Yesterday saw the presentation of the Our Place: Wye final operational plan to the village reference group prior to its submission to the project sponsors on Friday.
Peter Begley, who has been commissioned by the parish council to write the plan, explained that responsibility for the project would shift away from the parish council over the next few months.
He presented terms of reference for a stakeholder group which will initially carry the project forward. This group is likely to consist of 10-12 individuals from KCC, the parish, health providers and volunteer groups.
The intention is that this reference group will transform itself into/set up a new body – possibly a cooperative or similar social enterprise – which will then be in charge of commissioning and maintaining social projects within the village.
Mr Begley said that the Our Place project had given rise to a number of different ideas but that in the immediate future there was a need to focus on four priorities:
- Implementation of the Community Connector Service in partnership with KCC
- Working with the community and stakeholder partners to develop the strategy and implementation plan for the Social Enterprise/Co-operative
- Planning and implementing the café, community food hub etc.
- Evaluating the funding opportunities that may be available for delivering the business plan and associated projects, and securing the funding for specific project resources where appropriate.
Mr Begley explained that the potential cost benefits of such a plan. The community connector service alone, he estimated, could result in savings of between £135,000 and £255,000 per year – based on figures supplied by similar schemes in Gloucestershire.
These savings would be shared between the local authority and the NHS (making savings through fewer hospital admissions and call outs for care staff), and the individual (through advice on sound investments/purchases, and bulk buying from the utilities for example). The ratio would be about 60:40.
While I wasn’t able to stay for the whole meeting, there appeared to be a consensus that this represented a good way forward.
I had questions about membership of the social enterprise and how much it was going to cost for the individual – but these should wait until the appropriate time.
The plan will be presented to the Resources Committee of the Parish Council on Thursday before submission to the funder – Locality at the Department of Communities and Local Government – on Friday.