Community Cohesion (Area Based Grant)
Meeting: 15/09/2009 - Cabinet (Item 85)
Report of the Executive Member for the Communities and Benefits Portfolio (Teresa Hewett).
The Director for Community Services introduced the report which set out the proposals for the allocation of Breckland Council’s Area Based Grant for 2008-2011. If approved, this would enable the Authority to undertake a programme of work on National Indicator 1 (percentage of people who believed people from different backgrounds got on well together in their local area).
An Area Based Grant was a non-ring fenced general grant allocated directly to local authorities as additional revenue. It was allocated according to specific policy criteria rather than general formulae. Local authorities were free to use all of this non-ring fenced funding as they saw fit to support the delivery of local regional and national priorities in their areas.
Members were informed that Breckland Council had been the recipient of the largest grant of this kind in Norfolk.
A question was asked about META, a project which was run by the Keystone Development Trust that provided advice, information and advocacy service for migrant workers and communities in Thetford and across the District. The Director for Community Services advised that META would be attending a future Cabinet meeting to present its work. Members would then have the option to agree the funding or not. It was explained that this would be a match for funding application in support of the Thetford Healthy Town project.
The Executive Member for Governance and Corporate Development supported this type of policy rather than putting communities into silos. The approach that was being taken would build stronger multi layered communities based on the young and the old and would not be concentrating on one particular group.
To approve or not approve the proposals for the allocation of Breckland Council’s Area Based grant and to accept or not accept the Migrant Impact Funding grant from the awarding body.
Breckland’s Area Based Grant allocation was largely based upon the ‘community cohesion’ best value performance indicator findings as per the 2006/07 General Best Value User Survey. The proposal recommended to Members for approval would build on existing good practice in Breckland and enhance cohesion across all communities.
Breckland had been successful in attracting £250,000 Migration Impact Funding, the largest grant awarded to a local authority in Norfolk. These externally sourced funds would add value to existing good practice and activities delivered in Breckland by the Authority itself and a range of partners.
There was a strong economic case for building ‘community cohesion’. Research (guidance for local authorities on how to mainstream community cohesion into other services 2009) had shown that more cohesive areas have lower crime levels, reduced fear of crime, improved [mental] health and improved participation in education/employment.
RESOLVED that the Migrants Impact Funding grant from the awarding body be accepted.
RECOMMEND to Council that:
1) the Area Based Grant funding for the Community Liaison Officer post be approved;
2) the Area Based Grant funding for the Participatory Budgeting scheme be approved; and
3) Cabinet be given delegated authority to approve Area Based Grant funding for ... view the full minutes text for item 85