FAQs for prospective applicants
1. Who can apply to the Levelling Up Together Fund?
All grant money is to be spent in the following areas:
- Barton and Tredworth
- Matson and Robinswood
- Kingsholm and Wotton
- St. Mark's
- St. Paul's
Within these areas only, applications are invited from:
- Community or voluntary groups
- Registered Charities
- Community Interest Companies and Social Enterprises
- Town and Parish Councils
- Sports groups and associations
- Schools and Academies
- Religious Groups where the application demonstrates that the project will bring wider community benefit and the primary purpose of the activity is not religious
- Non-public sector organisations where the application demonstrates that the funding will benefit/level up a Gloucestershire community
Please note: businesses are eligible to apply providing they clearly demonstrate how they will evidence a contribution in kind, for example, by match funding.
2. Can schools and academies apply?
Schools and academies are eligible to providing they can demonstrate how their initiatives will contribute to achieving the council’s ambition to ‘level up’.
3. Can businesses apply?
Businesses are eligible to apply providing they clearly demonstrate how they will evidence a contribution in kind, for example, by match funding.
4. Can district councils or GFirst LEP apply?
No, they are not eligible to apply to this scheme. We do however encourage the relevant district councils (in the Forest of Dean, Gloucester, and Cheltenham) to support eligible organisations and areas if necessary. The Levelling Up Together Team will share relevant information with the district councils.
5. Can more than one organisation or community group put together one bid?
Yes, applications from groups and organisations working together are welcomed. Collaborative bids will need to identify a lead organisation as part of the application process, and if successful, the grant money will be transferred to the lead organisation only.
6. Can the same organisation or community group apply more than once?
Yes, but only if that organisation or community group is applying to support a different area, with a different initiative. If it’s the same initiative in different areas, consider submitting one bid and clearly indicating which area/s your bid covers.
7. When does the scheme open and close?
The fund will be launched on Tuesday 18 October 2022. Applications will be accepted from this date until midnight on Sunday 27 November 2022.
8. How do we submit an application to the Levelling Up fund?
Applicants should complete the online form. A completed version will be emailed to the Levelling Up Together inbox.
Whilst the County Councillors for these areas are not expected to sign and send in application forms, all applicants must discuss, and obtain support for, their application with the relevant County Councillor/s for the area/s they are planning to deliver their initiative/s in and confirm this as part of the application form.
It is expected that all applications will be completed electronically, and the Levelling Up Together Team will be on hand to assist applicants with this if needed. In exceptional circumstances hard copies will be accepted.
9. How much money can be applied for?
There is an upper limit of £150,000 per bid and no lower limit.
10. How long is the funding for?
Grants will be awarded in the current financial year 2022/23 for delivery during 2023/24. The grant is not recurring so once all the money has been awarded no further funding will be available.
11. How do organisations get an application form?
The online application form is available from the Levelling Up Together webpages.
12. How long will it take to process applications?
We will aim to make payments for all grants as soon as possible upon receiving the grant acceptance form. Grants of more than £5k will require more information from the applicant so these may take longer to process.
Timescales will depend on the number of grants that we receive but we will keep applicants informed of the progress of their application.
13. Will the scheme fund existing initiatives?
The grant funding can be used to support existing initiatives, it does not have to be used to create new initiatives.
With regards to supporting the continuation of existing initiatives:
- Bids must clearly outline how any existing initiatives contribute to the intended outcomes out this grant scheme
- Bids must clearly outline why funding cannot be accessed elsewhere
- There is no guarantee that projects which have received previous funding (for example, through other grant schemes) will be funded again
14. How long have organisations got to spend the money?
Once organisations have received funding the grant should ideally be spent within 12 months, but the Levelling Up Together Team are willing to work with applicants who wish to deliver over a longer period.
15. Who will make the final decision about funding?
An officer panel will appraise all bids in line with a standardised scoring matrix. All recommendations will then go to a decision-making panel who will make the final decisions.
16. What happens once grants have been awarded?
Council officers will administer the scheme, process grant applications and keep records of payments.
17. What happens if a successful applicant does not spend all the money?
If applicants do not spend all of the money, they have been awarded the relevant councillor/s will be informed and the grantee will be contacted by an officer to understand the reasons for this. Depending on the amount of underspend officers will discuss with the councillor if they are happy for the grantee to retain the remaining funds if assurances can be made that the remainder of the grant will be spent in line with the scheme criteria.
If a large amount of the grant has not been spent then this may be reclaimed by the council after discussion with the relevant councillor.
18. What can't be funded?
In recognition of how challenging the past year has been for the Voluntary and Community Sector a flexible approach to grant giving will be taken, but there will be some things we can’t fund, such as:
- Sole Traders
- For profit activities
- Funding individuals
- Overseas holidays
Please contact the Levelling Up Together Team at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to discuss a proposed grant.
19. How will you make sure the scheme is open to everyone?
Any decision must pay due regard to the Equality Act 2010 and the Public Sector Equality Duty. Information on these duties can be accessed on the equality duties pages.
