With two town councils and one shadow parish council involved in the Neighbourhood Community Budget pilots – the forerunner to the Our Place programme and totalling 12 areas across England – the parish sector has been involved right from the outset in a new approach to bringing the community together to shape public services.
Momentum has since grown and 17 parish councils have led a range of projects funded and supported by Our Place from 2013 until now. These include Trowbridge Town Council in Wiltshire who have delivered a place management project involving a car park review and new Masterplan adopted and Wye-with-Hinxhill Parish Council in Kent focusing on adult social care and working closely with Kent County Council to integrate the new Community Connector with the existing Community Warden service. In addition 10 parish councils have also been funded and supported under the new Emerging Potential programme over the last 12 months to lay the foundations for more sustainable joined up service delivery in their areas. Ivybridge Town Council in Devon, for example, have led a project to sustain local youth service provision in the town. One of the main roles played by NALC and county associations has been to promote and signpost grant and direct support opportunities to parishes and we will be doing this again in 2015/16, as well as for a number of other community rights support programmes.