Darlington Communities Project
The study details a project employing four community development workers and a neighbourhood manager to help to establish and support community partnerships and to assist in building residents’ capacity in Darlington.
Darlington Communities Project aims to tackle the problems of social exclusion by providing a strategic framework for groups and agencies to work within, together with the resources to support local capacity building and the development of a network of community partnerships.
The case study showcases a project has set up nine community partnerships and at the time of writing is on track to meet its target of 11 partnerships by 2005.
It has formed close links with Darlington’s Local Strategic Partnership (LSP) having placed three community partnership representatives on the LSP’s Board.
It has also worked with local volunteers to devise a capacity building course to equip residents with the skills needed to develop projects and complete funding application forms. The course is now being run by Darlington College and is proving to be popular with those taking part.
Four community development workers and a neighbourhood manager are employed by Darlington Borough Council to help establish community partnerships and to build local capacity.
The community partnerships are responsible for finding out what changes and improvements are needed within the neighbourhood, determining how these can be made and making sure that they take place.
Darlington Communities Project made considerable progress towards establishing community partnerships with nine community partnerships having been created as of January 2004. As of January 2004, 96 residents and local ward councillors were involved in community partnerships and were gaining regeneration experience meaning that the project has almost achieved its target of involving 117 residents by 2005.
Twenty-eight volunteers participated in the tailor-made training course at Darlington College of Technology (as at time of writing). Attendees also appreciate the opportunity to make new friends and the chance to learn about the work being undertaken by the other local community partnerships.
Residents of the eleven wards the project worked within.
Community and voluntary networks.
Darlington Communities Project which began in 2000, was originally funded via SRB6 and set out to establish four community partnerships. ERDF funding of £33,000 was also secured to support this work. Its success led to the programme being expanded in 2002 with the objective of setting up a further seven partnerships.
Funding is now provided via a Single Programme grant of £715,000 and SRB funding of £196,000. The project was led by the Performance Development and Community Partnerships section within Darlington Borough Council with all of the Council’s departments and the local councillors playing an active role in the partnerships. The project also worked closely with the Darlington Partnership (LSP).
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