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 ‘In-crowd’ gets funding as publicity fails to bite

Cymunedol


An ‘in-crowd’ of voluntary and community groups in the most deprived parts of England has snapped up around three-quarters of a £182m neighbourhood renewal fund.

The single community programme, running from 2001 to 2006, provides grants of up to £5,000 to enable community and voluntary groups to participate in neighbourhood renewal and influence decisions on public services. It was designed to reach small groups as well as their larger counterparts, and those who have no voice or influence.

But an analysis by the National Audit Office (NAO), published this week, found that 69% of recipients heard about the fund through word of mouth and existing contacts. A further 7% relied on their contacts and publicity material. Just 16% heard about the grants through publicity alone, and 8% found out in ‘other’ unspecified ways.

The Welsh 'version' of the SCP is Communities First, with the small grants administered by the Communities First Support Network. The CFSN is a consortium of eight national voluntary sector organisations that work across Wales providing support to those involved in the Communities First programme. Communities First Support Network

PDF Document Full Report (1774 KB)

PDF Document Executive Summary (239 KB)

The following document is a PDF file Neighbourhood Renewal: Case examples in getting communities involved (552 KB)

Mwy...More...

Publicity by those administering the grants is ‘not proving effective’ in promoting the programme, the study says. It adds: ‘Well-connected groups are therefore much more likely than others to hear about the single community programme grants.’

Moreover, while the grants have supported 25,000 projects that contribute to neighbourhood renewal, they have not succeeded in encouraging people to get involved at a more strategic level. Just 17% of grant recipients have joined community empowerment networks (CENs) as a result of the funding; most of these are larger, more established groups.

The NAO blames this on the low profile of the CENs, which grant recipients are unable to distinguish from the organisation administering them or other area-based initiatives.

At the same time, a lack of trust and power imbalances are still leading to tensions between voluntary and public sector representatives on local strategic partnerships. Where CENs get involved in LSPs, just 18% felt they made a difference. This is in sharp contrast to the perceptions of other LSP members, of whom more than 70% felt CEN members were listened to.

The report urges CENs to give clear information, support community members on LSPs and make greater efforts to encourage small groups. It also calls for more positive action from the ODPM and government offices to secure the funding of CENs after 2006.

Getting citizens involved: community participation and neighbourhood renewal, www.nao.gov.uk

Source - Newstart



 
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     Related Links
· Communities First Support Network
· Full Report
· Executive Summary
· Neighbourhood Renewal: Case examples in getting communities involved
· Mwy...More...
· www.nao.gov.uk
· 
Cymunedaun Gyntaf Llyn
· Gwasanaethau Lleol
· Gwynedd Communities first
· More about Cymunedol
· News by waen


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