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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 23/01/2006
Local Economy & Local Services



ANNEXE 3
CORPORATE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

LOCAL ECONOMY & LOCAL SERVICES – THEME 6

Enterprise First

The aims of Enterprise First (formerly Blackwater Valley Enterprise Trust) are to contribute to the prosperity of the Blackwater Valley area by helping people to set up or acquire their own businesses and to improve the efficiency and growth prospects of existing enterprises.

The Trust achieves this by providing free, impartial and confidential advice to its clients, including small business start-ups and existing small businesses (0 – 5 employees) and encourages the development of their management skills (through training if appropriate) and arranging other activities.

From 2004, the Trust’s contract with Business Link Surrey was extended to cover the whole of West Surrey. As a result, the Trust has been renamed Enterprise First.

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ENVIRONMENT & LEISURE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

PLANNING & ENVIRONMENT – THEME 2

Blackwater Valley Recreation And Countryside Management Service

The Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership coordinates and implements countryside conservation and access work along the Blackwater Valley and encourages volunteering. This is a local authority partnership project to which Waverley Borough Council has stated its commitment and support. The grant bid is based on an apportionment of costs which is calculated on the length of the Blackwater Valley within Waverley BC (5.54%).

The Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership carries out valuable work that benefits Waverley, through protecting and enhancing this important `green corridor` and helping local residents to enjoy the area as well as becoming practically involved through its community involvement programme. The grant aid provided by Waverley is essential in supporting core costs and as matching funding to bring in additional resources (they were recently successful in gaining HLF funding for additional access improvements). It is vital the request for funding is fully supported. Waverley is the only authority in the partnership that did not meet its financial commitments to the project last year. This sets a dangerous precedent that may result in other local authorities not meeting their commitments – this would threaten the viability of the whole project.

Hurtwood Control Committee

The Hurtwood Control manages an extensive area (3000 acres) of accessible countryside predominately woodland and heathland, to the north east of the borough that is well used by Waverley residents. The work of Hurtwood control also helps to deliver the county Biodiversity Action Plans for heathland and involves the local community through its volunteer programme.

The Hurtwood Control provides opportunity for a variety of leisure activities in the borough by encouraging the use of the area for walkers, horse riders, cyclists and orienteers.

The major new landscape enhancement project is the restoration of the Hill Fort on Holmbury Hill, Ewhurst. This is a joint project with Heritage Lottery and Surrey Hills AONB.

Surrey Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG)

FWAG provides conservation advice and information to farmers and landowners in Waverley. This is delivered in the form of free farm visits, unlimited telephone advice a bi-annual newsletter and a website. It also supports the Surrey Hills local food producer group and is involved with the Surrey Farm & Village Week.

The work of FWAG will be more important in 2006/07 with the changes in farming subsidies and the new Environmental Stewardship (ES) scheme that were launched in 2005. FWAG aims to raise awareness of the importance of the farmland environment to biodiversity and landscape and to promote the uptake of agr-environment schemes to farmers and landowners within Waverley. As a result the public can enjoy the benefits of landscape maintenance and enhancement work together with improved public access.

Surrey Heathland Project

The Surrey Heathland Project deliver the Heathland Biodiversity Action Plan by coordinating and carrying out heathland restoration work within sites in Waverley, including Frensham, Blackheath and Mare Hill Commons. The five-year programme of heathland restoration is supported by 13 partner organisations.

The Surrey Heathland Project brings additional lottery money to the important work of restoring the threatened heathland habitat within Waverley and the county. The work is achieved through using a combination of contractors and volunteers. Waverley’s grant income provides and important part of the core funding and attracts grant aid from the Heritage Lottery Fund so is essential to the viability of this project.

Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

The Surrey Hills AONB unit works to protect and conserve the landscape of the Surrey Hills AONB (the AONB covers half the borough), improve public understanding of the area and support the rural economy. It assists local authorities in meeting their statutory duties to AONB’s through preparing the AONB statutory Management Plan.

The grant aid provided by Waverley is essential in supporting the unit’s core costs and as matching funding to bring in additional resources to the AONB (the Countryside Agency provides 75% of core funding). It is vital the request for funding is fully supported as the Executive have now approved its commitment to the AONB by signing up to the new Memorandum of Agreement.

Rural Life Centre

The Rural Life Centre provides a repository for items representative of rural life between the years 1750 and 1960, drawn largely from Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire border area. It covers a ten-acre site situated in woodland and meadows.

The items are displayed and interpreted for schools, interest groups, general visitors and researchers to help them understand the rich past and traditions of the local area and the English countryside in general.

Items are also loaned out for education and research, and museum staff makes off-site presentations to interested groups. This year the museum completed the Bourne School’s Tin Hut Classroom, which has proved to be very popular.

The museum also provided a venue for local events and accommodation for groups and facilities for retired craftsmen and volunteers of all ages to practice and pass on their skills to younger generations and help preserve our communal rural past. In addition the adjacent RSPB site is becoming more widely known and this is bringing in more visitors through the Museum.

