WNDC Board Report
Report by the Director of
Infrastructure and Development
Paper Reference: 2010-01-06-02
Agenda Item: 6
19th January 2010
Subject: Stronger Communities Fund
Advice: That the Board:
1. Approve The extension of the Stronger Communities Fund
boundary to cover the Local Authority area of South
Northamptonshire Council and Daventry District Council.
This report briefly outlines the background to the project;
the current area of benefit; the advantages and
disadvantages of boundary changes and funding available
during 2010/11 for project implementation.
1.1 In June 2008 WNDC Board agreed to set up the Stronger Communities Fund that
would target investment into local community initiatives around the sports and
1.2 After considerable project development work, the WNDC Board approved the
Stronger Communities Fund project on the 16th September 2008 with an allocation of
£806,250 (including PMR) capital funding over three years to support the increased
engagement of community and voluntary groups in sports and culture across West
1.3 In March 2009 the Stronger Communities Fund Panel (SCF Panel) agreed to undertake
a project evaluation to allow WNDC, Northamptonshire Community Foundation (NCF)
and the SCF panel to gain a full understanding of the projects’ performance to date;
which would investigate and report on achievements and highlight areas where
improvements could be made.
1.4 On the 1st December 2009 a paper on the evaluation was taken to WNDC Board which
highlighted a number of changes which would improve the project including the
1.5 The investment criteria for the Stronger Communities Fund work extremely well and
the Panel have successfully worked with the current criteria to allocate funding. One
specific criteria which has been discussed a number of times by the SCF Panel is that
of the current geographical area of benefit/funding footprint. From time to time the
panel have received funding requests and consistent lobbying from organisations that
are just outside the current boundary and have put the case forward that they are or
will be affected by the growth agenda.
2. Current Area of Benefit
2.1 The current approved area of benefit as outlined in the Growth Areas Fund (GAF)
Project Application Form Stage 2 is as follows:
o Offer a range of grants to community and voluntary sector organisations
within West Northamptonshire; including the villages and settlements outside
of the three main towns.
2.2 Approved Board report of 16th September 2008 states that “WNDC has consulted with
the relevant local authorities and community and voluntary sector groups to establish
the best “fit” in terms of the geographical area of benefit. The intention is to identify
those communities which are most likely to be directly affected by the growth plans
for Towcester, Northampton and Daventry; including the surrounding villages”. A map
was produced which has been attached for your information (Appendix 1).
2.3 The geographical criteria in the Terms of Reference state that “The fund has been set
up by WNDC to support cultural and sporting activities delivered by the Voluntary
and Community sector working in areas likely to be affected by the growth of
Towcester, Northampton and Daventry (including the villages and communities
immediately adjacent to those towns).
2.4 The Stronger Communities Fund (SCF) Panel have used the above approved criteria
since September 2008 to successfully allocate GAF 3 monies across West
3. Extending the Area of Benefit
3.1 To help the Board decide whether the funding footprint should be extended the table
below considers the advantages and disadvantages of that change.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Extending the WNDC Boundary for the SCF Project
Increased number of applications Project funding is finite – only one year
left of funding
Increased number of beneficiaries May have to reduce the level of grants
made to cope with the increased
WNDC widen their community Funding organisations a significant
investment reach distance from WNDC’s UDA may not fit
with the organisation’s statutory purpose.
Promotion of WNDC in new areas
LA boundary areas are clear which will
make SCF boundary clear
4.1 At the time of writing this report the current project spend for this financial year was
approximately £256,000 with another 2 panel meetings scheduled until the end of this
financial year (12th Feb & 12th March).
4.2 A flexible approach has been taken in regards to project funding across financial years due
to the nature of grant giving projects. If the project has an over or under spend this year
the funding for 2010/11 will be adjusted (subject to approval by WNDC Executive).
Financial spend is closely monitored by Northampton Community Foundation as well as
WNDC to ensure effective project delivery.
2008/09 2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 Total
Actual Under-spend Forecast Forecast
Capital Costs £193,622 £56,378 £301,747 £256,378 £751,747
WNDC £14,037 £4,088 £21,878 £18,588 £54,503
Total Project £207,659 £323,625 £274,966 £806,250
The Board is asked to agree that the boundary of the eligible area for the Stronger
Communities Fund be extended to cover the whole of Daventry District and South
Northamptonshire District Council areas. Northampton Borough is already within the
eligible area. The project selection criteria to support cultural and sporting activities
delivered by the voluntary and community sector working in areas likely to be affected by
growth should remain. The SCF panel will need to ensure that the further away from
WNDC’s urban development areas the greater the need there will be to demonstrate that
the location of the project will be affected by growth.
Appendix A: Map of SCF Area of Benefit