Improving the quality of life in urban localities

Article written by Darren Grasso – Head, EU Funding at SEM

Published in The Malta Independent

Local councils of urban localities are now eligible to apply for the third call of the Small Grant Scheme (SGS) which supports projects aimed at improving the quality of life within our communities. Projects may be submitted for a maximum grant of €100,000. Some of the eligible local councils include Valletta, Msida, Fgura, Birkirkara and Cospicua.

The SGS is supported through the Norwegian Financial Mechanism and several local councils are already benefitting from this funding opportunity as they are currently implementing projects co-financed through the first and second calls of this scheme.

By way of example, the Floriana and Marsa local councils are creating a senior day care centre within their respective localities to provide a safe space where senior members of their communities can meet and partake in various activities such as physical exercise classes, arts and crafts lessons, and digital familiarisation sessions. This will ensure that the elderly continue to interact with others in their community and remain active through their participation in organised activities.

The Tarxien local council benefitted from two projects under the SGS. Through the first project it created a community centre at the heart of the locality, including a library and a space for activities, such as educational sessions on various topics. By means of the second project the local council is regenerating Joanne Gardens, which is a large garden and playground in Tarxien that will also be used for socio-cultural and educational activities.

Projects under the third call of the SGS will need to target at least one of the following four objectives:

  • Supporting physical, economic and social regeneration of deprived communities in these urban areas.
  • The regeneration of public open spaces and public social housing within deprived neighbourhoods.
  • The revitalisation of urban towns and cities ensuring better infrastructure to address the social and educational needs of the citizens.
  • Enhancing the environmental aspects of these deprived localities.

Eligible activities include training sessions, educational and social activities held within and for the community, the creation of safe places for vulnerable groups within the community, and the renovation of public areas for the benefit of the community and vulnerable groups.

Although only local councils may apply for such projects, the scheme also allows any public or private entity, commercial or non-commercial, as well as non-governmental organisations established as legal persons in Malta to be eligible as project partners.

The deadline for applications to be submitted for the third call of the SGS is October 5 at noon.

Servizzi Ewropej f’Malta (SEM) is a Government agency that provides information to everyone on EU related matters and assists several target groups, including local councils, to develop project proposals, complete the relevant application form, and implement projects funded by the EU and Norway grants. When assisting entities to submit competitive application forms, we at SEM, can also ensure that the organisation has compiled and submitted the necessary attachments to the form.

As of 2020, we have already assisted nine local councils to apply for the first and second calls of the SGS and we are currently assisting seven of them with the implementation of their projects.

For more information about the SGS or other EU funding opportunities, kindly contact SEM on 2200 3300 or info.sem@gov.mt.