To measure impact and understand who the beneficiaries are for each project, grantees will be expected to collate and submit information on who participates in their projects. Further information about feedback, learning and evaluation will be discussed and agreed with successful applicants.
20. How will the council ensure that funding is allocated fairly?
The application form and accompanying guidelines outline how the funding can be spent, the responsibilities of grantees and the processes that will be used to allocate funding.
21. Will successful applicants be made public?
To ensure that the scheme is transparent we will make information about which projects have been funded publicly available on the council website.
All expenditure from county council funds is considered to be information that is available to the public. Therefore, details of any spending made from the fund will be provided to any internal or external enquirer upon request.
22. Who do I contact with any other queries not covered in these FAQs?
All interested parties (including prospective applicants) are welcome to email email@example.com to discuss any queries they may have. It is encouraged that contact is made before applications are submitted to avoid potential delays.
23. Who decides which applications are successful?
The Levelling Up Together Fund will close to applications at midnight on Sunday 27 November 2022.
In December 2022, a panel of Officers with expertise across the relevant topic areas (including education, employment, skills and training, and the voluntary and community sector) will meet to appraise the bids using a standardised scoring matrix. Recommendations will then be made to the Decision-Making Panel who will meet in January 2023. The Decision-Making Panel comprises the Director of Public Health, the Cabinet Member for Public Health and Communities and the Director of Corporate Resources. All applicants will be notified of the outcome of their bid by the end of January 2023.
Whilst it is necessary for bids to be supported by the relevant County Councillor/s, support from the relevant County Councillor/s does not guarantee an application will be successful.
24. What is the role of County Councillors?
Prospective applicants are asked to engage with the relevant County Councillor/s to discuss, and request support for, their application and evidence this in their application form. We will closely with prospective applicants to support applications and liaise with the relevant County Councillors to ensure they are aware of the applications submitted from their areas.
Whilst there is an upper limit on how much each application can request (£150,000), there is no set amount of money allocated per area or per County Councillor. As such, support from the relevant County Councillor/s does not guarantee an application will be successful.
25. How does this differ from the ongoing Build Back Better – Councillor Scheme?
The Levelling Up Together grant scheme is time-limited and will close to applications at midnight on Sunday 27 November 2022, and all bids will be assessed soon after, with all applicants being notified of the outcome of their bid by the end of January 2023.
Whilst there is an upper limit on how much each application can request (£150,000), there is no set amount of money allocated per area or per County Councillor. Despite this, we will request that prospective applicants engage with their County Councillor to discuss, and request support for, their application and evidence this in their application form. We plan to work closely with prospective applicants to support applications and liaise with County Councillors to ensure they are aware of the applications submitted from their areas.
Please note support from the relevant County Councillor/s does not guarantee an application will be successful
26. Can a County Councillor support more than one application, which collectively total more than £150,000?
Yes, a County Councillor can support more than one application, and providing no one application requests more than the maximum amount per bid (£150,000), a County Councillor may support multiple bids which collectively total more than £150,000. This is because, whilst we would like to see a good spread of quality applications across the eligible areas, there is no set amount of money allocated per area or per County Councillor.
In addition to this, the bids will be appraised by a panel of officers, with the final decisions being made by the Decision-Making Panel. It is therefore worth noting that while it is a necessary as part of the application form, support from the relevant County Councillor/s does not guarantee an application will be successful.
27. What if my proposed initiative is countywide and supports people from all parts of Gloucestershire?
This scheme specifically focuses on ten eligible areas, as part of the County Council’s ambition to ‘level up’ in certain parts of Gloucestershire. We can accept applications from organisations based outside of the eligible areas as long as it is clearly demonstrated how the proposed initiative will specifically target and support at least one of the eligible areas (for example, if an organisation wanted to undertake outreach work within an eligible area). We recognise that there is lots of great work happening across the county and for initiatives not meeting this criterion, there may be other grant schemes which are more appropriate.
We recognise that working in more than one eligible area may mean you need to liaise with more County Councillors. If you are a group or organisation working in two or more of the eligible areas in Gloucester, please email a brief description of your proposed initiative/s to firstname.lastname@example.org and will help you to liaise with the relevant County Councillors.
28. Can one application cover more than one of the eligible areas?
Yes. We recognise that working in more than one eligible area may mean you need to liaise with more than one County Councillor. If you are a group or organisation working in two or more of the eligible areas in Gloucester (the district in which most of the eligible areas sit), please email a brief description of your proposed initiative/s to email@example.com and will help you to liaise with the relevant County Councillors.
29. Would an application put together by more than one group or organisation (sometimes referred to as a ‘consortium’ or ‘collaborative’ bid) be favoured over an application from a single group or organisation?
No, our standardised approach to scoring applications will not automatically award higher marks to a consortium bid; both types of bids will be judged equally. However, we do encourage creative and collaborative working, as working together can further benefit communities by enhancing cohesion and the sustainability of initiatives.