Nearly £1 million of funding is on offer to help bring community asset buildings back to life.

The Cambridge and Peterborough Combined Authority has partnered with The Plunkett Foundation, a community business charity, to help community groups take ownership and operation of local pubs and assets that are vacant or at risk of closure.

Funding from the second phase of the Combined Authority’s Market Towns Programme will enable Plunkett to deliver a community support package to community groups in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Plunkett will manage the allocation of £800,000 grant funding to community groups on behalf of the Combined Authority. 

Small grants will be awarded to community groups to cover costs of starting a community business or opening a community pub, including the cost of forming a 'community benefit society' (CBS), property valuations and surveys, legal fees and architect fees.

Follow-up bigger grants will be awarded to up to 15 groups who can demonstrate strong, feasible plans and the ability to get money from other funding agencies and community partners, and this capital grant will pay for costs such as purchase and refurbishment. 

Domenico Cirillo, Combined Authority market towns programme manager, said: “Supporting our market towns as they evolve to meet modern challenges is an absolute priority.

“In Phase 1, we invested over £13m into projects to help the towns realise their masterplans, improving amenities and public spaces, and to safely reopen our towns and high streets post-Covid.

“Phase 2 targets support into community businesses and social enterprises at the heart of town and village life, generating fresh vitality and direction, increasing resilience, and bringing assets back into the community”.  

Claire Spendley, head of community business at the Plunkett Foundation, said: “Protecting and revitalising services is of vital importance, particularly given the vast population living in and around these market towns.

“Community-ownership offers a real lifeline to those communities desperate to save their local pub, shop or community hub.” 

The project runs until April 2025. Interested groups should contact The Plunkett Foundation via 01993 630022 or