Report by the Director of Infrastructure and

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					                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.   Background
     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
        cultural themes.
     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
        project criteria.
     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
                      Advantages                                   Disadvantages
       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. Implementation

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

5. Recommendation
   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