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Ward Councillor Empowerment Fund 2023-2026

Use this page for guidance on the Ward Councillors Empowerment Fund.

The Ward Councillor Empowerment Fund (WCEF) provides every ward councillor with £1,000 for 2024-25 and £1,000 for the following year, to address concerns or needs in their local communities.

Projects funded by the scheme have included public realm improvements, community and educational facilities, environmental projects and food banks. View previous projects on a map.

Only ward councillors can apply for funding. Councillors may pool their funds to work across wards for the benefit of the wider community. To qualify for funding, projects must address at least one of the council's corporate priorities, and demonstrate that they have local support.  

Read the key points and guidance notes before applying

1. Introduction

  • The WCEF aims to support local projects that address concerns or needs of a local area.
  • It provides pump priming for local-based projects either within a ward or across ward boundaries.
  • It supports voluntary and community organisations, parish and town councils, and other public sector partners in delivering council core priorities.
  • It encourages partnership working and helps build more sustainable communities.
  • All applications must demonstrate community support or support from local Parish Councils in their applications.
  • Funds can be pooled across a number of wards or the district. This collaborative approach is encouraged.

2. Criteria

  • Projects must meet at least one of the Council's corporate priorities which include addressing the climate emergency, delivering for local residents, focusing on prevention, and giving people a bigger say.
  • Projects should be supported by the local community, village, neighbourhood, Parish, or Town Council (where relevant).
  • Match funding or equivalent in-kind support (e.g., volunteer time) should be demonstrated whenever possible.
  • Projects should evidence need and demonstrate how they will address local priorities.
  • Community support and consultation should be evidenced.
  • A lead organisation with a valid bank account must be involved.
  • When a council service is delivering a project, evidence of agreement from the service area must be provided. The project should not impact on future revenue costs for the council unless this is allocated within the funding request.
  • Planning or licensing consents, if required, should be detailed in the application.

We are not able to fund:

  • individuals
  • medical research
  • solely for the use of running costs
  • political groups or activities promoting political beliefs
  • projects that have already been completed
  • promotion of any religion, faith, or belief

3. Project Costs

Details of all related project costs, including match funding or in-kind support (for example, volunteering hours valued at living wage) should be included in the application. Where a project has significant costs, such as design or project management these will have to be met from the project. Ensure all costs are considered and accounted for within the application.

4. Funding Allocation

  • Each Ward Councillor is allocated a total of £3,000 over three years from 2023 to 2026. £1,000 is available on 1 April 2023, 1 April 2024, and 1 April 2025.
  • Funding for years one and two can be rolled forward into the final year.
  • Ward Councillors can pool funds within the same ward or across wards as long as the project benefits those communities.

5. Application Process:

  • Applications must be submitted by the Ward Councillor.
  • More than one application can be submitted.
  • Consent from the recipient organisation or service area must be obtained before submitting the application.
  • Relevant Ward Councillors should be notified if the project spans a wide geographical area.
  • Additional information can be submitted along with the application.
  • The completed application must be submitted using the online form.

6. Deadline

All application forms must be submitted by 31 March 2026.

7. Decision Process

Applications will be processed within eight weeks of receipt. Once approved Ward Councillors will be notified by email, and details will be recorded on the Officer Decision Register. A confirmatory email will also be sent to the organisation.

If approval is not given, the Ward Councillor will be notified of the decision.

8. Terms and Conditions

  • Organisations benefit from WCEF Funding will be sent a grant agreement that sets out the terms and conditions of the funding. This must be completed and returned in full.
  • Funding will be transferred directly to the organisation’s bank account. The council will not issue a cheque. If projects are delivered by a coun
  • All projects are subject to monitoring. A written report on the project and valid receipts for funding expenditure must be provided.

Start your application