Organisations in Bath and North East Somerset that support residents with the ongoing cost of living crisis can now apply for grants of up to £500.

The B&NES Community Contribution Fund offers residents the chance to pay into a good causes fund to help local charity, community and voluntary groups to reduce inequalities in the area.

 Residents have been donating to this year’s fund since April 2023 and the total currently stands at £8,724.32.  All monies raised will fund cost of living projects and are not used to supplement council services.

Applications for the grants can now be made by any charity, voluntary or community organisation that is not for profit, including parish councils and helps people with:

  • Access to food, including providing free or low-cost food, community meals, food vouchers, cooking equipment or food skills initiatives
  • Warm Spaces, where groups are incurring additional costs through offering their space
  • Any other community initiatives that relate to helping with the cost of living challenge.

For Warm Spaces applications, organisations must have registered their Warm Space on the council’s directory and agreed to the Warm Spaces Charter.

The Warm Spaces Directory is co-ordinated by Bath & North East Somerset Council and currently lists 29 spaces across the district which welcome people struggling with the cost of living and energy costs.

Organisations can apply by completing the online form. The deadline is February 16, 2024.  Applications will be assessed and final approval on awarding grants will be given by a panel of councillors.

 Only one application per organisation will be accepted.

Residents wishing to donate to the Community Contribution Fund can do so on the council website.

Libraries across Bath and North East Somerset are also offering a warm welcome to residents where they can access free Wi-Fi, browse books and download eMagazines and eAudiobooks.  There is also information available on how to save energy at home and how to find advice on money matters, benefits, jobs, wellbeing services and food support.

Councillor Mark Elliott, cabinet member for Resources, said: “We are delighted that residents have continued to make voluntary donations to this good causes fund.  We want to use it again this winter to support the vital services our local, not for profit organisations provide to the most vulnerable in our communities.  Thank you to everyone who has made a donation to the fund this year.  Anyone who feels they are able to donate can do so and be reassured that the money will support local people who need it.”

The Community Contribution Fund was set up in 2021 to offer residents the chance to help local groups to reduce inequalities in the area and £39,959.32 has been raised to date.  Of this, £31,235.00 has already been distributed to local voluntary and community organisations through grant schemes.

Any contribution is separate from Council Tax, and people can contribute more than once. The minimum contribution is £5, and there is no maximum.