Communities across County Durham are being encouraged to have their say on priority areas for funding.
Durham County Council’s 14 Area Action Partnerships (AAP) are calling on those who live, work, volunteer or go to school in the county to help them establish key priorities for the next financial year.
From creating opportunities for children and young people, to supporting older people, to enhancing the local environment – the aim is to find out what matters most to communities to help ensure projects within these themes receive the funding and support needed in 2022/23.
Between April 2019 and March 2021, AAPs, along with money from councillors’ neighbour budgets, have allocated grants totalling £12.4 million. This has helped bring in a further £12.2 million of matched investment and supported the delivery of 2,833 grassroot projects.
During 2020/21, all 14 AAPs focused on helping communities to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, instead of their own priorities.
As part of the consultation, which runs until Friday 11 March, AAPs want to find out if anything has changed for communities over the last two years and how this can be reflected in future priorities.
A key part of the consultation will ask what residents believe should be done to enhance towns and villages. This reflects the fact that each AAP has received £210,000 as part of the council’s Towns and Villages programme to support relevant projects over the next three years. This is on top of each AAP’s annual core funding of £110,000 and the additional money they currently receive to support specific programmes such as holiday activities with food and tackling social isolation.
Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “This is an opportunity for communities across the county to help shape their local AAP’s priorities and influence how funding is allocated.
“It has been a tough few years during which we have all faced new challenges and unprecedented changes to how we live and work. We want to know what has changed for people living and working in County Durham so that our AAP’s can set priorities that reflect the needs of communities today and in the future.
“We also understand that no-one knows the needs of a local area better than the people who live and work there. That’s why we are so keen to hear what residents and businesses believe should be done to enhance the vibrancy of our towns and villages.”
Those wishing to take part in the consultation can do so online at www.durham.gov.uk/consultation until 5pm on Friday 11 March.
The results of the consultation will be available from May and the feedback from communities will be used to decide the priority themes for each AAP.