Community control agenda charged up parish power

Half a million people in communities right across the country are to benefit from new funding and advice this year thanks to their local parish and town councils.

Parishes from Cornwall to Kent and the Isle of Wight to Worcestershire are helping put their communities in the driving seat and on the road to more influence of local services through securing money and other help from new Government initiatives.

Launched in February, the Community Rights programme runs from 2015 to 2018 and is aimed at helping local people tackle everything from unemployment to health issues, with millions of pounds of investment being made available by Government as a result of campaigning by the National Association of Local Councils and other bodies.

Seventeen parish councils are at the vanguard of the Our Place and the Community Ownership and Management of Assets programmes – run by Locality and other partners including NALC – designed to give people more power over local services and budgets in their neighbourhoods and to support partnerships between local public bodies to develop asset transfer projects.

NALC is encouraging parish and town councils get involved and take up the support on offer and use the My Community Advice Service and My Community Network to access expert help and advice to parishes and communities who want to find out more about taking control over local land and buildings, local services, the local economy and Neighbourhood Planning.

Cllr Ken Browse, chairman of NALC, said: “It is really exciting to see parish councils at the forefront of a growing movement where more and more communities are taking greater control over local services, decisions and assets. After all, local people know their area better than anyone; and they know the solutions and action needed to improve things and make their community even better.
“As the chief flag-waver for England’s localist powerhouse I can only applaud the 17 parish councils who have chosen to lead the way by securing these new resources to help them improve the lives of local people. I hope more parishes follow their lead and tap into the support on offer through the Community Rights programme.”

To find out more information about My Community programmes:
Our Place is programme led by Locality and supported by NALC, which aims to give people more power over local services and budgets in their neighbourhoods. In this programme the following parish and town councils for 2015/16 are leading the way with this in their community: Littlehampton, Freshwater, Patchway, Hagley, Withyam, Bognor Regis, Falmouth, St Austell and Selsey.
The Community Ownership and Management of Assets (COMA) programme supports partnerships between local public bodies (including local principal authorities) and community groups (including parish councils) to develop multiple asset transfer or single, ground-breaking asset projects. Eight parish councils are leading or supporting areas under the COMA programme in 2015/16 and they are: East Hampshire, Southborne, Broadstairs and St Peter’s, Newquay, Kingsbridge, Newton Abbott, Ledbury and Bishops Castle."

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