logo Burngreave Messenger Issue 30 - April 2003
   
     

Caught in the middle

The last Messenger listed projects the New Deal team say have received ‘community endorsement’, but many have since questioned when endorsement was given. John Clark, New Deal Chief Executive, said he wasn’t satisfied with the system of Theme Groups approving projects either, but was caught between ‘a rock and a hard place’ as people also complained of a lack of action.

Community sidelined
For years residents have given huge time and effort developing projects, but many have become frustrated and felt excluded from decisions. Now involvement is at a low and the New Deal have looked to a sub-group of the Partnership Board for project endorsement.

The New Deal ‘Programme Team’, appointed last year, are keen to see projects start, but there are fears that community views and projects are being sidelined or forgotten in favour of funding for statutory agencies. A member of the Arts and Culture Group was told details of the ‘Creative Burngreave’ proposal were confidential and several Health Theme projects were approved at a meeting with no community members present. Other theme groups don’t seem to be functioning at all.

Giving back the controls…
When John Clark heard the concerns of the Arts and Culture Group he stopped the proposal going forward. “There’s no such thing as a confidential proposal, except for commercial reasons” he told the Messenger, “this is community money and people have a right to see what it is being spent on”.

Now the new Community Reps have been elected he wants them to be part of ‘Theme Strategy Groups’, alongside experts from the agencies and the community. These ‘strategy groups’ would be responsible for approving projects and providing a clear way for the ideas and views of residents to be included. John also explained that the new team of Community Reps will also become directors of‘Burngreave New Deal for Communities Partnership’, a new company run on behalf of residents.

Over to the Board
Everyone agrees New Deal must be community led, but only 23% voted in this year’s election compared with 52% in 2001. The new Community Reps will need to work together to produce real improvements and ensure they really represent all in Burngreave with a strong, united community voice if faith in the New Deal is to be restored.

 

Cartoon: Statutory agencies carve up the funding while the community are sidelined.

   
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