Agenda Item No 9
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny 25th July 2016
Report of the Head of Regeneration and Planning
Barry Communities First Cluster programme Performance 2015 - 16
Purpose of the Report
- To provide Scrutiny Committee with an update on the progress and performance of the Barry Communities First (BCF) Cluster programme for the reporting period 2015 - 16 and to note its current position.
- To provide the Committee with an update on the developments and the progression of the programme for 2016 - 17 and beyond.
That Committee notes the progress of the 2015 - 16 BCF Cluster programme and Delivery Plan.
Reason for the Recommendation
To keep members of the Scrutiny Committee (Homes and Safe Communities) apprised of the performance and progress of the BCF Cluster programme.
- Communities First (CF) is a Welsh Government-funded, community-focused anti-poverty programme supporting the Welsh Government's Tackling Poverty Action Plan. Alongside other national initiatives, the programme aspires to narrow the education/skills, economic and health gaps between the most deprived and more affluent areas of Wales. It aims to do this by supporting and encouraging local actions that address the long-term causes and effects of poverty.
- CF originated in 2002 and has had a presence in Barry since then (Gibbonsdown & Court and Castleland). However, the programme was reviewed in 2012 and changed quite significantly in 2013 to the specific 'Tackling Poverty' programme that it is today. The Barry Cluster is one of 52 Clusters spread throughout Wales in areas where there is a significant and qualifying level of relative deprivation.
- The BCF Cluster programme was initially created in 2012 and 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 Cluster programme has three themes; Healthy, Prosperous and Learning communities. The programme also has an extensive Community Involvement Plan (CIP), which is essentially a 'statement of intent' as to how the Cluster programme and team engages with the Cluster community.
- The original Cluster Delivery Plan from 2012 has been reviewed each year. These annual Delivery Plans have 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 BCF to develop appropriate targeted activities.
- BCF staff work very closely with other Departments of the Council and external stakeholders such as Glamorgan Voluntary Services (GVS), Jobcentre Plus, Cardiff & Vale Citizens Advice Bureau and Public Health Wales. Virtually all projects involve partnership with other Agencies. This ensures the programme remains relevant; does not duplicate; and makes the most effective use of the resources available.
- BCF now has very strong links to 2 of the Vale's other Tackling Poverty programmes; Flying Start and Families First. Closer alignment of all 3 programmes is being further developed under the auspices of the Vale's Poverty Alignment Group (PAG), which also includes Supporting People and Public Health Wales. The PAG reports to the Public Services Board. Links with Flying Start and Families First are particularly strong due to the fact that the BCF geographic area is virtually the same as that of Flying Start and also because there are now a number of jointly-funded and managed projects between the three programmes e.g. the Putting Families First (PFF) project.
- The importance of multi-agency partnership working to the overall functioning of the BCF programme therefore cannot be overestimated.
- BCF is also overseen by a multi-agency Partnership Board which offers direction and guidance, especially in specialist areas e.g. (in respect of financial advice for Cluster residents) from Cardiff & Vale CAB and Cardiff & Vale Credit Union.
Relevant Issues and Options
- The 2015/16 delivery Plan and targets therein are agreed with Welsh Government when funding is approved. Most targets for 2015 - 16 have been met or exceeded (See Appendix 1 for full breakdown).
- Prosperity - this area covers supporting people into work and is split into services for 16 to 24 yr olds and people aged 25+. Targets are met by the Prosperity team running job clubs, meeting participants on the programme on a 1:1 basis and by events such as vocational training, Jobs Fairs and specific recruitment projects with employers such as Asda. All are run in conjunction with partners e.g. BCF staff visit Barry Job Centre Plus (JCP) on a weekly basis to discuss issues with JCP Advisers and to collect referrals.
- The Jobs Growth Wales (JGW) mentor role ended during the reporting period and instead, the role has been subsumed into the NEETS (Not in Employment Training or Education) mentor role. This decision was taken because the Welsh Government ended their specific JGW programme for Communities First Clusters throughout Wales and also because of the difficulty in securing JGW placements in the Barry area.
- The Digital Drop-In project only just failed to reach its targets but they are within an acceptable intervention rate (less than 15%). This decrease was the result of the previous post-holder leaving and a relatively new member of staff taking on those duties. However, good progress has already been made for the next 6 months period. Due to the partnership work involved, the project also provides a considerable amount of added value due to our multi-agency work with Libraries and Newydd Housing Association.
