in the middle
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
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.
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.
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.