Your comments on our stories get things done. Gazette readers have had plenty to say about how the council spends money in the borough – and South Tyneside Council bosses have been listening.
Today, Coun Ed Malcolm, lead member for resources and innovation, outlines the council’s plans for funding Community Area Forums.
South Tyneside Council has earmarked £1.4million to be shared between the borough’s five Community Area Forums.
The money is used to support a range of housing, environmental and social initiatives - providing local neighbourhood solutions to issues raised by residents through their local ward members.
Coun Ed Malcolm, lead member for resources and innovation at South Tyneside Council, said: “We know people want a say in how money is spent and Community Area Forums have an important role in empowering communities and providing residents with a voice on issues that affect their local area.
“Although we are having to having to operate within the limitations of ever decreasing budgets, we remain committed to providing this funding to address those issues that our residents highlight as being important to them.
“Local issues can arise that require funds in-year and we address these local priorities through Community Area Forums.
“The funding also allows local priorities to be met. The money can be used for a variety of uses - from re-decorating a youth club to providing additional litter bins.”
One example of CAF funding making a difference to residents is in the Edhill Avenue area of Simonside, South Shields.
Residents had reported issues of overgrown trees and anti-social behaviour.
CAF money was used to fund the removal of shrubs and to thin down trees to open it up and improve visibility.
This investment has provided a sustainable solution to people’s concerns, while also improving the appearance of the area. The work also complements wider housing regeneration where the council is working with partners.
In addition to providing resources through the forums, the council also works closely with communities to help them access additional funding and support from charities and the voluntary sector.
One of the ways it does this is through an online funding tool which has been developed exclusively for local community and voluntary
groups from across the borough.
The free online resource enables groups to find funding available to them from EU, national, regional and local sources to support a wide range of projects.
The funding search tool features a database of hundreds of grants and other financial assistance, comprehensive funding information, contact details of funding providers, local news and support.
For more information, go to www.southtyneside.gov.uk/communityfunding