Posted: 3.10.14 by

Big Lottery Fund has today awarded £804,916 to Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens (FCFCG) for a project to develop a hot-house for sustainable funding ideas for community growing initiatives across the UK.

Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens is a registered charity which supports, represents and promotes community-managed farms, gardens, allotments and other green spaces, creating opportunities for local communities to grow.

The Growing Together project is a new UK partnership of organisations that will promote the widespread uptake of innovative community enterprise, business and technical up-skilling and alternative funding approaches, such as community shares, digital income generation, supporting and inspiring a cultural shift within the community growing sector.

It will offer tailored support to provide community growing initiatives with the confidence, skills and knowledge they need to move from passive reliance on grants to a dynamic and balanced income model.

The project will provide support materials, training, networking opportunities, peer-to-peer learning and tailored support to promote new ways of raising project and operational funding, through social enterprise, crowdfunding, community share issues, commercial sponsorship, philanthropy and other innovative methods not currently prevalent in the sector.

Jeremy Iles, CEO of the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens, and (Acting) Chair of Growing Together said: “We are delighted that the Growing Together partnership has been awarded this funding. With the grant we will help community growing groups across the UK develop and diversify their incomes through community finance and social enterprise, which will in turn help secure the huge range of benefits they bring to their local communities.

“We want more people and communities to get Growing Together and this will help them do just that”.
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Peter Ainsworth, UK Chair of the Big Lottery Fund, added: “Since 2006 the Big Lottery Fund has invested over £350 million in a range of environmental initiatives across the UK. On top of this, many more projects benefiting the environment have been funded through our small and medium-sized grant programmes.

“The Growing Together project builds on the previous work supported by the Big Lottery Fund. Its aim to pool knowledge and resources from leading environmental and growing organisations fits well with our ambition to build on past programmes and share learning and best practice UK-wide. “

FCFCG is the lead partner of a steering committee with representation from The Plunkett Foundation, Groundwork UK, Permaculture Association, Funding Enlightened Agriculture and the Incredible Edible Network. Smaller country specific groups will oversee delivery in the four countries of the UK.

Growing Together has developed its ideas and strategy during 2013 with initial funding from NESTA (GT Phase I). This worked with 23 pilot projects exploring how innovative funding mechanisms can benefit community growing across England. GT Phase II now seeks to up-scale that work and engage new partners to reflect the four national contexts across the UK.

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