Tendring District Council (TDC) has been awarded £53,000 in a bid to develop stronger communities in the District.
The money is for a trial project – currently one of only three being funded in the whole of Essex – and will be used to tackle a range of issues.
A Community Builder will be employed to work within communities that need assistance to identify strength and weaknesses, what they can achieve for themselves, where they need help and what external bodies need to provide to support them.
It will involve discovering what capacity, skills and assets a community has and where those can be shared with others to bring about change and improvement.
The Community Builder will help to establish connections between individuals and across communities supported by volunteers.
In Tendring the project will concentrate on:
- Reducing social isolation by developing strong social networks
- Increasing the number of people actively improving their own health and well-being
- Acting where it is required to help reduce dependency on public services
- Developing sustainable community-led services where it is appropriate
- Improving resilience, knowledge and independence among individuals and communities.
Lynda McWilliams, TDC’s Cabinet Member for Health and Community Safety, said it is an opportunity to make a real difference in reducing inequalities between communities within the District.
“Tendring has many complexities with significant levels of deprivation, multiple needs across generations and challenges to the local economy,” she said.
“This trial aims to increase the capacity of communities to come up with their own solutions to needs and issues they have identified, as well as influencing those who provide services to them.
“It is very much about bridging that gap between those communities that are successful and those that are more fractured.”
The Community Builder will be based within TDC but working in the community to carry out their work.
TDC will take the lead for a partnership which will include the Tendring branch of CAB, a wide range of statutory services from local government, Essex Police, Essex Fire and Rescue and health organisations.
Linda Isaac, Chief Executive at Citizens Advice Bureau Tendring, said: “This project will provide an opportunity to look at some of the great work Tendring residents are already doing to support their own communities, and see how their success could be replicated in other areas.”
Bob Reitemeier, Chief Executive of the Essex Community Foundation and member of the Essex Partnership Board, said: “I believe that to truly create stronger and more resilient communities it is essential that local residents have the capability, and the confidence, to take ownership of local issues.
“Community Builders are an ideal way to develop solutions which places local communities at the heart of decision-making, empowering local residents to take action.
“There is a tremendous amount of energy and passion in all communities across Essex and Community Builders can help target this to solve local issues.”
The Community Builder trials are funded by Whole Essex Community Budget.
An initial pot of £150,000 was made available in Essex with the other successful bidders being Harlow and Southend.