THE COMMUNITY BENEFIT FUND
The island is very fortunate in that a thriving member of our economic sector, MOWI (formerly Marine Harvest), generously made £10,000 per annum available for community purposes since 2017, to be administered by Colonsay Community Council in consultation with the donor. A sub-committee was formed and after much research it was concluded that the sum should form the basis of a Community Benefit Fund. The criteria governing that fund were circulated and were adopted at a public meeting on 13th July 2017. It should be noted that the criteria are, by design, quite wide and it is fully anticipated that they may be subject to modification in the light of experience; any such modification would be by the Community Council and agreed at a formal meeting, open to the public.
At the meeting on 13th July, it was accepted that all applications would be screened by a sub-committee of (ideally) twelve persons, working to a quorum of six; only one member of the sub-committee (the chair) is to be a Community Councillor and that person will change after each round of awards has been announced. The other eleven members will be volunteer members of the public who agree to give of their time, and a proportion of that number will also stand down after each tranche of awards. The sub-committee will solicit, receive and screen all applications, and will then submit recommendations to CCC for ratification or otherwise in consultation with Marine Harvest. The initial sub-committee consisted of Kevin Byrne (for CCC), with Richard Buttrick, Caitlin McNeill, Sue Dance, Chris Nisbet and Dannie Onn (all of whom provide continuity from the original group), to be joined by volunteers Seamus McNeill, Liz McNicholl, Keir Johnston, Rhona Robinson, Helen Mann and Gavin Clark. The names of additional volunteers will be recorded, so that they can be invited to serve on the next sub-committee.
The intention is that the process will be open, transparent and that in due course all willing members of the community will play a part in the administration of this fund. The basic structure is so designed that additional funds from other sources could be administered in the same way, should they become available.
This is a novel development in Colonsay and there will be lessons to be learned. Colonsay Community Council is most grateful to MOWI (formerly Marine Harvest) and to all those persons who have agreed to help in the establishment and administration of this undertaking. Applications for awards from the fund will normally be considered on a bi-annual basis, subject to the CGF Criteria and completion of the Application Form.
For convenience, the main core document (CGF Criteria) is reproduced below; it is followed by a further link to the Application Form. Comments and requests for further information were originally to be directed to Kevin Byrne (CCC) or Richard Buttrick (Sub-committee), although of course this detail changes over time. If you or your organisation wish to apply, please just get in touch with any Councillor as soon as possible; it is hoped to process all applications and to submit recommendations to CCC in consultation with MH on a rolling basis, in time for awards to be announced at Community Council meetings once or twice per year.
MOWI (originally Marine Harvest) gives an annual gift to the community on Colonsay & Oronsay, originallyt £10,000 per annum, which has risen to £14,000. This forms the basis of a "Common Good Fund", which has been since been renamed "Colonsay Community Benefit Fund", for projects that benefit the community on Colonsay & Oronsay. The CCC and Marine Harvest together have the task of selecting which projects should benefit from the Marine Harvest money.
The criteria, set out below, will be used to determine which projects should be funded. An application form is available from the current Secretary, Colonsay Community Council, or may be dowloaded from this site. Applications will be considered twice a year, i.e. approximately every six months, with the possiblity of special consideration of urgent applications should the need arise. Applications will be considered on their merits, and only projects meeting certain minimum requirements will be eligible.
A subcommittee of the CCC including councillors and other residents will consider applications and make recommendations to the CCC and MOWI (Marine Harvest) as to which projects to fund.
It will not be necessary for all the money to be allocated each year, and the CCC will be able to build a reserve of money for bigger projects. The CCC may be able to ask MOWI (Marine Harvest) for an advance of future annual gifts if a big project justifies spending more money than is currently available. The community would be consulted before such a request was made by the CCC to MOWI (Marine Harvest).
Successful applications may be funded subject to certain conditions, for example reporting back on the success of the project.
History of Common Good Funds. “The Common Good Funds” in Scotland date from the late 15th century and they have been identified as all "property of a Royal Burgh not acquired under statutory powers or held under specified trusts". Today they can be seen as resources which have been donated by either individuals or organisations, and are now used for the "public good" within a specified area. For technical reasons Colonsay has adopted a different name, Colonsay Community Benefit Fund.
The following criteria apply to all applications for financial assistance from the Colonsay Community Benefit Fund:-
1. The Community Benefit Fund will be administered with due regard to the interests of the inhabitants of Colonsay. Accordingly, applications must clearly demonstrate that the purpose of the grant is to provide a service or facility that will meet a local need or directly benefit the residents of Colonsay. The CCC and MOWI (Marine Harvest) must be satisfied that any and all monies from the Fund meet this requirement, and their decisions in this regard are full and final.
2. The Community Benefit Fund is not an alternative to mainstream Grants Schemes and normally applications to the Fund will only be considered once other sources of funding (where applicable) have been applied for and determined. The use of arrangements for “match funding ” is encouraged .
3. Subject to 1 and 2 above, applications will be considered from individuals and properly constituted voluntary or charitable organisations for funding towards ‘one-off' projects. Applications for routine operational costs will not normally be considered. Regular applications from organisations will only be considered where such applications form part of a defined development plan or growing project.
4. Applications will only be considered if they include a copy of the most recent audited or approved accounts of the organisation. Accounts can only be approved by someone independent of the applicant organisation. This person's name and address must be supplied. Organisations which do not have audited or approved accounts should provide such accounts as are available, so that the funding position of the organisation can be understood and assessed.
5. Applications will not normally be accepted in respect of projects on which work has already started, or in aid of expenditure towards which applicants have already made a commitment or paid.
6. Applications relating to a wider area than that covered by the Fund will not normally be considered unless the applicant can specify, to the satisfaction of the CCC and MOWI (Marine Harvest), how any grant will meet a local need or directly benefit residents of Colonsay.
7. Applicants must enclose, along with the completed application form, the following information (where applicable):
> A copy of the most recent audited or approved accounts (or similar alternative if audited or approved accounts are unavailable)
> Contractors' or suppliers' estimates
> A copy of the organisation's constitution
> Any planning or other consents (which must have been already obtained)
> A project plan, covering benefits of the project, why the money should be spent, how much money is needed, and what the money will be spent on, and how the benefits for the community on Colonsay will be sustainable.
All successful applicants will be required to complete an end-of-project to report, so that the CCC and MOWI (Marine Harvest) can see that monies awarded have been used appropriately, in accordance with the Fund criteria. The submitted information must outline the amount of funding, any matched funding, project details and outcomes, including the number and breakdown of people who benefitted from the award.
The form does not lend itself to reproduction here bu may be downloaded; it is very straightforward and quite simply requests the very basic information that will be required for an initial assessment of eligibility. If for any reason anyone cannot download and print the form, please contact any member of the Community Council for a hard copy. The Community Council is anxious to minimise unnecessary delay and to encourage expressions of interest.
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