The Museum has seen some major additions to its collection and exhibitions this year, which have already proved to be extremely popular. The Museum is developing well and is an asset to the heritage of the borough. The Museum continues to rely heavily on volunteers and has progressed well with developing all the necessary policies and is seeking to apply for MLA Accreditation this year. Whilst the Museum is benefiting from increasing visitor numbers, with a growing collection and on-going improvements to the quality and size of the exhibits the Museum still requires Waverley’s on-going support. In particular the need for on-going building maintenance and basic infrastructure repairs for which are not eligible for other sources of funding.

HEALTH – THEME 3

Farnham & District Sports Advisory Council

Farnham District Sports Advisory Council provides a valuable service in developing and promoting sport in the Farnham locality. They provide information, help and guidance to local sports clubs and individuals on current issues, including funding provisions, rate relief and development of sports facilities. They also provide information on sporting facilities and activities available locally and lobby on behalf of the sporting public to improve existing facilities. The organisation also provides a valuable link between the voluntary sector and the local authority including contributing to the Farnham health check.

As an organisation it needs funding to enable it to develop and operate, to increase its profile and undertake the required administration work of the organisation.

Without the Sports Council it would be very difficult for Waverley Borough Council to support clubs to the required level. The setting up and support of local sports councils is a recommendation of the Waverley Cultural Strategy and provides excellent value for money.

Sport Godalming

Sport Godalming provides a valuable service in developing and promoting sport in the Godalming locality. They provide information, help and guidance to local sports clubs and individuals on current issues, including funding provisions, rate relief and development of sports facilities. They also provide information on sporting facilities and activities available locally and lobby on behalf of the sporting public to improve existing facilities. The organisation also provides a valuable link between the voluntary sector and the local authority. As well as organising the annual Sports Awards, contributing to the Godalming Leisure Needs Special Interest Group and producing regular newsletters.

As an organisation it needs funding to enable it to develop and operate, to increase its profile and undertake the required administration work of the organisation.

Without the Sports Council it would be very difficult for Waverley Borough Council to support clubs to the required level. The setting up and support of local sports councils is a recommendation of the Waverley Cultural Strategy and provides excellent value for money.

Sport Haslemere

Sport Haslemere provides a valuable service in developing and promoting sport in the Haslemere locality. They provide information, help and guidance to local sports clubs and individuals on current issues, including funding provisions, rate relief and development of sports facilities. They also provide information on sporting facilities and activities available locally and lobby on behalf of the sporting public to improve existing facilities. The organisation also provides a valuable link between the voluntary sector and the local authority, as well as organising the annual Sports Awards, contributing to the development of sporting facilities at Woolmer Hill and producing regular newsletters.

As an organisation it needs funding to enable it to develop and operate, to increase its profile and undertake the required administration work of the organisation.

Without the Sports Council it would be very difficult for Waverley Borough Council to support clubs to the required level. The setting up and support of local sports councils is a recommendation of the Waverley Cultural Strategy and provides excellent value for money.

LOCAL ECONOMY & LOCAL SERVICES – THEME 6

Cranleigh Arts Centre

Cranleigh Arts Centre (CAC) is a community arts centre providing a variety of high-quality, engaging and challenging activities and events for the Cranleigh community and beyond. CAC has a new Chair and new Director, who have injected a new, exciting energy to the programme and staff and volunteers.

The new Director has written a very strong application and business plan. CAC is undergoing a period of significant change, for the better of its users. A very exciting new education programme linking with hard-to-reach groups, teenagers and the travelling community is proposed, entitled “FUEL”, as well as strengthening its core programme of exhibitions, music, comedy, film and theatre.

CAC has secured a full staff team that is essential for its success, and is relying on the support of Waverley to help lever in other funds, given that Arts Council England is withdrawing its revenue funding in April 2006.

Farnham Maltings

The Maltings is a multi-faceted arts and cultural centre providing a wide range of cultural and community activities. As an organisation it works both within the buildings and within community settings in and around the Borough. It provides a venue for local professional initiatives, as well as a wide range of workshops and productions for members of the community. During the last year the organisation has gone on to develop further a wide infrastructure for creative industries both within the centre, Farnham and Godalming.

The Maltings continue to develop as an organisation both internally and externally and this year successfully completed the first stage of the South Wing development creating greater capacity. The organisation continues to work on behalf of the Arts council to manage a 3-year Rural Touring Initiative that Waverley benefits directly from in rural areas. It has established a creative business start up scheme, radically improved the workshop programme on offer and increased the uptake of courses. The Youth Theatre groups have flourished and are seeking to appoint a full time Youth Theatre Officer.

Audiences have increased substantially and the organisation has been instrumental in delivery a number of partnership projects in Waverley communities in conjunction with the Council providing value for money to the Council.

