AUG 00] STRATFORD ON AVON DISTRICT COUNCIL NEWS
£3m Flows To Help Villages
Millions of pounds will be pumped
into south Warwickshire to combat rural deprivation.
A joint bid by the county council
with Stratford and Warwick district councils has been rewarded
with a £3 million grant from the government.
It is not as much as they asked
for, but was more successful than the Coventry bid, which received
While many see the south of the
county as an affluent commuter belt area, this money is to be used
to help those who live in the villages with poor communication
links and limited access to information.
Some areas have no schools, shops
or public transport, leaving unemployed and elderly residents with
no access to work or shopping.
Chris Mitchell, of Stratford
District Council said it is not only cities that are deprived. He
"People may tend think of
the obvious urban big cities when they think of deprivation, and
everyone understands the problems they face.
“But there are problems in
rural areas, where people can't get to the towns and cities for
help and information, because there is no bus. It is difficult
for them to get to services and this money will help address
“This bid has been put together
by lots of agencies and voluntary groups and the councils have
acted as the agents.
“The money has been promised by
the Government Agency and now we will have to decide how to
spend it, so we cannot be too specific at this stage.”
The £3 million money will be used
to help get more services to rural people, or help get them into
the towns where there is a wide range of help on offer.
It could mean boosting up the Depot
Bus services that tours rural areas and offers advice, or extra
money for Age Concern, which offers help to elderly people in
South Warwickshire has
above-average numbers of older people, some of whom are trapped in
isolated hamlet with limited access to advice surgeries.
The South Warwickshire Together
Partnership, known as PIE, joined forces to make a bid to
Advantage West Midlands, the government's regional agency for
funding from the Single Regeneration Budget.
It announced today that it has
granted £3m as part of a £9m programme to tackle social
exclusion and poverty over the next six years in isolated pockets
of south Warwickshire.
Cllr Bob Stevens, leader of
Stratford-on-Avon District Council, one of the partners in the
"I am thrilled we have been
awarded this grant. The apparent high quality of life in this
part of the country is not shared by everyone, but measuring
rural poverty and exclusion are very difficult to illustrate
using traditional statistical methods.
"I am sure that our success
in getting this funding was down to our effort in understanding
and marketing rural social issues in our area, and the excellent
"Evidence provided by both
Stratford and Warwick District Councils showed that around
12,000 households in the area are in receipt of some form of
means-tested benefits, of which 8,000 are pensioner households,
and around 4,000 children live in benefit-dependent households.
"We will now start a number
of initiatives, including improving the skills, educational and
employment prospects for local people, addressing social
exclusion, reducing crime and drug abuse."
The objectives of the bid are to
enhance the economic, environmental and social well being of the
people in south Warwickshire.
The idea is to look at the needs of
residents and business people and help them get to information for
jobs and training.
It is hoped this will lead to:
- 25 per cent increase in people
entering further education and training:
- 20 per cent reduction in number
of businesses experiencing skill shortages;
- 50 per cent increase in people
taking up volunteer work;
- 20 per cent reduction in the
number of non pensioner households receiving benefit;
- 20 per cent increase in number
of villages with all key services;
- 20 per cent reduction in the
number of nuisance youth incidents.
SEE [02 AUG
MISSES OUT ON £13m AID