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Community Development and Engagement (£50,000)

Future Funds

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In order to mitigate the impact of many of the budget reductions it is important that there is a robust voluntary and community sector in place.  Some staff capacity and a one-off fund (see below) would be available to stimulate the development of the voluntary sector in Darlington.  Support would continue for Good Friends (via Better Care Fund) and Darlington Cares (via PRG) as a part of this strategy.

[Reference: Cabinet papers, Item 6, paragraph 52(m)]



Keywords: voluntary sector VCS

Related FAQs

What will be the impact on voluntary organisations such as Citizen’s Advice, Age UK, GADD? What happens if they close?

What will be the impact on voluntary organisations such as Citizen’s Advice, Age UK, GADD? What happens if they close?

We fully support the work of our voluntary sector partners and hope to continue to work with them in the future. However, the financial situation is such that the Council is not able to continue funding these organisations at current levels. The likely impact of the budget proposals on these organisations is currently being identified, following discussions with the organisations most affected. We hope that they are able to continue their work by looking at where they can make further cost and efficiency savings, but we appreciate that in some cases this may not be possible and it will therefore mean a reduction in the support they can offer to the residents of Darlington.  It could lead to the closure of organisations if they are unable to make the necessary changes for them to be sustainable, which will be very regrettable. We want to avoid this happening and we will support organisations making grant applications where we can. We will also be undertaking work to understand the impact of any reductions in service on individuals accessing them. 

Your Say

3 comment(s)

This table lists comments from the public about this proposal


FF 52m (Community Development and Engagement)


Medium Term Financial Plan - Darlington Future Funds Proposals
Health & Partnerships Portfolio – Andy Scott – 21st March 2016

Fund to Promote Public Sector Volunteering (£50,000)
Community Development and Engagement (£50,000)
Match Fund for Bids to County Durham Charity Foundation (£20,000)

Portfolio: Health and Partnerships Portfolio
In order to mitigate the impact of many of the budget reductions it is important that there is a robust voluntary and community sector in place, and to work with the Voluntary Sector to increase Volunteering.
Some staff capacity and a one-off fund would be available to stimulate the development of the voluntary sector in Darlington. Support would continue for Good Friends (via Better Care Fund) and Darlington Cares (via PRG) as a part of this strategy.

[Reference: Cabinet papers, Item 6, paragraph 52(m)]
[Reference: Cabinet Papers, Item 6, paragraph 53(t)]
[Reference: Cabinet Papers, Item 6, paragraph 53 (s)]

Healthwatch Darlington’s proposal would use £50,000 to stimulate the development of Public Sector Volunteering through our Wellbeing Connector Programme in Darlington and £50,000 to increase volunteering in the Town through our Health and Wellbeing Model. We would assist smaller community organisations to develop sustainable projects through our Community Development.

Delivery to include:

• Wellbeing Connector recruitment & training
• Wellbeing Awareness Event – connecting local people to health, social care and wellbeing services in Darlington
• Volunteer Management package
• Public Engagement training – VCSO’s and Public Sector staff
• Health and Wellbeing training – VCSO’s and Public Sector staff
• Health and Wellbeing Consultation
• Joint Start-up Event – to Front Line Organisations

Healthwatch Darlington already has a wealth of expertise in identifying the needs of our local population through good cross sector working relationships and an effective network of networks, and our BME Project empowers ordinary citizens towards self-sufficiency by signposting under-represented and marginalised residents of Darlington to the Health & Wellbeing Services they need, overcoming barriers like stigma, culture, gender and language.

Darlington no longer has a Voluntary & Community Sector (VCS) infrastructure organisation, leading to smaller Front Line Organisations (FLO’s) and groups being easily overlooked in the health and wellbeing sector when in fact they can be the lifeline of a community. We have the infrastructure in place to connect local people to the wide spectrum of services and support in the VCS. Through our Community Development we would develop our ‘Self-Helpers’ programme, providing Organisational Health Checks to groups, volunteer recruitment support and alignment to match funding from County Durham Charity Foundation.

Focussing on the need for services to be preventative, we want to be able to build stronger, resilient and active communities connecting with local groups with the help of volunteers trained as “Wellbeing Connectors”, who will work in partnership with residents to encourage self-management, increase independence and enhance a sense of wellbeing.

