Northern Powerhouse Minister Andrew Percy has announced a cash boost of almost £1 million to community-led efforts across the North of England, giving local people greater control over local services.
Many of the 15 projects receiving funding will focus on offering personalised schemes to improve people’s health and general wellbeing. Other schemes will tackle social isolation, and help people find a job.
Northern Powerhouse Minister Andrew Percy, pictured above, said:“Making a real difference to people’s lives doesn’t always happen by Whitehall diktat. It also comes from the dedication and inventiveness of local people who know their area best and the issues most important to them. That’s why we’re supporting these innovative projects which provide tailored services that make a real difference to people’s lives.”
The Communities Fund
The Communities Fund was launched in December 2016 and totals £3.25m. It is targeted at providing dedicated and personalised support to some of the most vulnerable people in society and those people who are struggling to manage.
Similar programmes have shown that significant benefits can be achieved from small amounts of funding that help local community projects to try different approaches to local priorities. For example, a community-led project in Ilfracombe, Devon, has addressed the high levels of youth unemployment in the town by creating 50 apprenticeships. This has saved around £1m in benefits and is now funded by local partners. It has since expanded to 100 annual apprenticeships, with more than 50 young people helped into full time employment.
More than 15 projects in the North of England will receive a share of over £1m including:
Goole Youth Action aims to help six young people (16-19 years) not in education, employment or training (NEET) who are involved in anti-social behaviour. A life coach will be appointed to help them address a variety of challenges (housing, unemployment) and promote opportunities open to them (further education, career advice, youth enterprise).
A community hub in Scunthorpe that will look to integrate a number of family support services such as family health and adult education in a single location; the funding will pay for a community hub leader who will work with Oasis Community Partnerships to plan services in the hub that will meet local needs.
A Lancashire community will be given access to new key workers who will work closely with GP surgeries and other carers. They will suggest additional activities and treatments that will help improve the long-term health of patients in addition to ‘medicine-only’ treatments. For example, if someone is suffering from high blood pressure, as well as medication they could also be given support to join in with local exercise or cooking classes.
A similar project in Sunderland will address the relatively high use of emergency services among people with complex needs such as poor mental health and drug and alcohol misuse.
Key workers will be available to offer advice on where to go for long-term treatment of health issues. This will reduce the reliance on emergency services and instead provide vulnerable people with the right treatment to help them rebuild their lives.