FOUR areas of Thurrock could be in line for an injection of government cash and Thurrock Council wants local people to bid for it.
The Community First initiative targets wards that are “subject to significant deprivation and low social capital”, in Thurrock they are: Chadwell St Mary; Tilbury Riverside; Tilbury St Chads; and West Thurrock and South Stifford
The first initiative has two parts to it, a Neighbourhood Fund and a longer-term endowment fund.
Cllr Lynn Worrall, Thurrock’s portfolio holder for communities, said: “We want people living in Tilbury, Chadwell and between South Stifford and Purfleet to come together and suggest schemes that could be funded.”
She said: “These wards are eligible to form a Community First Panel made up of local people that can recommend projects or activities to be funded in their wards.
“It seems the Neighbourhood Fund of £33,910 in each ward will be available up to 2015 – however, in order to get the funds, match funding (in money, time or resources) must be available and that’s why the council wants to work with the panels as closely as possible.”.
Each panel will be made up of between four to eight people. They have to apply to the Community Development Foundation to be recognised, and will be expected to appoint a Panel Partner to act as an accountable body.
Established groups may wish to make an application and council officers, councillors, local partners and businesses will be encouraged to be involved.
Applications have to be made on line via www.cdf.org.uk where a full set of guidance is also available.
Cllr Worrall said: “Thurrock has been trying to improve community involvement in the decision-making process for some time and I would urge people to have a look at the website and to get involved.
“We already have three areas – including part of Tilbury – where councillors have £2,000 each to spend on community projects and we’ve agreed ‘community councils’ to devolve parts of the council’s decision-making to localities.
“This is the next logical step.”
Residents interested in joining with others in their ward to form a Community First Panel can register their interest with the Community Development Team at Thurrock Council firstname.lastname@example.org or 01375 413954, or contact your local community forum