The ARFOR Challenge fund is part of the wider ARFOR scheme to strengthen the relationship between the local economy and the Welsh language in north and west Wales. The ARFOR scheme aims to help develop flourishing and vibrant communities in the Fro Gymraeg and the aim of the Challenge Fund is to encourage local enterprises that can improve and maintain local wealth for the benefit of communities.
The purpose of the Challenge Fund is to be a financial fund which awards grants for pioneering solutions to community challenges in the areas of Anglesey, Gwynedd, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire. Groups of individuals, institutions, community groups and businesses in these areas can make an application for a grant if they think they have an idea that can get to grips with the unique challenges that their communities face. By giving this kind of support, the scheme aims to encourage co-operation and partnership on the ground as a means not only to ensure the local identity and the unique attributes of these areas but also to encourage young people and families to stay in these areas and return to their communities in order that they help ensure their future.
By encouraging innovation by institutions and individuals that know these areas best, those that live and were raised there, there is the opportunity to create an environment in which local challenges are answered and solved by local people who best understand the particular needs of their area.
Specifically, the Challenge fund is looking for project proposals that will:
- Use the Welsh Language to encourage local economic growth and spark enterprising activity on the ground.
- Show the connections that exist between language and economy in Anglesey, Gwynedd, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire.
- Innovate new ideas in order to solve the particular challenges these areas face.
- Contribute to the benefit of these areas and help improve wellbeing and quality of life.
- Encourage co-operation between individuals, institutions and businesses and create a foundation for strong partnerships.
- Work across Local Authority boundaries, and work with communities in other areas.
- Create spaces and opportunities, whether they be in person or digital, that will enable co-operation and ensure opportunities for people to live, work and enjoy through the medium of Welsh.
The Challenge Fund is split into two streams, the Small Challenge Fund and the Large Challenge Fund. The Small Challenge Fund awards up to £30,000 while the Large Challenge Fund gives a grant of up to £100,000. The Small Challenge Fund exists to support research and development projects on a smaller scale in order to trial various ideas quickly with a view to developing them further through applications to the Large Challenge Fund. The Large Challenge Fund is a flexible fund that offers financial support to larger projects that operates within one local authority, across many authorities or across the whole ARFOR region.
You can start the process for making an application to both funds by filling in a ‘Declaration of Interest’ form outlining that which you identify as a local challenge that needs solving, your proposed solution to this challenge, and an estimate of the value of the project. Once you have presented your application, one of the members of the Challenge Fund team will contact you to discuss further and organise that you attend a relevant workshop. Once you have attended the workshop you will have the opportunity to formally submit an application form for the ARFOR Challenge Fund. You can find more information on ARFOR’s website.