Crowdfund Cornwall helps community projects grow

Individuals, community groups and not-for-profit organisations are being invited to turn their ideas into reality following the launch of a new crowdfunding initiative by Cornwall Council. 

The Crowdfund Cornwall campaign aims to find additional funds on top of Council funding by crowdsourcing support for small-scale projects that will benefit the community or help grow nature. 

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Find out more about Crowdfund Cornwall

Councillor Edwina Hannaford, Cornwall Council Portfolio holder for Neighbourhoods said: “We really want to encourage the crowd to back projects they believe will improve their community. It’s a really inclusive and democratic way to get people connected to their local community, to have a say in how Council funds are spent and to be assured that projects deliver value for money.

“The local community group gets the funding it needs, businesses and residents get to support local innovation and ideas, while the local community benefits from valued projects including improvements to the environment. It’s the start of a truly exciting adventure.”

Cornwall Council Chief Executive Kate Kennally said: “This initiative was received positively by the community as soon as it went live, and we’re really proud to be supporting a Cornish business – Crowdfunder - in the process. We’re also the first Council in the country to promote our Councillor Community Chest funds on a crowdfunding platform.”

Two types of funding are available – Cornwall Councillor Community Chest funds for community projects, or the Grow Nature Seed Fund for projects which help nature thrive.

Residents or group with a suitable idea could play a part in transforming their local area by receiving a pledge of up to £1,000 from their local Councillor from his or her Cornwall Councillor Community Chest fund.

Leader of the Council and Launceston North and North Petherwin Councillor Adam Paynter was the first to help crowdfund a local project.

“Lanstephan area play park in Launceston successfully crowdfunded enough to provide a small see-saw for toddlers that will be installed in the community play park. Match funding of £200 was provided out of my Community Chest fund, and I’m the first Councillor to match fund a project on the platform. At the moment I believe there are seven other Councillors using Crowdfund Cornwall to find projects to match fund in their area, but we’d like to see more.”

Iris Lindsay, Chair of the Lanstephan Area Play Park Committee said: “We approached Adam Paynter to see if he would support us and he agreed to fund £200 through Crowdfund Cornwall.  We had to raise the balance of £300 and thanks to the generosity of the general public this amount was raised in less than three weeks, which means we can now provide new play equipment for the local children."

Alongside the Community Chest funds, Cornwall Council and the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty have set aside a total of £10,000 for Grow Nature Seed Fund projects. Successful projects can benefit from up to £500 each and have a chance to double their money through crowdfunding.

The Grow Nature Seed Fund aims to support projects which transform areas of community greenspace to nature-rich habitat through the creation of community orchards, ponds, wildflower meadows and verges, native hedges, or woodlands.

Bude Friends of the Earth wanted to raise funds to create a Community Orchard on a grassy area by the River Neet in central Bude. Match funding from Cornwall Council's new Grow Nature Seed Fund meant they smashed through their original £1,100 target.

Simon Browning from Bude Friends of the Earth said: “Bude Friends of the Earth have been touched by the incredible response to our Crowdfunder appeal. It says a lot about the people of Bude (and Bude fans from around the world!) that we smashed our initial target in a little over ten days, and then our stretch target a couple of days later.

“I'd like to say a big thank you to the Environment Team at Cornwall Council. Without the Seed Fund I don't think we'd have seriously proposed the idea. Thanks too to all of our donors - it’s been very encouraging to see the donations coming in. We can’t wait to get started on planting the orchard!"

Councillor Sue James, Cornwall Council Portfolio holder for Environment and Public Protection, said extra help was needed to grow nature.

“Just protecting the diverse and wild spaces we have left is not enough. For the environment to continue to ensure we have clean air, clean water, can grow a range of crops and provide outdoor experiences that are essential to human health, we need to grow nature.

“Through the Grow Nature Seed Fund we want to encourage communities to create areas with conditions for more abundant life and natural systems.  This is essential for wildlife and people and crowdfunding helps local communities to attract more funds for their local projects."