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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 10/07/2007
Community Partnerships Fund



APPENDIX D
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE - 10TH JULY 2007

Title:
COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS FUND
[Wards Affected: All]
Summary and purpose:

The purpose of this report is to:

1. consider a request from South West Surrey Council for Voluntary Service for a further grant towards its work in 2007/08 from the Community Partnerships Fund; and

2. consider whether a review of the fund be undertaken to determine how future support for community facilities can be best provided.

Environmental implications:

There are no environmental implications.

Social / community implications:

The voluntary and community sector plays a crucial role in delivering public services and in building strong, cohesive and self-determining communities. Frontline organisations often work with those most at risk from social exclusion, providing help and support, and meeting multiple needs in ways which not only give local residents and users a voice, but also the means to tackle the underlying causes of their problems. Despite a revolution in the contribution of the voluntary and community sector to service delivery, many frontline organisations, especially the small and medium-sized, are still unable to access the support they need.

Improving the infrastructure support to frontline organisations enables them to reach their full potential in improving the quality of life of the communities they serve.

E-Government implications:

There are no e-government implications as a direct result of this report.

Resource and legal implications:

South West Surrey Council for Voluntary Service
Waverley approved a 10,000 grant from the Community Partnerships Fund Main Grants Scheme 2006/07 for a project to prepare the ground for a Council for Voluntary Services in Waverley. This was based on 20% of the total costs of 50,000. South West Surrey Council for Voluntary Service (SWSCVS) has emerged and has submitted a bid for lottery funding to build on its early work and to establish a robust SWSCVS for the future. The result of the lottery application has been delayed and funding will now not be available until 2008/09.
Waverley has been requested to consider contributing a further 10,000, being 25% of the total costs of 40,000 towards the project from October 2007 to March 2008 to enable the project to continue until the outcome of the lottery application is known.

In April 2007, the Council agreed that the unallocated sum from the 2007/08 Community Partnerships Fund of 58,312 should be ring-fenced to fund high priority projects that emerge during 2007/08. If Members are minded to support the SWSCVS request for additional funding towards its work in 2007/08, it is proposed that any amount agreed is funded from this ring-fenced sum.

Community Partnerships Fund
The 2007/08 Capital Programme included 300,000 for community partnership schemes. The funds represented a contribution from the council for capital schemes in the voluntary and community sector, usually to the value of around 25% of a project’s costs.

The scheme has been in operation since 1988 when the council earmarked 1.5million to the scheme. The scheme is split into two parts:

a) the main grants fund, for projects with a value over 15,000, and;
b) the small grant scheme for projects less than 15,000.

Whilst it has been possible to extend the scheme beyond its original anticipated period due to funds not being taken up and interest added, the fund is inadequate and cannot be sustained for the financial year 2008/09. In view of this, and with the continuing pressure on the council’s capital resources where it is difficult to find funding for schemes which provide services to the wider community, it is suggested that the current scheme could be suspended at 31st March 2008 and officers be asked to investigate ways how support can be offered to the partnership sector, financial or otherwise. This will include consideration of other funding sources such as the Surrey Community Foundation which has been developed in the last couple of years.

It is suggested that the balance of funding currently earmarked, but not yet committed in 2007/08 continue. The amounts are:

Main grant scheme 48,312 if SWSVS funded, and
Small grants 40,000

South West Surrey Council for Voluntary Service - Introduction

1. Infrastructure support for the voluntary and community sector is defined as: “The physical facilities, structures, systems, relationships, people, knowledge and skills that exist to support and develop, coordinate, represent and promote frontline organisations, thus enabling them to deliver their missions more effectively”.

2. Research undertaken across Surrey in 2004 found that whilst voluntary and community sector activity in Waverley is extensive, there is a clear gap in infrastructure support to this sector in the Borough, despite it being one of the largest rural areas in the county.

3. The voluntary and community organisations across the Borough were found to work very much in isolation with few networks of support and limited understanding of the voluntary and community sector environment outside their specific service.

4. The existing infrastructure organisations in Waverley, including Haslemere Volunteer Centre and Farnham Voluntary Services Council, are only able to provide Volunteer recruitment services and have highlighted that they are not able to provide comprehensive infrastructure support across the Borough within current resources.

5. It has also been identified that there is a clear gap in infrastructure support for the voluntary and community sector in the Guildford area. It is an efficient and effective way forward to look at the two Borough areas together, when developing infrastructure support, to reflect the South West area boundaries of other organisations and partnerships such as the County’s South West Area team, the Police, the LSPs and Education.

Developing Infrastructure Support for the Voluntary and Community Sector in Waverley and Guildford

6. Waverley’s grant of 10,000 in 2006/07 helped lever in significant additional funding levered from Surrey County Council, Surrey PCT, Guildford Borough Council and Surrey Community Action to develop the research within the voluntary and community sector (VCS) in Waverley and Guildford necessary to put together a case for long term funding for a future infrastructure organisation in SW Surrey from 2007 onwards.

7. A South West Surrey Council for Voluntary Service (SWSCVS) has now been formed to take this work forward, with support from and Membership created around the trustees of the existing infrastructure organisations (Farnham Voluntary Service Council, Haslemere Volunteer Centre and Guildford Association of Voluntary Service).

