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£11 million to help give Welsh communities a stronger voice

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Community Voice
Release date:
17 12 2012

Projects aimed at helping give thousands of people in Welsh communities a stronger voice in local decision making have benefitted from £11 million of National Lottery grants announced today.

Ten County Voluntary Councils (CVCs) across Wales will use £11,342,121 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Community Voice programme to help communities influence services, policies and decisions that affect them so their needs are better met (full list at the end of the release).

Cardiff Third Sector Council (C3SC) receives £1,457,107 to support ten projects in the area that support a range of groups including disabled people, BME communities, people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and single parents. Managed in partnership with Vale Centre for Voluntary services (VCVS), there will be more than 2,300 beneficiaries over four years.

C3SC Chief Officer Shelia Hendrickson-Brown said: “We are very pleased to have received this funding support from the Big Lottery Fund.  It will support our goal of working in partnership to help shape health services and influence them to be as accessible and relevant as possible for everyone - particularly for people with disabilities, who may face discrimination and often have more difficulty in getting the support that best meets their needs.”

Pembrokeshire Association of Voluntary Services (PAVS) gets £827,667 for eight projects that will engage 4,800 people including carers, older people, young homeless people and people with learning difficulties or visual impairments.

Activities will include a community theatre which explores and identifies ways people can influence the delivery of services and a moving stories project which will produce digital stories exploring the lives of those with diverse needs.

Chief Officer Sue Leonard said: “The Community Voice funding presents an exciting opportunity for voluntary sector groups in Pembrokeshire to do some really innovative work with groups of people who are reluctant, for whatever reason, to engage with public service providers through the “usual” channels. 
“This work will contribute significantly to the Pembrokeshire Local Service Board engagement strategy and offers a real chance to do things differently, leading to stronger communities and better services for Pembrokeshire people.”

Domestic violence victims, lone elderly people and people with a neurological disorder will be among those having greater influence on the design and delivery of services thanks to a £688,316 award to Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations (PAVO). Some six projects will empower 2,750 citizens.

Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations will spend over £2.8 million to empower local people to help deliver and design local services in Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Newport and Monmouthshire.

In north WalesConwy Voluntary Services Council (CVSC) gets £842,999 to manage five projects that enable and encourage people in harder to reach groups to improve service delivery in their communities while Swansea Council for Voluntary Service (SCVS) receives £783,542 for seven projects benefitting over 7,000 people. All projects in Swansea will be linked to the area’s involvement in the World Health Organisation’s European Healthy City Network.

David O’Neill, of CVSC, said: "We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded the grant. This portfolio will enable individuals and groups in the Conwy area to gain the confidence and the ability to express their views and directly influence the provision of the services that are so essential to their daily lives."

Launched by opera singer Paul Potts, the first winner of reality show Britain’s Got talent, Community Voice was open to CVCs to apply for funding and then work in partnership with a wide range of organisations and stakeholders on behalf of local community groups.

“Britain's Got Talent helped me get my voice heard and it's great to hear that £11 million from the Big Lottery Fund will be used to help Welsh communities get their voices heard too,” said Paul who won the talent show in 2007. “It's vital that everyone is given the chance to have their say about local decisions that affect them. Community Voice will help empower people to shape their futures and make a positive, lasting impact for everyone.”

BIG’s Wales’ Director John Rose said: “The funding announced today will provide more of an opportunity for Welsh communities to get their voice heard. It is about people speaking out to influence the decisions that affect their community and their own lives.

“Community Voice will support them to become more sustainable and resilient to future economic, social and environmental challenges as well as developing a stronger sense of community.”

Community Voice was developed after BIG commissioned a study of Citizen Voice Policy and Practice across Wales and the UK. It found that over the last 10 to 15 years Government policy has increasingly recognised the benefits and importance of community engagement and that there was “considerable” value in citizens being able to influence the design and delivery of public services.

Findings also revealed that it could be equally valuable to focus not only on the public sector agenda, but also on ways in which communities can be encouraged to develop their own approaches and solutions to community needs.

On the back of these findings, Community Voice will ensure more people will be able to influence policy and decisions about services in their community, communities and services providers will be able to work together to design and deliver improved services and communities will have increased capacity to conceive and deliver better services and projects.

Longer term outcomes will include improved engagement and participation in the community and people more effectively reporting improved delivery of services which meet their needs.

A full list of awards annouced today - word doc. 48KB.

Further Information

Big Lottery Fund Press Office – Ben Payne: 02920 678 224
Out of hours contact: 07500 951 707
Public Enquiries Line: 08454 102030                          
Textphone:  0845 6021 659
Full details of the Big Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are available on the website: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk

Notes to Editors

• In Wales, the Big Lottery Fund is rolling out close to £100,000 a day in National Lottery good cause money, which together with other Lottery distributors means that across Wales most people are within a few miles of a Lottery-funded project.
• The Big Lottery Fund, the largest of the National Lottery good cause distributors, has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since its inception in June 2004. It was established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
• Since the National Lottery began in 1994, 28p from every pound spent by the public has gone to Good Causes. As a result, over £28 billion has now been raised and more than 383,000 grants given out across the arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.