Better Places Locality Budget

The Council has a renewed commitment to empowering people and organisations to do more to help our communities throughout the Borough.

A scheme to provide Ward Member Better Places budgets would allow every Borough Councillor to respond to local needs by recommending the allocation of small amounts of money to support projects or activities that benefit the communities they represent at grass roots level.  Such initiatives are usually run by volunteers from the local community, fill important gaps left by the public and private sectors, address specific local concerns, empower individuals and enable community voices to be heard and action to be taken. 

Ward Member Better Places Locality Budget would:

  • Increase levels of community engagement at a very local level
  • Allow flexible and timely funding of small initiatives within communities which provide flexible and immediate solutions
  • Help communities help themselves
  • Enhance the wellbeing of our local communities

Examples of projects or activities that could be funded, in full or part, could include tree planting, installation of a new bench or noticeboard, improvements to open spaces, provision of new play equipment, improved signage, new flower beds or planting, introduction of a local recycling initiative, support for Parish Council, Friends, In Bloom and other community groups with a focus on improving the local environment.

How could it work in practice?

Each Councillor would be given a budget of £2,000 to allocate to such initiatives in their ward during the financial year.  Each initiative would require a simple application form to ensure openness and transparency.

The grants should be used to provide a cleaner, greener local environment and priority would be given to projects which support the Better Places aspiration as set out in the Council’s Corporate Plan ‘Better Borough, Brighter Futures’.

The preference is for grants to be awarded directly to local community groups to support delivery of local community based initiatives. However, it is recognised that in some areas groups may not exist and in these cases the works may be undertaken directly by the Borough Council or another organisation for example Beyond Housing, North Yorkshire County Council or the Parish Council.

Each grant would be a minimum of £500 and a maximum of £2,000 per individual member (although values below £500 may be considered in exceptional circumstances).  Councillors representing the same ward could pool their budget to fund a bigger scheme if required. Funding could be supported for projects outside the ward where people from within a Councillor's ward would benefit. 

Supporting grass roots, community based initiatives in this way ensures that funding is provided where it is needed most.  By working together, in true partnership, the Council and our local communities can ensure that small scale projects, which make a real and genuine difference to where we live, can move forwards and improve our local environment to the benefit of everyone.

Considerations

The decision making process of each Councillor must be open and transparent and Councillors should consider:

  • Whether the allocation meets the criteria to deliver ‘Better Places’
  • What is the likely perception of a grant by other Councillors and the wider community
  • How will a grant enhance the reputation of the Council
  • Avoiding pre-election periods for funding decisions.
  • Any revenue budget implications for ongoing maintenance or support for a particular project.

Funding will not be used for:

  • Projects or activities that will only benefit an individual or an individual family or a private business;
  • Political parties or trade unions or employers’ associations or groups affiliated with any of these
  • Lobbying or lobbying organisations
  • Projects or activities that seek to promote a faith or belief as their main purpose
  • Projects or activities that are contrary to the Council’s equality objectives.
  • Projects that would result in fraudulent or illegal activity, or activity that would bring the Council into disrepute.

Implementation

The scheme will be administered by the Democratic Services department.

Application forms and funding guidance will be prepared and shared with all Members. 

Property Asset Management – monies set aside to fund capital projects that improve and extend the useful lives of the Council’s commercial and property asset holdings, or projects that involve the demolition of obsolete Council owned property assets

Infrastructure – monies set aside for projects that improve the quality or extend the life of hardstandings (e.g. Council owned pavements and car parks), bridges, retaining walls and Council owned street lighting

Better Lives – monies set aside to upgrade areas such as play areas and playing pitches across the borough.

Coast Protection – monies set aside to progress the Robin Hoods Bay seawall Coast Protection scheme.

Harbour Infrastructure – monies historically set aside from Scarborough Harbour revenue budgets to support Harbour infrastructure capital works at Scarborough Harbour. These funds will likely be required to progress infrastructure works needed to support redevelopment proposals for the Scarborough West Pier.

Better Council  - monies set aside to progress essential expenditure on the Council’s IT infrastructure. 

Masterplans, Blueprints and priority investment