Godalming Museum Trust

Godalming Museum aims to promote the enjoyment and relevance of the heritage of the town and its surrounding villages and to encourage and support lifelong learning. It does this by collecting, safeguarding and making accessible local artefacts and knowledge within a welcoming, stimulating and inclusive environment.

The Museum continues to provide excellent services considering it only has one paid member of staff. This is no easy task. The Museum has also endeavoured to expand its work within local communities in Godalming, such as Aaron’s Hill/Ockford Ridge projects. Much work has been done to maintain and develop the children’s holiday activities and the Museum is working with local schools to develop its loan boxes. With support from Godalming Town Council the Trust has employed a part time visitor services administrator who is developing and supporting training opportunities for the many volunteers upon which the Museum depends and contributing to the overall improvement in customer service. Overall a good year and continued financial support is essential.

Haslemere Educational Museum

The aim of the organisation is to forward and advance the study of science, literature and fine arts by means of a well-equipped museum of natural history and objects of art and of a scientific, literary and historical nature.

The Museum continues to work proactively delivering a wide range of activities for the local community as well as preserving and exhibiting the collections for the wider community. This year the funding provided through the Heritage Lottery Fund for the education officer will expire and will therefore have an impact on the museums available resources. In addition the Museum needs to redecorate externally, install a secondary boiler system and undertake improvements in response to the Access audit all adding to their annual maintenance and development costs.

Haslemere Hall

The hall exists for the use of the residents of Haslemere and the surrounding area. It provides a venue for a range of community and cultural activities including cinema, concerts, and theatre.

The Haslemere Hall continues to provide a valuable service as a venue in Haslemere and offers opportunity for local residents to attend cultural events and activities.

The venue is a valuable asset to the town and is mainly run by volunteers with a small paid staff who undertake an enormous amount of work. The running costs are significant in relation to the income derived from current activities and with the need to decorate the facility the organisation is facing difficulties in covering their costs. The Town Council has also been approached for funding but have however declined any offer of revenue funding. The facility has stated that it does not have documented health and safety risk assessments or policies, which must be addressed. The Haslemere Health check has also highlighted the need to develop audiences further and officers would like to suggest that Waverley works with the organisation to investigate ways of developing the programme and the audiences with the aim of increasing revenue and the longer-term sustainability of the venue.

PROMOTING SOCIAL INCLUSION, CHALLNEGING SOCIAL EXCLUSION – THEME 8

Haslemere Initiative – promoting “A Place to Be” Youth Project

The aim is following a pilot project this year to establish a youth club in the Haslewey centre on Friday evenings with 4 youth workers employed for 4 hours on a Friday and a manager employed 10hrs per week to manage and develop the scheme. The aim is in response to needs identified by the Haslemere initiative to provide a safe meeting place for young people in Haslemere especially targeting those who have difficulty in accessing other youth provision.

The project will assist Waverley in delivering its corporate priorities in relation to young people. The project is founded on a pilot project, which has been well received by young people. Waverley is aware of the needs of young people in the area and acknowledges that staff are required to operate the scheme if it is to be sustained and therefore revenue funding is essential.

However whilst funding is being sought from a range of other sources it is not clear from the application how the County Council’s Youth services are contributing to this project, as they are not identified as a key partner.

Farnham Youth Project

The FYP is aimed at meeting the need for the provision of youth services in Farnham. The FYP building will be a dedicated youth centre whose purpose is to be a ‘one stop’ centre aimed at reaching out to all young people in Farnham and the surrounding areas. The facility will provide a youth café/drop in area open 3 hours per day 5 days a week and 6 hours on a Saturday, to be augmented during the school holidays. The venue will also be hired to groups and organisations delivering activities for young people. The venue will provide a base for a range of agencies delivering targeted work with young people at risk of social or educational exclusion. The principal being a young person centred approach under one roof where young people can benefit from a range of services, advice and support.

This project meets a number of key Council objectives in relation to young people and social inclusion in particular. This will be the first facility of its type in Waverley and a wide range of partners supports it. Facilities of this type in other authorities have proved to be extremely successful and beneficial to young people. The need for revenue support in the early stages of development is necessary (especially as the previously identified revenue support from the FCCT is having to be re-directed to fund some of the capital shortfall). It is anticipated however that as the facility becomes more popular the need for revenue support will diminish. The need for this type of facility has been identified in the Council’s current Youth Service Best Value Review.

Sculpt-it

Sculpt-it is a community arts organisation that exists to: develop opportunities, build new partnerships, communicate with new and difficult-to-reach communities and develop new projects. The organisation works with children, young people and adults with learning difficulties and physical disability. Sculpt-it operates from two studio spaces, in Witley and Farncombe, as well as running an extensive outreach programme.

The funding will be used to support the Director and two associates to develop and sustain weekly workshops in both studios as well as developing new outreach initiatives and draw in more money for projects.

The workshops and projects are of high quality and encourage activity for a wide range of community groups. The funds will provide the Director with the opportunity to itemise resources and continue to itemise resources, providing a high-quality service for the most vulnerable groups in the community.
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