Burngreave Messenger

Issue 24 August 2002

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Time to start performing

Few will be surprised at the announcement that, in the first year of Burngreave New Deal for Communities, only £175,000 was spent on projects out of a planned £2.1 million. That’s something like a 92% underspend. So what’s gone wrong? The Messenger spoke to Partnership Board Community Reps Rose Ardron and Levi Ferguson.

“It’s important to say that the money is not lost, yet.” said Rose. “We overestimated what could be done. We all felt pushed into proving ourselves to Government Office and meeting Burngreave’s expectations.”

Levi added “We couldn’t deliver big projects because it was taking too long to get the statutory agencies to agree about what level of service they should already provide. We didn’t want to use New Deal money to replace services. We tried to work in partnership with statutory agencies, but they wanted the New Deal money to bail them out.”

At a recent meeting with community members, Carol Cooper-Smith from Government Office for Yorkshire and Humberside made clear that she wanted to see Burngreave New Deal “start performing” and spending money.

Carol said that although New Deal did need to change services in the long run, to make sure changes last, there was no need for every community project to show how it changed mainstream. New Deal for Communities hoped to encourage innovative community projects which could be taken on by mainstream services later.

One of the reasons that Community Reps are more positive about the future is because of their faith in new Director John Clark. John has already found a flat in the area and has moved in, despite having no gas or electricity, and is keen to get projects moving. So what can the community do to support him?

“The community had already given loads of support to projects despite all the frustrations;” said Rose, “we need to bring people together, regeneration should be about the redistribution of wealth and about equality. It’s about the community having a strong joint agenda.”

“We need to come together and agree a joint strategy, then petition Government, which is also struggling to bring about changes in services,” said Levi. “If we don’t come together then not only will there be an under-spend but the community won’t get what it’s entitled to.”

Graph showing the N.D.C. planned year 1 spend (£2,100,000) and actual spend (£175,000).