£1.5million approved to help community projects in South Tyneside
This week, South Tyneside Council’s cabinet approved the allocation of funds which will be administered through the borough’s five Community Area Forums (CAFs) in 2022/23.
The CAFs aim to empower communities by providing grants to projects at a local level as well as giving residents a voice on issues affecting their local neighbourhoods.
The committees cover the Riverside area, Hebburn area, Jarrow and Boldon area, East Shields and Whitburn and West Shields, Cleadon and East Boldon.
Councillor Joanne Bell, cabinet member for governance, finance and corporate services, introduced a report on CAF funding at Wednesday’s (May 25) cabinet meeting at South Shields Town Hall.
Cllr Bell said the funding for 2022/23 “demonstrated the council’s ongoing commitment to empowering communities and devolving decision-making to a local level”.
The cabinet also agreed revised operating procedures for the CAF meetings which, Cllr Bell explained, would set out the rules and procedural process for CAFs in a clearer way.
Cllr Bell added: “To assist transparency and clarity, the procedural process for CAFs to determine individual wards is set out in the body of the report.
“This includes ensuring that the whole CAF is responsible for the decision and if there are dissenting voices, that these are appropriately recorded.”
A report prepared for cabinet clarifies that in the case of a dissenting voice, the project would be “agreed by a majority of members present at the CAF”.
Funding for the five CAFs is split across housing capital schemes, local neighbourhood schemes and environmental capital schemes with a borough-wide budget of £1,510,000.
This includes around £750,000 for housing capital schemes, £260,000 for local neighbourhoods and half a million pounds for environmental capital schemes.
Councillor Anne Hetherington, cabinet member for adults, health and independence, welcomed the continued investment into the borough’s CAFs.
Cllr Hetherington told the meeting: “I just want to endorse this report and say how pleased I am that we have been able to protect this funding to our CAFs.
“I do think it’s vitally important that we do put as much power to our communities as we possibly can and give CAFs the spending power to make a difference in all of our communities across South Tyneside.
“It’s also encouraging that we’re asking groups to apply for external funding and supporting them to do that to bring more money into South Tyneside.
“I do think that’s also vitally important to encourage our economy and bring more funding in.”