- Learning - Two Learning projects are currently being run; one is for children moving from Primary School to Secondary School and is called our Transition project and the other is a partnership with Families First, Putting Families First (PFF). This project is designed to work with parents on building confidence to become better parents, improve the way they encourage their children to learn and also to reinforce positive messages about their children attending and doing well at school. The project also encourages parents to take up volunteering opportunities, vocational and accredited training courses and employment.
- Outcomes for these projects overall are good, but there's been a slight drop in achievements in PFF only because the project has moved from a more generic opportunity for parents to a more specifically-targeted project aimed at people with higher levels of need. This has resulted in an increase in the number of referrals from Children's Services and the Families Achieving Change Together team (FACT).
- As well as the regular provision e.g. weekly Catch-Up Club (homework club), BCF also run a number of projects during the school holiday periods. In the summer of 2015 a project was run in conjunction with Parkside Christian Centre and Gibbonsdown Children's Centre to take a group of children to experience the facilities at Atlantic College. In turn, BCF support Atlantic College's Annual Conference where BCF staff provides information and expertise to the students about poverty in Wales.
- The Transition project in particular, has proven very successful at recruiting volunteers to assist in the running of the project and the holiday period activities, particularly from Bryn Hafren Comprehensive School. Students/volunteers then use their experience to boost their CV's and UCAS applications.
- Health - projects are managed by the two Community Wellbeing Coaches who began their employment with Newydd Housing with funding initially provided by the Barry Regeneration Partnership Board, before they transferred to the Vale Council and BCF in 2014.
- Health provision is split into 4 projects; 'Promoting physical Wellbeing, 'Promoting mental Wellbeing', 'Encouraging healthy eating' and 'Reducing risks in sexual health, smoking and substance misuse (to include drugs and alcohol)'.
- Although these haven't achieved the same number of outcomes as the previous year, the outcomes achieved are still quite substantial e.g. 680 people when questioned stated they had a 'positive attitude to improving their physical health' as opposed to 739 previously.
- Community Involvement (CIP) - the 'Pyramid of engagement' model is used to communicate and interact with the Cluster communities, a process which is very similar to 'Co-production'. It begins by 'engaging' with all, moving on to encouraging Cluster residents to become 'participants' in projects. As participants, BCF consult with them and 'involve' them as much as possible in how these projects are delivered and finally they are encouraged to take a degree of 'ownership', sometimes delivering as volunteers but also shaping services. BCF have not been entirely successful at supporting our Cluster residents to reach the highest level e.g. to shape our services at a more strategic level on a regular basis or become Partnership Board members. However, with the introduction this year of the Volunteer Coordinator post with Glamorgan Voluntary Services (GVS), gives confidence that the gap can be bridged and more Cluster residents can be recruited into those roles.
- BCF have a number of 'Shared Outcomes' projects with other organisations. Cardiff & Vale Citizens Advice Bureau provide a Financial Inclusion project which aims to 'Improve Financial capability, manage debt and raise income' for Cluster residents. Although the project has not reached its targets, overall its done well given the nature of the reporting framework i.e. the funders CAB Cymru imposed the same target expectations on the Cardiff & Vale CAB as Clusters with much larger populations. Although the project has failed to meet is targets in respect of the number of residents it agreed to provide a service to, it has done an excellent job in respect of total finances 'gained' or 'written off'. Due to the relatively low numbers, the CAB have agreed to move the Outreach provision from the main office where there is relatively little 'footfall' to the Flying Start building on Gladstone Road for the 2016 - 17 period, so it is expected to see an improvement in this data.
- Club Innov8 - this project included 5 Schools in the area; Bryn Hafren Comprehensive, Cadoxton Primary, Jenner Park Primary, Palmerston Primary and Colcot Primary School. The project also included the Big Learning Company and ran from 2013 until 2016. It was classed as a joint-funded project between the Welsh Government and the schools, who were expected to utilise their Pupil Deprivation Grant (PDG) to fund the project on a 50-50 basis (£120,000 p.a.).
- The Big Learning Company http://biglearningcompany.com was also involved to steer the project, provide links to other appropriate organisations and monitor and evaluate the project.
- The main barrier throughout the project was the inability to persuade other Cluster schools to utilise their PDG and join this excellent project.
