MORE than £500,000, raised from second homes council tax, has benefited 36 community groups in the last year, members of the county council’s Cabinet heard on April 8.

The Enhancing Pembrokeshire Grant aims to fund projects addressing the mitigating issues of second home ownership in the County while adding value to local communities.

The County Council currently levies a 50 per cent Council Tax premium on nearly 4,000 second homes in Pembrokeshire.

The premium raises some £1m a year, spilt between affordable housing schemes and community grants.

The extra charges were introduced in March 2016, with part of the money raised funding the Enhancing Pembrokeshire Grant, set up in April 2018.

At the April 8 meeting, Cabinet members endorsed the grant panel approvals, totalling £533,240.55.

Project awards included: Neyland CIC, £111,317; Haverhub CIC, £79,000; Solva Care, £34,222.06; Newport Welcome Centre, £18,649.11; Pembroke town Walls Trust, £15,723.27; Saundersfoot Play Group, £12,631.39; Tenby Museum and Art Gallery, £25,000; St Brynach Church, Nevern £11,000; SPAN Arts, £45,000; Support the Boardwalk, Broad Haven, £17,520; and Dinas Cross Memorial Playing Field Committee, £15,139.

Applications rejected include: Community Land Trust, £120,000; Milford Haven Community Society, £20,000; and Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum, £36,000.

Cabinet Member for Finance Bob Kilmister said: “This has been the first year of the scheme; it starts to up-skill our communities, we’re waiting for communities to come to us and tell us what schemes they want in their communities.”