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Agenda Item No. 7

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment): 14th April 2015

 

Report of the Director of Development Services

 

Barry Communities First Cluster Progress Report

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To provide Committee with an update on the progress of the Barry Communities First Cluster programme to date.  The report also advises on the next stage in the progression of the programme.

Recommendation

1.         That Members note the progress.

Reason for the Recommendation

1.         To apprise Committee of the progress of the Barry Communities First Cluster programme.

Background

2.         Communities First (CF) is a Welsh Government funded, community-focused anti-poverty programme supporting the Welsh Government’s Tackling Poverty Action Plan.  The aim is to contribute, alongside other national initiatives, to narrowing the education/skills, economic and health gaps between the most deprived and more affluent areas of Wales by supporting and encouraging local actions that address the long-term causes and effects of poverty.

3.         CF originated in 2002 and has had a presence in the Barry area since then. However, the programme was reviewed in 2012 and changed quite significantly in 2013 to the specific anti-poverty programme that it is today.  The Barry Cluster is one of 52 Clusters spread throughout Wales in areas where there is a significant amount of deprivation.

4.         The Barry CF Cluster programme was initially created in 2012 following an analysis of local and national data, mainly via the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation (WIMD) and using other associated evidence and research.  The programme runs in the following Lower Super Output Areas (LSOA's); Castleland 1, Castleland 2, Cadoc 1, Cadoc 3, Cadoc 4, Court 3, Gibbonsdown 1, Gibbonsdown 2, Gibbonsdown 4 and Buttrills 2.  These areas were chosen because unfortunately they fall into the bottom 20% of the most deprived areas in the Vale of Glamorgan.  The population of the Cluster area is 16,500 according to the 2011 Census.

5.         The Cluster programme has three themes; Healthy, Prosperous and Learning Communities.

6.         At the time of the transition period in 2012 -13, Cabinet agreed that the authority would become the Lead Delivery Body (LDB) for the Cluster programme, providing line management support, accountability and strategic direction.

7.         The original Cluster Delivery Plan from 2012 has been reviewed each year and the team has recently started working with the 2015 -16 plan for which the Welsh Government has just awarded funding of £580,912.  The plan has been developed using the expertise of key stakeholders and residents in the community who have taken part in consultations about the issues, setting priorities and enabling CF to develop appropriate targeted activities.

8.         Working closely with partners such as Jobcentre Plus, Cardiff & Vale Citizens Advice Bureau  and Public Health Wales and other sections of the Council, the Barry CF Cluster programme has  provided a great deal of practical support and advice to the residents who live in the Cluster area as well as Barry and the Vale as a whole.  For example, our annual Jobs Fair provides an opportunity for all the residents of the Vale and not just the Cluster area.

9.         The programme has added value to existing programmes e.g. it supports the Families First 'Putting Families First' project as well as acting as a key information provider and bridge between residents of the Cluster and key service providers.

10.      The programme has strong links to the two other anti-poverty programmes in the Vale; Families First and Flying Start, with staff working together to ensure best use of key resources.  It is now planned that the three programmes will work even more closely together as one of the few 'early adopter' partnerships throughout Wales in 2015 - 16, using a combined outcomes framework.  The programme is also closely integrated at a strategic and operational level with the Council's wider regeneration agenda.  Castleland Renewal Area falls within the Cluster area, and many projects being delivered under the Welsh Government funded 'Tackling Poverty' grant scheme fall within the Cluster.  The Cluster team is applying its skills in consultation with the local community in this respect. Outputs of the different programmes hence reinforce each other and lead to better outcomes for local communities.

11.      The work of the Cluster team is overseen by a Partnership Board which comprises representatives from the community, the third sector/business as well as statutory sector representatives.  The Board is also supported and advised by other officers of the Council to ensure the programme operates effectively at an operational and strategic level.  The Partnership Board has been empowered to make many operational decisions as set out in a Memorandum of Understanding with the Council.

Relevant Issues and Options

12.      The Barry Communities First Cluster Delivery Plan for 2015 – 16 aims to build on the extensive amount of work undertaken across the three themes since the new Cluster’s inception in March 2013 and is broadly on track to fulfil the obligations set out in the original Cluster application of 2012.  In many cases it is ahead of targets.

13.      The work and expertise of the Cluster team continues to progress and inform this plan; why we do it, what we do and how we do it.  The team continues to improve its knowledge about the issues and challenges facing Barry Cluster residents and how poverty affects their everyday lives.

14.      As knowledge and expertise has improved, the team has increased the already considerable amount of partnership work undertaken with others, e.g. with Barry Jobcentre Plus; members of the Cluster team visit the Jobcentre on a weekly basis to recruit JCP 'customers' onto 'Prosperity' courses and to take up referrals from Jobcentre Plus advisers to assist Cluster residents find work. Partnership relationships on the whole are very positive and the strong commitment of key partners is vital to the ongoing success of the programme.

