COMMUNITY groups across the North East can, from today (Saturday June 11), bid for a new tranche of levelling up funding.

Applications are invited from groups and organisations seeking to takeback control of pubs, music venues, sports facilities, and historic buildings for the benefit of the public.   

They will be able to bid for a share of the Government’s £150m Community Ownership Fund to rescue cultural buildings in their area that could otherwise be lost forever, as the second round of funding is now open.    

The first round of funding has already helped local people transform their communities into a more desirable place to live, work and visit, supporting 39 projects across the UK and four projects in the North East.

This included £300,000 for the NEH hub in North Shields, which provides hot meals, showering facilities and a community café to those who are homeless and vulnerable in the local area.

Without the funding from the Community Ownership Fund, the building was at risk of being sold to developers.

Changes announced at the end of May, will ensure the scheme is more inclusive and flexible, so more communities can benefit from the transformative fund.

Read more: County Durham village may benefit from £20m levelling up funds  

Levelling Up Minister Neil O’Brien MP said: “Pubs, community centres, sports clubs and historical building are often the lifeblood of local communities, providing spaces to bring local people closer together.

“The Community Ownership Fund will continue to level up communities up and down the country and I encourage local people from the North East to bid for the projects they love.”

The fund has been updated to widen eligibility criteria, including removing the requirement that assets have had a use within the last five years and will now consider any asset which has had a previous community use, massively expanding the projects eligible to apply.

Applicants who have a minimum of a 15-year lease on an asset would now also be considered for funding.

Previously, leases were restricted to a minimum of 25 years. 

Today’s announcement is part of the Government’s stated aim to level up local communities across the country, create more jobs, boost businesses and build up local economies as a result.

Details of how to go about applying are available on the Community Ownership Fund section of, under the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.  

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