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The Caithness Partnership
Community Regeneration Fund

Budget January 2007
17 January 2007
15 November 2006

(update September 2005)

The Community Regeneration Fund (CRF), administered by Communities Scotland, replaces Social Inclusion Partnership (SIP) Funding and the Better Neighbourhood Services Fund, from April 2005. Scottish Executive has prescribed that the CRF will be managed by Community Planning Partnerships and must address the Executive’s Closing the Opportunity Gap objectives and its related target of “promoting community regeneration at the most deprived neighbourhoods through improvements by 2008 in employability, education, health, access to local services, and quality of the local environment.”

Devolved local decision-making involving partners and communities in local delivery arrangements (as precedent by the SIP programme) will be a key element of the CRF.

In Highland, CRF Funding has been allocated to the Wellbeing Alliance (the recognized Community Planning Partnership for Highland). The proscribed use of the CRF funding will be contained in a Regeneration Outcome Agreement (ROA) between the CPP and Communities Scotland. The ROA must to be developed in consultation with partners, local community planning partnerships and communities and should address some or all of the following national priorities:
· Building strong, safe and attractive communities
· Getting people back into work
· Improving health
· Raising educational attainment
· Engaging young people

The WBA Partners and Highland Council have agreed that the Council will continue to act as bank recipient for CRF and to employ a Programme Manager within the Highland Council Policy & Performance Unit.

Scottish Executive guidance states that at least 80% of the CRF should be focused on the 15% “most deprived” data zones in Scotland identified by the SIMD (Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation). The remaining 20% can be used for thematic approaches and Community Planning Partnerships can argue for a greater proportion if they make a robust case.

In Caithness Pultneytown South rates as one of the SIMD 15% most deprived areas in Scotland. Wick South follows Pultneytown under the Index as one of the 20% most deprived areas in Scotland, closely followed by Wick Willowbank North, just outside the worst 20%. Further work is required to analyse and interpret information about need, use of existing resources and how CRF funding might be used to best effect. The needs assessment will be important for the local CPP (Caithness Partnership) to facilitate a shared view about needs and priorities. It has been recommended by the WBA that with reduced funding (less in CRF than there was in SIP) and a broader regeneration agenda, CRF should be focused tightly on objectives and groups. These objectives and groups will be identified as the consequence of a needs assessment.

There will be a CRF budget of £609,000 in 2005-06 in Highland. In addition, £60,000 of Community Voices funding will be available across the area for community engagement projects.

In Caithness there is an indicative CRF annual budget of approximately £60,000 available during the period 2005 – 2008. There will also be the ability to tap into Community Voices funding to support the community engagement element of CRF delivery. Already a proportion of the 2005/6 budget has been committed to assisting the Ormlie project to withdraw from the Social Inclusion Programme, as well as some other projects including support to Community Learning and an Enable Link Project. Spending of CRF in 2006/7 and 2007/8 will be directed by the results of a community needs assessment.

A Working Group of agency staff were brought together to advise and be involved in roiling out CRF in Caithness. Three applications for funds have been made – one from Ormlie Community Association to assist with a childrens/youth project, one from Pulteneytown Peoples Project for a youth worker’s post and one from North Highland College to help provide a Retail Principles course for 15 people largely from the Pulteneytown target area. As a recognized City & Guilds qualification the course with ensure that participants are better equipped to take up employment opportunities within the proposed new retail developments at Wick. The OCA application was rejected on the grounds that, although it is an excellent project, it does not fit with the CRF target area. PPP was granted £8,000 towards the first year of their project, on the understanding that they could come back to CRF for support in years 2 & 3 if the work they were doing is identified in the needs assessment. NHC was granted £7,500 and the Retail Principles course will run from October to December 2005.

The budget remaining for 2005/6 stands at £500. However, it has been confirmed by the Wellbeing Alliance that if more good projects come forward before the start of April 2006 then other money may be made available.

Caithness Partnership facilitated a community/agency meeting of people involved in regeneration activities in the Pultneytown and wider Wick area, providing background information on the employment, social and environmental conditions of the area and allowing the group to reach agree which areas of work are a priority and should be targeted by CRF funding. The results of this needs assessment work will be used both to inform the creation of a Regeneration Outcome Agreement between the Wellbeing Alliance and Scottish Executive, and also to guide regeneration work in the area. Attendees included agency staff and representatives of Wick Youth Club, Pulteneytown Peoples Project, Caithness Citizens Advice Bureau and Pulteneytown Parish Church.

Agreed Priorities were as follows:

Improving Health
Develop opportunities for physical activities
Information Dissemination
Access to affordable healthy food

Getting People Back Into Work
Disjointed Services – Action in one place, then need to go elsewhere to progress this – joining up with employment
Focussed Accessible training targeting at particular opportunities (with childcare and transport addressed)
Funding for Courses

Community Safety
Fear of crime, drugs and vandalism
Anti-social behaviour
Environment - Street Lighting

Youth Engagement/Raising Educational Attainment
Lack of funding to pay people to help & lack of trained volunteers
Lack of sustainability/adequate funding for facilities
Lack of aspiration

All the people who were invited to the needs assessment workshop have been asked to continue work as a sub-group of Caithness Partnership which will oversee CRF activities in the future. The original Working Group of agency staff has been retained as the body that will make recommendations on funding applications, although potentially this may change. Protocol for application to CRF for funding has still to be worked through and agreed. Next meeting will be on 5th December 2005.

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