15.      The Cluster recently undertook an independent review of its Partnership Board with the assistance of the Welsh Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA).  The results of the review not only proved very helpful in assisting us improve the effectiveness of the Board, it also gave reassurance that the Board and the Cluster programme are generally working very effectively.

16.      Within the three themes, each project has a distinct purpose but also links with others e.g. the Activate project has strong links with the Transition project.

17.      Programme overview

Prosperity theme -

A. Helping People to Develop Employment Skills and find Work; Employment 25+ 

(increases opportunities for residents and help them take full advantage of employment opportunities)

B. Reducing Youth Unemployment and disengagement; Sticking at it

(provides support for those not in employment, education or training (NEETS) who are furthest from the employment market)

C. Reducing Youth Unemployment and disengagement; Jobs Growth Wales

(provides support to young unemployed people with barriers to employment)

D. Promoting Digital Inclusion; Digital Hub

(provides IT facilities and training and build confidence around using a range of online services)

Learning theme -

A. Promoting Family Learning in the Early Years Supporting Families to be Engaged in their Children’s Education; joint CF and Putting Families First project

(engages with parents providing activities and support to vulnerable families)

B. Supporting Young People to Do Well at School; Securing success in the Big school - Transition

(provides support to children and families moving from Primary to Secondary school)

Health theme -

A. Promoting Physical Wellbeing; Activate

(aims to reduce health inequities through education, support and physical activity)

B. Promoting Mental Wellbeing; Building Confidence

(targets residents who have mental health barriers to employment via 1 to1 support and group work sessions)

C. Encouraging Healthy Eating; 5 a day

(aims to reduce health inequities through targeted healthy eating, advice, support, mentoring and activities)

D. Reducing Risks;

i) Giving up

(aims to reduce levels of smoking by promoting support services).

ii) Staying safe

(provides sexual health training to young people and parents including a 'Speakeasy’ Programme, 1:1 support, Cluster Condom Card Scheme, and sexual health education workshops)

iii) Impact

(provides advice on substance misuse and other available services, including workshops, 1:1 advice and specialist support services).

18.      Targets for each of the projects are set each year building on the outputs and outcomes of the previous year and are managed via the on-line Aspireview system. Performance of all clusters is monitored by Welsh Government via this system, which measures progress via a Red, Amber and Green 'flagging' system to identify whether a project is on track or not.

19.      Similar to previous Delivery Plans, the 2015 -16 Delivery Plan has been endorsed by the CF Partnership Board and by all major partners who work with us in Barry, who have agreed to ongoing support for all the projects outlined above (and in more detail in Appendix 2) at a consultation/workshop (Sept ’14). The event was well attended, and led to the bid being endorsed.

20.      Team members are also involved in a number of partnerships and joint events with others e.g.

  • Vale of Glamorgan Council Depts.;

Employment & Training Team

Schools

Youth Service

Libraries

Flying Start

Families First

Adult Community Learning Team

Regeneration team

Business & Employment Team

  • Cardiff and Vale College
  • Jobcentre Plus
  • Careers Wales
  • Public Health Wales
  • Cardiff & Vale Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)
  • Vale Centre for Voluntary Services (CVS)
  • Vale Volunteer Bureau (VVB)
  • Careers Wales
  • Newydd Housing Association
  • People Centre, Dunlin Court
  • People Business Wales
  • Barry YMCA
  • Victoria Park & Margaret Alexander Community Centres
  • Coastlands Church and Parkside Church

21.      Since creating the original Cluster Delivery Plan, the team has also actively looked to work with partners on joint-funding bids e.g. with Vale CVS in respect of Communities 2.0 which has created a new Digital Inclusion project, and 'Get the Vale Online’ from May 2014 until March 2015.

22.      Due to the introduction of a Cardiff & Vale CAB Shared Outcomes project, CF now caters for the needs first identified in 2012 by a combination of the 'Digital inclusion’ project and the CAB project.  Significant progress in this area in 2014-15 and it is intended to build on this partnership further in 2015 -16.  The project provides residents with access to IT and CAB advice and support, enabling them to get online, apply for jobs and save money by paying bills online.

23.      The Jobs Growth Wales programme has been the only one of our projects where our target has not been essentially met due to the lack of placements provided by the Welsh Government-appointed work based learning provider. However, a new JGW contract provider is in place for 2015 - 16.

24.      The team also has a working partnership with the 4 Cardiff Clusters and the Cardiff Council support team.  This has resulted in ongoing training and funding bids e.g. with the Cardiff & Vale CAB.  Also, a Shared Outcomes projects with Natural Resources Wales (Come outside) and StreetGames also continue to thrive.

25.      For further information on what impact our projects make on Cluster residents, see the case Studies highlighted in Appendix 1.

