It was this time last year that leaders of community organisations in Suffolk were asked to attend consultation meetings about East Suffolk Council’s new Community Partnerships idea.
What more layers of local government I hear you cry?
Well – yes – but this proposal stemmed from two issues. The first was that during the consultation on forming the new East Suffolk Council (ESC) out of SCDC and Waveney, concerns were expressed about the 55 councillors left having to cover larger geographical areas, more town and parish councils, more people, and becoming disconnected from local residents.
Maybe they should have thought more about that one when they formed one great massive council out of two smaller ones- but anyway…..
The second was that ESC had a big pot of money from the New Homes Bonus – their tax on developers – and wanted to find some innovative way of dishing it out.
So eight Community Partnerships have been formed, based on natural grouping of communities, using the new East Suffolk Council ward boundaries as the ‘building blocks’:
- Aldeburgh, Leiston, Saxmundham and villages
- Beccles, Bungay, Halesworth and villages
- Carlton, Colville, Kessingland, Southwold and villages
- Felixstowe Peninsula
- Framlingham, Wickham Market and villages
- Kesgrave, Martlesham and village
- Lowestoft and northern parishes
- Melton, Woodbridge and Deben Peninsula
Last years consultations allowed community leaders to put forward broad priorities for each area, and now the Felixstowe Peninsula Community Partnership have today announced the launch the Small Grant Scheme which is available to voluntary and community groups within the Partnership area.
The scheme is aimed at tackling isolation and loneliness, mental health and emotional wellbeing, physical health, financial hardship and educational attainment.
Funding is available for projects which addresses these priorities while benefiting the wider community. This can include providing interactive wellbeing programme sessions online, putting on physical activities for both individuals and families or starting a befriending project aimed at people who are socially isolated
The scheme offers grants between £250 and £2,000 and applications must be submitted by 4th December 2020.
Who Sits on the Community Partnerships?
Community Partnerships have been formed with the following representation
- Each ESC councillor will sit on their CP – between 4 and 14 ESC councillors per CP area
- Each Suffolk County Council (SCC) councillor will attend the CP that best fits with their SCC division
- All of the town councils within the CP boundary plus one parish council/meeting per ESC Ward
- Suffolk Police and the relevant Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – either Norfolk and Waveney or Ipswich and East Suffolk
- Two voluntary organisations and/or community groups (through Community Action Suffolk)
- Youth and business representatives
- Where relevant, Place Based Initiative – Lowestoft Rising, Leiston Together or Felixstowe Forward
What Resources will they have?
- Each CP will have a £10,000 budget in 2019/20 and then £25,000 per year for the next three years to be spent against the agreed priorities. This funding is from New Homes Bonus
- There will also be a strategic budget of £150,000 in 2019/20 and £300,000 a year for the next three years, overseen by the Community Partnership Board, that CPs can bid into
- Each of the 55 East Suffolk councillors has an Enabling Communities Budget of £7,500
- CPs will be supported by a range of ESC staff, including from the Democratic Services, Communities, Communications, Economic Development and Funding teams
This does mean that there will be less opportunity for community groups to approach their councillor individually for funding as they could previuosly with the enabling community Budget – so if you dont fit the criteria of the CP you will have a harder job obtsinig support.
How Will They Function?
They plan to be informal bodies with a solution-focused workshop style, rather than a formal board or committee with the following remits:
- Focused on priorities identified at annual workshops and based on data (facts and figures) and local insight
- Each CP will have a simple terms of reference and report annually to the ESC Cabinet
- All eight CP Chairs will sit on the Community Partnership Board, alongside key partners including the CCGs and Police, ESC, SCC, Suffolk Association of Local Councils, Community Action Suffolk and the East Suffolk Greenprint Forum
- CPs will evolve organically in each area to reflect local distinctiveness
- Annual forum bringing representatives from all eight CPs together
Cllr Mark Jepson, Chair of the Felixstowe Peninsula Community Partnership, said: “I am delighted to announce the launch of the Small Grant Scheme, which will support our local community across the peninsula. We are fortunate to have some outstanding local organisations, groups and charities, and welcome new groups also to apply. I hope that this fund will provide them with the opportunity to respond to emerging issues and develop community resilience.”