Headlines: April 24th, 2014

Over 100 communities have signed up to the Our Place programme which provides support for is designing and and delivering local services that focus on local priorities and reduce costs.

This major expansion of the programme, which brings together councillors, public servants, voluntary and community organisations and the community themselves to tackle local issues and revolutionise the way an area works, follows a successful pilot scheme.

The Department of Communities and Local Government has made £4.3 million of funding available to support new areas to adopt this approach, through grants, direct support and shared learning opportunities.

The new areas cover between them a total population of 1.8 million and are looking at a wide range of issues including crime, health inequalities, energy efficiency, social isolation and employment and skills.

Staple Hill, South Gloucestershire, is a typical example of a community where today local partners looked at ways to tackle unemployment. The project is led by South Gloucester Council for Voluntary Service and aims to empower local people in Staple Hill to become the solution to some of the issues the area faces. These include employment and skills, health, crime and issues facing young people.

Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society said: “Using local knowledge to help solve local issues is often the most effective way of making communities stronger and safer. Our Place is about putting real power into people’s hands to improve where they live and I hope it will act as an inspiration to other communities.”

Steve Wyler Chief Executive Officer of Locality said:
“We’re looking forward to working with 123 areas from across England implementing using the Our Place approach to transform local public services. Community groups, local authorities, parish and town councils, and local businesses will work in partnership with local citizens to bring change to public service delivery. We relish the challenge of supporting these areas to produce development strategies and operational plans, to see local services where local people have taken charge in addressing the issues that matter the most to them, and to recruit champions who will help us share this model more widely.”