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Do you want to help make Portsmouth a great place to live, work and play? People with an idea to improve their local community can raise money to make changes with the support of Portsmouth City Council.

The council is looking for ‘neighbourhood champions’ – people and community groups who can see ways to change their local area for the better – to raise money for good causes in their local communities. And the good news is that all eligible crowdfund projects are match funded for half of their project, up to the value of £5000.

Cllr Hugh Mason, Cabinet Member for Planning Policy & City Development, said: “If you’re the kind of person or community group that wants to take control of your local area and raise money for positive change, we need you. Maybe there’s a community facility, like a sports pitch, in need of an upgrade, or you have an idea for a neighbourhood event that will bring people together. All you need to do is get your crowdfunder started and you could secure a pledge of up to £5,000 from the CIL Transformation Fund”

The scheme is called the CIL Transformation Fund and has been developed in partnership with Crowdfunder UK. The money comes from the Community Infrastructure Levy fund (CIL), which allows local authorities in England and Wales to raise funds from developers who are undertaking new building projects in their area. Projects locally already benefit from this fund, the difference now is that communities can raise more money by crowdfunding and receiving match funding.

Crowdfunder CEO, Rob Love said “We’re delighted to partner with the council in this way: using CIL funding to help the people of Portsmouth make positive changes to the city and the community. We’ve already seen some really great projects in the city as part of Crowdfund Portsmouth and know that this significant extra funding delivers real opportunity to turn great ideas from local people into reality. With our crowdfunding expertise and the match funding from the council, we’re excited to help create an even brighter future for Portsmouth and we look forward to supporting projects as they make an impact.””

Projects that are eligible for match funding must have community backing, have a wide public benefit and be accessible to everyone in the community.

Projects and schemes that can fall within the funding bracket include planting schemes, open space improvements to sports facilities and parks, public art, street furniture such as benches or tree planters, highways safety infrastructure like zebra crossings, and equipment for a community group.

Landport Community Centre recently successfully secured funding towards extensive refurbishment along with making the building safer and more accessible for everyone. The changes meant a group of young people with disabilities could take part in work training including café management and IT support with Enable Ability.

The centre also ran a meal delivery scheme which delivered up to 100 meals a day during the first lockdown and is still helping people in need.

Centre manager Alan Jenkins says: “Receiving CIL funding has meant we can reach so many more people in our community, through our work training, supporting people with disabilities, and community outreach throughout the pandemic. It’s been a real game changer for our community centre. If you have an idea, get involved and tap into the amazing ideas and resources we have locally. If you haven’t got an idea yet, get your thinking cap on!”

If you’d like to be part of the CIL transformation fund, you can send any questions to CIL@portsmouthcc.gov.uk. You can also read more on the website: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/funds/portsmouth-cil-fund