Report of the Stronger Communities Portfolio Holder
The Stronger Communities Portfolio Holder submitted a report (previously circulated) updating Members on the spend to date against the Stronger Communities Fund and requesting that Members give consideration to continuation of the pilot scheme into the next financial year.
In introducing the report the Stronger Communities Portfolio Holder advised Members that the fund had been introduced to give all Councillors autonomy within their community to support local projects and community groups at a grass roots level and Members were requested to provide feedback in respect of the process.
The submitted report stated that Cabinet agreed, at its meeting held on 13 April 2021, to establish a pilot scheme enabling Members to use an allocated amount of money to deliver the objectives of building stronger communities; that each Councillor had been allocated £1k; and details were provided of the spend against the £50k to date, together with information on what had been delivered in wards on an individual Councillor basis.
Following a question the Stronger Communities Portfolio Holder advised Members that the £1K should be spent before the end of the financial year; and that any funding not spent by Members may be carried forward to the next financial year however Members individual budget would remain at £1K.
Members felt that the deadlines and timescales for the process should be clearer and acknowledged the Credit Union and Democratic Services for their support with the process; and discussion ensued regarding the key themes from Members allocations.
Following a question regarding the possibility of training for Members to identify and access other funding opportunities to help local projects and community groups, the Stronger Communities Portfolio Holder advised Members that discussions were ongoing to identify how the Council could support not only Members but residents to access funding opportunities; and it was suggested that an All Member briefing be arranged to help Councillors identify and access support for local communities.
Members expressed their views regarding the continuation of the scheme in 2022/23.
IT WAS AGREED – (a) That the current spend against the £50k be noted.
(b) That the Economy and Resources Scrutiny Committee be advised that the Communities and Local Services Scrutiny Committee support the continuation of the scheme in the 2022/23 financial year.