8. The development project, under the management of the SWSCVS, has so far identified four main themes in their research with the VCS:

o the need for support with accessing funding and recruiting volunteers;
o the need for improvement to infrastructure services for smaller community groups;
o the need for improvement to frontline services for socially excluded people; and
o an overarching need for both the CVS and volunteer centres to effectively market themselves to the VCS and to the public.

9. The development project has also focused on opportunities for volunteering outreach in the areas not yet covered by the current infrastructure organisations, namely Godalming, Cranleigh, Ash and the 42 rural villages. The Project Officers have been working alongside the town and parish councils, the health check coordinators, and other key partners.

Sustaining the South West Surrey Council for Voluntary Service (SWSCVS)

10. An application for a grant of 498,400, lodged with the BIG Lottery Fund through its BASIS programme, has passed the first competitive round. The application seeks funding to build on the work of the development project and establish a robust SWSCVS for the future.

11. Should the Lottery bid be successful there will be a four year programme to create and develop an organisation which has an overarching structure across SW Surrey and which embraces the existing infrastructure organisations to maintain a presence in the main areas of the two Boroughs and to deliver outreach to the rural parts. During this four year period work can be done to secure longer term funding for the organisation on a similar basis to all other parts of the County.

12. With Lottery funding the SWSCVS will:

o set up one Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) organisation, out of the three existing organisations, to operate across Guildford and Waverley Borough Council areas;
o deliver the CVS function across Guildford and Waverley;
o co-ordinate Volunteer Centres and establish work in Godalming, Cranleigh and Ash;
o using outreach, develop focus on rural, minority and socially excluded communities;
o increase volunteer numbers and opportunities; and
o provide networking, representation and information sharing for the VCS

13. The long term aims of the new organisation are as follows, to:

o develop an effective, sustainable and much needed infrastructure organisation;
o build capacity within the voluntary and community sector; and
o create opportunities for volunteering

14. The stated objectives of the new organisation are to:

o improve infrastructure support especially to small and medium-sized groups to reach their full potential thus improving the quality of life of the communities they serve;
o improve recruitment, support and encouragement of volunteers. Research shows volunteering improves the well being of individuals and of communities;
o create networking groups, raise awareness and improve information sharing;
o maximise the range of services available and bring like-minded groups together to maximise scarce resources; and
o give local residents and users a voice, and a means to tackle the underlying causes of their problems. Harness skills, resources and passions of both paid and unpaid activists

Financial Implications

South West Surrey Council for Voluntary Service

15. The Lottery bid has passed the first round of the BASIS programme and is now progressing through the second round; it is very likely to achieve funding.

16. It was anticipated that the results of the Lottery application would be known by the beginning of 2007/08, however the process has been delayed due to over-subscription of the programme and funding will not be available until 2008/09. This leaves a funding gap between the end of the development project and the beginning of the Lottery funding.

17. An estimated amount of 40,000 is required to continue the project in the lead up to April 2008 to ensure that the groundwork is done to create one organisation from the current unconnected infrastructure organisations in preparation for the next four years. A contribution from each partner (Waverley Borough Council, Guildford Borough Council, Surrey County Council and Surrey PCT) is requested at a level of 10,000 each. This meets Waverley’s 25% funding threshold that is normally applied. The project also meets the approved grant criteria for the Community Partnerships Fund.

18. Funding from the other partners is dependent on Waverley’s contribution.

19. In the unlikely event that the Lottery application is unsuccessful the SWSCVS will review its position at the end of 2007/08.

Conclusions

South West Surrey Council for Voluntary Service

20. Research and consultation undertaken in Waverley and Guildford identified the need to build capacity within the voluntary and community sector by creating an appropriate, effective, sustainable and much needed infrastructure support organisation.

21. South West Surrey Council for Voluntary Service has emerged with the support and Membership of the three existing infrastructure organisations in Waverley and Guildford. With sustainable funding this organisation is poised to plug a major gap in Surrey by providing support to the hundreds of voluntary and community sector organisations currently operating in isolation across Waverley and Guildford.

22. The outcome of an application to the BIG Lottery Fund, for four year funding for the creation and development of a SWSCVS, is awaited, but the delay in the programme means that there is a gap in funding until the lottery funding kicks in, in April 2008.

23. The Community Partnerships Fund has been a major success for Waverley Borough Council in the years since its inception. It has helped deliver many long-standing community aspirations into valuable community facilities, however in the last couple of years there has been some reduction in the number and quality of applications coming forward. This, coupled with the pressure on the Council’s desire to maintain its community assets, leads officers to believe that it is an appropriate time to undertake a fundamental review of the scheme. Because it is important to give potential applicants early notice of this possibility, a Council decision on this matter in July would be very helpful.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the Executive: 1. supports the SWSCVS request for 10,000 funding from the Community Partnerships Fund towards its work in 2007/08 as part of a multi agency funding arrangement;

2. subject to the decision in (1) above, agrees that the funding be met from the ring-fenced Community Partnerships Fund balance of 58,312;

3. agree that uncommitted Community Partnership Funds (48,312 Main Grants and 40,000 Small Grants) continue to be made available during 2007/2008; and

4. agree to suspend the Community Partnership Fund for 2008/09 and ask officers to undertake a review of how the community/voluntary sector can best be supported for one-off project finance.

Background Papers (DoF)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.

CONTACT OFFICERS:

Name: Paul Wenham Telephone: 01483 523238
E-mail: pwenham@waverley.gov.uk

Name: John Swanton Telephone: 01483 523375
E-mail: jswanton@waverley.gov.uk



comms/exec/2007-08/035