Lewisham Council is investing £10 million into volunteer groups and projects which address the impact of development on residents throughout the borough.

A funding package approved by the mayor and cabinet commits nearly £3 million of neighbourhood community infrastructure levy (NCIL), which is charged on new developments, to community infrastructure projects.

Another £7 million will be given to voluntary and community groups over the next three years through the council’s main grants programme.

Cllr Kim Powell, cabinet member for business and community wealth building, said: “We have a proud record of investing in our local communities, even when faced with the challenges of austerity and central government cuts.

This Is Local London: Lewisham CouncilLewisham Council

“By involving our local communities in decisions around NCIL funding, residents will get a real say on the investment they want to see in their local area and the community projects that will benefit them most.

“Our voluntary and community sector has been vital in supporting local residents throughout the pandemic and I am delighted that we will continue to fund them through our Main Grants Programme.

“We know many local groups are still facing significant financial pressures, so the new community fundraising team will be vital in helping them access additional external funding and ensure Lewisham’s voluntary and community sector continues to thrive.”

Each of Lewisham’s 18 wards will receive their own pot of NCIL funding, based on the amount of new development in the area and level of deprivation.

The council claims it is the first local authority to allocate funding on this basis, ensuring a fair distribution across the borough whilst tackling inequality.

Residents in each ward have already identified priorities for their area through a consultation process involving over 13,000 people.

Applications will open later this month, with residents ultimately deciding what projects go ahead at local assembly meetings once bids have been submitted and reviewed.

A recommendation will be made to mayor and cabinet for approval, with project delivery expected to commence from March 2022.

The council’s main grants programme was also renewed for 2022-25, following consultation with voluntary and community groups.

More than £7 million in grant funding will be given out over the next three years, with local groups set to receive £2.36 million each year to support their work in the community.

A new team of community fundraisers will be funded through the programme to assist local organisations.

The programme will focus on three key priorities, "an economically sound future, a healthy and well future, and a future that we all have a part in."

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