At its meeting on 12 March, Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) Cabinet recommended an increase in the maximum New Homes Bonus (NHB) micro grant from £1,000 to £2,000, effective from 1 April 2019. Since the scheme launched in September 2017, 60 town and parish councils and community groups have benefitted from these micro grants, using the funds for a variety of purposes such as, village hall refurbishments or the purchase of sports equipment. Micro grants are funded from the existing 20% NHB allocation set aside for town and parish councils, and in the last two financial years, this represented £80,000 per annum. The total amount available in 2019/20 will remain at £80,000. Micro grants are open to applications from across the district, unlike larger project grants – which are only open to town and parish councils in areas affected by growth. All awarded grants are listed on AVDC’s website. Speaking after the Cabinet decision, Cllr Angela Macpherson, Leader of AVDC, said: “New Homes Bonus micro grants are clearly appreciated, especially by smaller parishes and voluntary organisations, and provide valuable benefits to local communities. We have kept the application process as simple as possible and by making awards on a monthly basis, groups can approach us throughout the year, as and when the need arises.” Kaya Mallinder, Fundraising and Communications Officer at Buckinghamshire Mind, commented: “We were awarded a £1,000 micro grant from AVDC in May 2018, which we used to purchase suitable chairs for our counselling rooms in Aylesbury. Given our experience with the scheme, I’d have no hesitation in recommending it to other local community groups – especially now that the amount been raised to a maximum of £2,000.” To find out more about the scheme, town and parish councils or representatives of community organisations should go to www.aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk/newhomesbonus or contact the Grants Officer, Jan Roffe, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications from community organisations must be endorsed by their local town or parish council, and the closing date for applications is the 15th of each month.