Fairer system for all clubs who rent council owned facilities

Following a decision made by East Devon District Council to introduce a rent support grant scheme to assist sports and activity club tenants of the council, three organisations have been successful in their application to the council’s Community Fund Panel for a Rent Support Grant.

Councillors on the panel have agreed to provisionally offer grants totalling £28,155, which will be paid over the next five years to the successful clubs, which are:

  • Mountbatten Park Sports and Social Club in Honiton will receive £10,050 of grant funding towards their rent over the next five years.
  • 5th Exmouth Sea Scouts will receive £2,430 of grant funding towards their rent over the next five years.
  • Seaton Bowling Club will receive £15,675 of grant funding towards their rent over the next five years.

The panel felt that these clubs were particularly in need and that the grant would help them to become more sustainable.

A total of seven eligible clubs applied for grants this year. Four were
unsuccessful as the panel felt that the clubs were already substantial and the amount paid for the facilities was a very modest percentage of overall turnover.

The council leases premises to 29 sports and activity organizations and historically the rent charges have varied significantly from club to club with some clubs benefiting from reduced rents, while others received no financial support.

To address this imbalance, the council agreed in June 2016 to introduce a new rent support grant scheme so that any financial assistance for clubs is more transparent and accountable, reflecting a clearly determined subsidy level. Any subsidy involves public money and the council wanted to make sure that the best possible use was made of any financial support. The new rent support grant arrangement that has been introduced is designed to make the allocation of funding support more consistent and fair.

Councillor Ian Thomas, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for finance and Chairman of the Community Fund Panel, said:

The Community Fund Panel would like to thank all the sports and activity clubs who applied for a grant. We commend them for the work that they do, often on a voluntary basis. It is clear that many of them are of enormous benefit to East Devon communities, encouraging participation in a wide range of health and fitness activities, as well as helping foster a sense of community and providing places for other groups to meet in what is largely a rural area. We wanted to give a helping hand to our sports and activity club tenants that are most in need, while being transparent and accountable for public funding, which is what we have done.

Cllr Thomas went on to say how impressed he was with the excellent work carried out by officers involved in evaluating the first round of applications.