Community First is an £80m government-funded initiative that will run for four years, until March 2015. The programme will help communities come together to identify their strengths and local priorities in order to plan for their future and become more resilient. It will fund both new and existing community groups. 9 wards in Dudley Borough are eligible for the Community First Neighbourhood Matched Fund – an initiative that provides local communities with the means to address their own priorities.
In order to get local projects funded, people, groups and organisations in the eligible wards need to register (with the Community Development Foundation) and work together to set up a local panel. The panel then sets up a website, asks people in their ward to suggest priorities for action, and decides upon projects for funding in their area. Every £1 provided in Community First funding must be matched by a similar amount of in-kind donations (this means donations of cash, services, free products or volunteer time).
To find out more including which wards in Dudley Borough are eligible and what support the group behind Our Society in Dudley Borough are offering to the programme, visit www.dudleycommunityfirst.posterous.com
A government funded programme to develop Community Organisers will recruit and train 500 senior community organisers, along with a further 4,500 part-time voluntary organisers, over four years. The role is described on the community organisers website as follows:
Organisers are dedicated, motivated people who will build trust, respect and networks through dialogue and a systematic, broad-based local listening process that ignites the impulse to act. RE:generate, our lead training partner, will train the organisers using their ‘Root Solution Listening Matters’ approach.
The work of the community organisers will enable people to take action on their own behalf and have the power and confidence to tackle the issues which are important to them, rather than wait for the local authority or the government to do it for them. It will also enable them to make the most of new local community rights and opportunities to achieve their own aspirations.
Community organisers will be recruited and hosted by local community host organisations, often in deprived areas of the country. They will listen to residents in their homes, on the street and where they gather, and they will listen to public service and third sector workers, small businesses and local institutions to help develop their collective power to act together for the common good, as identified locally.
Dudley will receive the second wave of organisers, with five of them to be hosted by the Centre for Equality and Diversity, and starting work in Dudley this December.
Through Our Society in Dudley Borough we are keen to make links between Community First Panels, Community Organisers, and the BIG Local area in East Coseley.