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DCLG awards new contracts to support Community Rights programme

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has provided a £6m funding boost to the Community Rights programme, and awarded six new contracts. 

The contracts, which will support communities in using the Community Rights in 2015 to 2016, have been awarded to Locality, Co-operatives UK and The Community Development Foundation (CDF). 

According to the DCLG, the funding will help neighbourhoods tackle important local issues from after school activities to health priorities through the ‘Our Place’ programme; allow 100 new communities to take the first steps in identifying important local issues and developing Community Action Plans; and allow faster transfers of community assets from councils into community ownership. 

In particular, the new contracts will focus on Advice Service and Network; Community Economic Development; Community Ownership and Management of Assets; First Steps and Our Place; Grant Administration; and Neighbourhood Planning and Community Right to Build. 

Tony Armstrong, chief executive officer of Locality, said: “We and our partners are very proud to be running the new Community Rights programmes. The support and funding available to communities gives us the opportunity to reach many more people and build on the successes of past programmes. 

“We’ll be helping groups to take over local buildings and land such as pubs, sports centres and community facilities, to shape and deliver public services, and to develop neighbourhood plans.” 

From March, the government says Community Rights support will be provided differently with the focus moving towards shared support through a network allowing communities to benefit from the successes of others. 

DCLG added that the £6m of funding is being added to the existing £22.5m funding for neighbourhood planning and the £3.5m for the Community Right to Build. 

Communities minister Stephen Williams MP said: “This government has trusted local people and given them new rights, introduced by the Localism Act, so they decide how to run their community. 

“Real innovation and impact does not come from the old ways of working but from new ideas, new collaborations, new partnerships and most of all from local people who have the best knowledge.” 

The latest funding and contracts come just weeks after the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee said it should be easier for people to preserve local pubs and other assets, build community housing, shape local services and bring public land back into use. 

Alison Seabrooke, CEO of the Community Development Foundation, added that she was delighted to have the opportunity to build upon relationships with diverse communities across the country and extend the opportunities on offer to them through this programme. 

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