COMMUNITY and voluntary groups in South Craven could bid for funding to take on a greater role under North Yorkshire's new single council.

The unitary authority, which replaces current district and borough councils, is launched on April 1.

And £1.5 million is being made available to enable organisations to act as so-called 'community anchors'.

Groups could provide hubs for the public to access advice and support, and act as council contact points.

The county council says the move will build on work undertaken during the pandemic, when close working relationships were forged with a network of community and voluntary groups which provided support to residents.

Councillor Greg White, executive member for stronger communities, says: "Volunteers and community groups have always played a hugely important role in North Yorkshire, but their work came even more to the fore during the pandemic.

"These organisations became a trusted voice for communities and helped us to publicise key public health messages and provided support at a grassroots level by co-ordinating the delivery of food and other essential items while checking on the most vulnerable members of society.

"The new North Yorkshire Council will cover the biggest geographical area of any local authority in the country, but we have made a pledge to ensure that it will be the most local council nationally as well.

"The community and voluntary organisations we work closely with will be an important element in ensuring we can deliver on that promise, acting as the eyes and ears of the new council to make sure we target services and funding at those communities and areas that need them the most."

He adds that while the concept of community anchors has been employed elsewhere in the country, the North Yorkshire scheme is believed to be among the biggest of its kind.

Already-established groups can apply for £15,000 a year in funding to become a community anchor.

Submissions need to be made by Monday, March 20.

Councillor White adds: "The funding is being made available to broadly increase the capacity of groups, rather than being targeted at a specific project, and to strengthen the resilience of communities.

"The investment would be available to finance a range of activities such as building partnerships with organisations including the council and health services and increasing their capacity to deliver physical and mental wellbeing programmes for communities."

For more details and to apply, visit