26.      For further information on our targets and achievements in 2014 -15, see Appendix 2.

27.      The Cluster also runs a specific partnership project in four local schools, the Club Innov8 project.  This project has received a lot of publicity due to the 'cutting-edge' nature of the work and is therefore worth highlighting.  Funding for the project comes from each school providing part of their Pupil Deprivation Grant and the total is matched by the Welsh Government via Barry CF Cluster. For 2015 - 16, the fund is £120,000 in total.

28.      Club Innov8 works with 4 Cluster schools; Bryn Hafren Comprehensive School, Cadoxton Primary, Jenner Park Primary and Colcot Primary (Colcot has withdrawn for 2015 -16 but has been replaced by Palmerston School).  The overall aim is to inspire and motivate pupils and their parents to further enhance their level of understanding and to engender enthusiasm around science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and information technology, and the potential career paths available through these routes.  The project provides an opportunity to introduce and deliver various methods of learning using innovative vehicles such as Lego, digital technology, programming and coding which have had a positive impact on the community and pupils within the Vale of Glamorgan.

29.      The Big Learning Company is also involved in the steering of the project, providing links to other appropriate organisations and monitoring and evaluating the project. For example, they take the lead in working with the 'young researchers' on subjects, methodology and presenting outcomes.

30.      Digital technology is now so ubiquitous that reinforcing our children with an underpinning knowledge of STEM related subjects and developing both computational thinking and programming skills in the CF Cluster of schools in the Vale of Glamorgan is now more important than ever before and it is intrinsically linked to future employability.  The project particularly targets girls.

31.      Within the 3 Primary schools, all pupils from Year 2 to Year 6 have had the opportunity to experience learning with Lego and new initiatives associated with Club Innov8.  The delivery of this experience is enhanced by utilising other learning platforms such as Kodu, Hopscotch, NXT Mindstorms Robotics and Lego Education etc. that captures the attention of the participants and promotes the enthusiasm of learning new skillsets.  This engagement is having a positive effect on learning outcomes for all concerned, particularly in respect of attendance, attainment and confidence-building. 

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

32.      The Council was awarded an additional £580,912 in February of this year to run the CF Cluster programme for 2015 -16.  The project is 100% grant funded and provides a net contribution towards the Vale of Glamorgan management costs. Twelve officers deliver the programme, all of whom are employed by the Council.

33.      It is unlikely the Council will be informed about the future of the CF programme beyond March 2016 before late 2015.  Officers are engaging with Welsh Government about future funding.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

34.      The project aims in part to achieve a more sustainable local economy by supporting people back into work, particularly sustainable work.  The programme also strives for sustainability by encouraging Cluster residents to improve their health and wellbeing by making more positive lifestyle choices, particularly around smoking cessation, exercise and weight loss.  An important emphasis is placed on residents improving their vocational skills and learning opportunities via the Prosperity projects as well as working with parents on the Learning projects.

35.      In addition, there are synergies with wider regeneration initiatives such as links to employment in new schemes and developments e.g. the new Asda store on the Waterfront.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

36.      The Council has entered into a grant agreement with the Welsh Government.

Crime and Disorder Implications

37.      The CF programme has some actions that are relevant to issues relating to crime and disorder due to the programme enhancing the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of people and communities within the Cluster area.

38.      The team also works closely with local police on various projects during the school holidays e.g. the consultation around the regeneration of the George St play area in Castleland.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

39.      By its very nature, the CF programme promotes and includes actions that seek to provide equality of opportunity.

Corporate/Service Objectives

40.      CF has key links to corporate objectives relating to economic and social wellbeing and Regeneration, as well as links to housing quality and renewal.

41.      The Board also has a number of key managers from related agencies e.g. the Chief Executive of the Vale CVS and Cardiff & Vale CAB attend as representative of their organisations.  The partnership between Families First, Flying Start and CF is overseen and supported by the Council's Strategy and Partnership Manager who also supports the Local Service Board, providing a link between the anti-poverty agenda of all three programmes with the work and policy direction of the Board.

Policy Framework and Budget

42.      This report is for information only.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

43.      The CF Cluster programme was developed in full consultation and involvement with partners, stakeholders and the community through a series of events.  All ward Members of CF Cluster wards are all regularly apprised of performance and delivery in their role as Partnership Board members representing their local communities.  As this report is for information only, ward Members have not been specifically consulted on the report.

Background Papers

Barry CF Cluster programme April 2015 to March 2016 Delivery Plan

 

Barry CF Cluster Community Involvement Plan

 

Barry CF Cluster Club Innov8 evaluation

 

Contact Officer

Colin Davies, Barry Communities First Cluster Manager - Tel. 01446 709784

 

Officers Consulted

Operational Manager, Accountancy

Committee reports, Legal

Operational Manager, Countryside & Economic Projects

 

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas, Director of Development Services

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