- More info about the project here;
- And here;
- As a result of BCF's involvement in this project, it had the opportunity to work with some of the schools mentioned above as part of the Big Learning Company's WG-funded Digital Researchers 'shared outcomes' project, which improved outcomes in the area of 'Transition'.
- During the reporting period BCF also coordinated a number of bespoke projects which related to our Delivery Plan and supported efforts to achieve the agreed outcomes. An example is the Cadoxton Community Project, which involved working in partnership with the Vale Youth Service, Big Learning Company and Cadoxton Youth Project with funding from South Wales Police Youth Trust to address Anti-social behaviour in the Cadoxton area of Barry. The project brought young people together from Cadoxton to develop a small area of land, work together to create murals and gain qualifications.
- The young people met on a regular basis to develop designs for the mural and worked together to paint them. The murals reflect the area by including images of local buildings as well as the coat of arms for the local football team. The murals have since been placed along the wall overlooking Barry Docks which was badly overgrown and needed some care. BCF also worked with the Vale's Parks Department to remove the over-growth in the area including brambles which helped to open up the view. The project included new stone-pathing, two benches and a new bin was installed. More info on this project here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwWrddiFo9M
- BCF recently held a Celebration Event for the young people involved where Certificates were provided and the completed film documenting the work was shown.
- The total number of BCF programme participants for the reporting period was 4118.
- Future of the Cluster programme - the Welsh Government has indicated that the Tackling Poverty programmes should work more closely together and that agenda is being delivered in the Vale via our Poverty Alignment Group. BCF's commitment to the work of this group will therefore continue.
- Welsh Government has not yet made a firm commitment about the future of the Communities First programme beyond March 2017.
- In the next few months we are due to implement a new programme supported by the European Social Fund (ESF), Communities for Work (C4W) which will supplement the Prosperity team's work in the area of providing employability support for our Cluster residents. This project includes a Coordinator, 2 Mentors (Adult and Youth) and a Triage' Administrator. Plans are in place to fully integrate this team into the Cluster programme to ensure effective use of resources and no duplication.
- The C4W programme will also work alongside other ESF projects in the Vale, such as the Youth Service's 'Aspire to Achieve' project.
- The 2016 - 17 Delivery Plan differs slightly from the previous plan in that there are more joint projects with other organisations. There is a joint project with GVS, a Volunteer Coordinator role. This post will improve how volunteers are recruited and supported. There is also a joint project with Flying Start, a Social Work post which will support Community Wellbeing Coaches as they provide low-level mental health and wellbeing support.
- In conjunction with the 4 Cardiff Clusters, which are all managed by voluntary sector organisations with the support of Cardiff Council, BCF have created an Employer Engagement post. This post aims to form closer relationships with employers across the Cardiff and Vale region and will engage with local and national employers to publicise the work of our Prosperity teams and encourage them to work with us more closely in securing employment opportunities for our Cluster residents..
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
- None as a result of this report.
- The budget for the period 2015/16 was £580,912.02, of which 99% was spent.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
- None directly from this report. However, the Cluster programme does embody certain key aspects of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 as the Cluster programme provides support to participants that focusses on sustainability in its training programmes e.g. within PFF. Many of the projects also cross over a number of disciplines and the projects mainly work via a multi-agency approach e.g. mental health support provided as a means to overcoming a barrier to employment.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
- None directly from this report.
Crime and Disorder Implications
- None directly from this report. The Cluster team and programme supports the work of the Community Cohesion worker who works for both Cardiff and the Vale. For example, the Cluster Manager attends the local Community Cohesion & Engagement Group for his purpose.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
- None directly from this report.
- The BCF Cluster programme embodies a great deal of the aspirations of the Well-Being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and the Vale's new Corporate Plan.
- For example, under Well-being Outcome 1, 'An Inclusive and Safe Vale', BCF provides a number of services that 'reduce poverty and social exclusion'.
- The BCF Cluster programme also works to 'involve the population in decisions', 'works in a collaborative way' and works to 'understand the root causes of issues and prevents them'.
Policy Framework and Budget
- This report is for information only.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
- The programme is heavily focussed on consultation, engagement and indeed empowerment of local communities. No consultation has taken place on this informational report.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
- Homes and Safe Communities
Barry Communities First Delivery Plan 2015 - 16
Colin Davies Barry Communities First Cluster Manager
Bob Guy, Operational Manager, Regeneration
Committee Reports (Legal Services)
Head of Finance
Head of Regeneration and Planning