North Yorkshire County Council’s Stronger Communities team is taking a new approach to how it works with groups around the county to support them in delivering services or activities that benefit people’s health and wellbeing.
The team has just completed a series of ten roadshows to launch its new investment prospectus, Inspire, Achieve, Innovate, and invite feedback on its plans. About 500 people, including community and voluntary groups, attended the events.
Feedback has been positive, with praise for the prospectus’s collaborative nature, the authority’s commitment and the innovative approach the Stronger Communities programme, which began three years ago, takes to improving health and wellbeing.
With its new prospectus, Stronger Communities aims to work even more closely with voluntary and community groups, operating in partnership as well as offering financial support.
The team strives to develop communities’ abilities to look after themselves even more than they already do, reducing demand on services by investing in preventative activities and helping to mitigate cuts in public services.
It is keen to support a wide range of small projects, community events and local activities as well as partnering with and investing in organisations that want to develop larger scale services and projects that align with the County Council’s priorities.
County Councillor David Chance, Executive Member for Stronger Communities, said: “We are facing unprecedented financial challenges, so it is important to make sure that services and support are cost-effective, good-quality and high-performing. We know there are many community groups, voluntary organisations and service providers already providing good, cost-effective support for children, young people and families, people with disabilities and older people and that they have more ideas for developing new ways of working.
“We would like to see as many communities as possible benefiting from our Stronger Communities programme and have designed this investment prospectus to support their ideas and ambitions, whether it’s small one-off projects, piloting new ideas or developing large scale, long-term services.
“Above everything, we want to see this prospectus deliver action, build and strengthen strategic partnerships and encourage informal networks which help to reduce inequalities, increase social connections and improve the wellbeing of our communities.”
The three programmes of funding available will support smaller community projects, the development of partnerships to deliver improvements and innovative projects that meet challenges to the delivery of services. The focus will be on the programme’s priorities of libraries, children, young people and families, community transport and older people and adults.
The roadshows were delivered in conjunction with Community First Yorkshire, which provides infrastructure support to the community and voluntary sector across the county.