The Education Funding Agency (EFA) has confirmed a new Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) for 2018/19, and has announced its guidelines for this year’s applications. The annual government-funded scheme provides a great opportunity for academy schools to obtain capital for building projects, which may include repairs, refurbishments, upgrades, replacement of services. The deadline for the submissions of applications to access this year’s round of funding is 14th December – so academies need to act fast!
Each academy can submit two bids for CIF funding each year. The Education Funding Agency place significant priority on the funding of projects that deal with ‘condition’ and maintenance of existing buildings, although there is also some scope for extension works.
Types of projects that might be eligible for funding under the CIF include:
In particular, this year the fund includes an additional £100 million for improvement to facilities for physical activity, healthy eating, mental health and wellbeing and medical conditions. Referred to as the Healthy Pupils Capital Fund (HPCF), projects that could fall under this category include improvements to kitchens, dining facilities, changing rooms, playgrounds and sports facilities.
Lea Hough have been successfully working with academies in Lancashire, Cumbria and Manchester for the past few years, helping them to prepare bids for funding. As part of this process, we offer to prepare funding applications on behalf of the school / academy without any up-front charge. We are able to offer this service as our fees are built into the funding application, so can be recovered if the bid is successful.
In the first instance, we would visit the academy and provide an initial free-of-charge, no obligation, consultation. Subject to appointment, we would then conduct a full inspection of the school buildings and provide advice regarding maintenance and development funding opportunities. Where a suitable funding bid can be identified in line with CIF funding criteria, we would work with the Academy to prepare a tailored funding application to give the best chance of success.
Applications for the latest round of funding must be submitted by 14th December so time is of the essence to ensure that academies do not miss out on this opportunity to apply for funding. The bid preparation involves a lot of work and it is important that projects are identified well in advance of this date to allow sufficient time for surveys to be undertaken, along with the preparation of reports / costs etc to support the application(s).
CIF funding is highly over-subscribed and only applications that demonstrate a high project need that align with CIF priorities are likely to be successful. Lea Hough has a track record of successfully gaining substantial funding academies to help them maintain, improve and develop their premises. Over the past 4 years, we have successfully obtained £9 million of grant funding, with over a 75% success rate in the last round of funding.
Our team have an excellent knowledge of educational property, standards, funding systems and all building related matters and would be happy to speak to academies in the North West and beyond about making a funding application free of charge. Please contact us by calling 01772 458866 or submit your enquiry here.