We will put Volunteers at the centre of our Health and Wellbeing programme and will consult with patients, pharmacists and GP’s to discuss what services best meet their needs, aligning them with a directory of wellbeing services and creating a deep rooted and long term investment into preventative services in the town, freeing up GP’s to focus on more chronic disease management and keeping people out of hospital – guiding people from dependence to independence.

The overriding purpose of Healthwatch Darlington’s Community Development activities is to enable local people to live healthy and independent lives with the minimum of intervention needed from health and social care services, through preventative wellbeing strategies that are sustainable. (Sustainable Community Strategy)

Our Volunteering programme supports local people to be fitter and more active and promotes ill-health prevention through earlier diagnosis and treatment. Volunteering opportunities will enhance career prospects and reinforce self esteem and a sense of worth, building a comprehensive network of partnerships and multi-agency responses.

This programme aligns with Darlington Cares and Good Friends.

Healthwatch Darlington - Registered Charity 1156388 Company 8714438
CVS Building – Church Row – Darlington – DL1 5QD
01325 380145

Cut S14 (Strategic Grant Budget)
FF 52m (Community Development and Engagement)

SIGNED BY 4135 To Darlington Borough Council, We appreciate that the council has an unenviable task of having to implement budget savings of £12.5 million in 2016-17, however, we are compelled to highlight the devastating impact which these cuts will have for Citizens Advice Darlington, town residents, the voluntary sector at large and the council itself. The current proposals include a 100% cut to the annual grant for Citizens Advice Darlington. We ask that you sign this petition to support our work and ask that Darlington Borough Council helps ensure this vital service survives for the benefit of all who live and work in the town and borough. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Cut H02 (Subscriptions - NEREO)
Cut D02 (Local Government Association (LGA) Annual Subscription)
Cut H03 (Unison Contribution)
FF 52m (Community Development and Engagement)

In relation to the Council’s Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) consultations, I have the following comments. The comments are mainly covering areas contained within the Efficiency and Resources Portfolio, of which I am a member of the scrutiny committee covering that portfolio. Over the last several weeks as a scrutiny committee we have been looking at the finer details of each of the budget areas contained therein. It’s worth mentioning that the financial position of the Council is a difficult one, it must cut 10.2m by 2020; by any standard that’s quite a challenge. Therefore, any decisions reached must be taken in the spirit of context, that it’s not what we would like to have, but what we can actually afford. In this time of making difficult choices around where to spend money, partially in relation to Adult’s and Children’s services, we cannot continue to pay or indeed support services which in my opinion are nice to haves. The Council is proposing turning off Darlington’s Christmas lights, removing funding for the Darlington Credit Union, cutting our grass less often and relocating the crown street library. The cumulative impacts of these decisions could be severely damaging to Darlington strategic aim of becoming a leader in the tees valley. I have identified some items of interest and intrigue that I feel fall within the ‘nice to have’ category and are as follows: • £50,000 for the Community Engagement team, responsibilities of which could be absorbed into a senior officer’s role, perhaps the Darlington Partnership? As the Chair of Darlington’s largest community charity, we have not received any direct or indirect support from the Council. I understand the counter argument, that we’re big enough to support ourselves, however I know very little about what impacts that team has actually has on the wider community, therefore that money could be better spend, and be perhaps more appropriately invested to have a more tangible impact on the wider local community. • Subscription to NEREO (North East Regional Employers Organisation) at a cost total of £16,176 per year, for advice a support with HR matters, Organisational Development and Employee Relations. This kind of skill set and support tool should be already lay within the responsibility of senior Council officers, at that level it is down to the individual employees to drive personal development and be aware of any corporate and legal trends in the industry. • The Council’s Contribution to a private union of £ 43,304 per year. Private companies would not support this and I’m concerned that a public body does. I think employee representation is hugely important, but this can be achieved in a number of ways, either through voluntary support programmes or by the union member contributing more themselves. I know of hugely successful employee assistance programmes that work effectively without a huge financial cost to the business. • The Council’s LGA (Local Government Association) Subscription £25,061 per year. I have seen no evidence that this subscription brings any value to the Council and in this modern age of digital communications, keeping in the loop about changes in local government can be easily accessed on a number of free forums and platforms. Again, these comments cover areas contained within the Efficiency and Resources Portfolio, the MTFP is a complex one, however I feel the above budget lines were the most obvious ‘nice to haves’ Scrapping these none essential budget lines will save the Council a total, £134,541,00.