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Opening the Community Chest brightens Cornwall’s Christmas

If your family likes a board game such as Monopoly to play at Christmas, you’ll know only too well that one of the most rewarding squares to land on is ‘Community Chest’.

That’s also the case for Cornwall’s voluntary and community groups, who can apply for Community Chest grants of between £100 and £1,000 to help with worthwhile projects in their area.

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It couldn’t be easier - simply contact your local Cornwall Councillor (find phone or email here on our find your councillor page) to ask whether an application is likely to be supported, and to check that adequate funds are available. Then follow the online instructions in our Community Grant Guidance Notes.

Each Cornwall Councillor is responsible for these small grant allocations to assist projects in the areas they represent.

To illustrate the range and flavour of these Community Chest grants, here are just a few funded projects from this year that will be bringing some Christmas cheer to their neighbourhoods:

  • Threemilestone Community Centre will receive £500 to place and decorate a Christmas Tree to ‘bring pleasure to the residents of Threemilestone, particularly children, as part of our aims to enhance the environment around the Centre and village.’
  • The harbour village of Mevagissey received £599 for its Christmas lights, an annual fundraising effort by local people, which ‘benefits all the community bringing in visitors.’
  • £372 was provided for Bethel Lunch Club to plan a special Christmas Dinner for up to 35 elderly local residents.
  • The Wheal Martyn Museum laid on a China Clay pensioner’s annual party with bingo, raffle and entertainment, followed by a pasty and cream tea buffet. A Community Chest grant of £491 helped to make this a happy event.
  • Wadebridge Community Pantomime , a production by the town’s own theatre company and the Town Council. The poster described it as ‘A swashbuckling evening of laughter, slapstick, songs and shenanigans.’
  • Bodmin Autism Friendly Grotto, a specially designed treat for children who react badly to sensory overload. This popular idea is supported by local businesses and volunteers.
  • The Drop in and Share (DISC) centre in Newquay - Christmas Crackers, providing new socks and underwear for people who find themselves homeless and in need of dry clothing

This is just a selection of the many projects to receive Community Chest grants during 2019.

Although the examples above all have a Christmas flavour, the grants apply all year round for all sorts of community groups and activities, including helping vulnerable children or adults, young people, providing facilities for older people, supporting community facilities, local environment projects and helping to tackle community safety issues.

Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Neighbourhoods, Edwina Hannaford, says: “So often the best and most meaningful services grow from the grass roots. Cornwall Councillors are always here to encourage good ideas within their own communities, and these grants are a way of allowing little bits of kindness to flourish.”

Leader of Cornwall Council Julian German says: “At Cornwall Council we often make decisions involving big strategic projects and large amounts of money. So it is good to be reminded that small is beautiful. These Community Chest grants provide help for modest events and schemes that bring a great deal of pleasure. Perhaps you know of a community idea that could do with some seed funding. Contact your Cornwall Councillor soon to apply.”

The closing date for completed applications for next year’s grants is 14 February 2020, but you can make an application at any time until the closing date. It is best to apply as soon as possible, as funding is limited. Full Guidelines for the scheme are available in the Community Grant Guidance Notes.

More details are available from Cornwall Council’s Localism team, and there is information about your own area on the individual community network pages.