their leisure time here enjoying their picnics, walking or horse riding through the space.”
Cherwell will be administering the grants over a three-year period. The deadline for next round of applications is 13 April and a grant up to £1,000 can be requested.
Information and advice on how to apply as well as the application pack can be found at https://www.cherwell.gov.uk/info/206/bicester-developments/513/spark-funding or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org