Tuesday, 5 May 2009

The Venture: The Facts

This briefing note from Wrexham Council has been prepared so that all those with an interest in supporting children, young people and their families in Caia Park and at The Venture can have an accurate picture of the current situation. We wish to ensure that everyone has a clear understanding of The Council’s position. The good work carried out at The Venture is recognised and with guaranteed commitments from the Council and other providers, The Venture has at least £292,300 at its disposal each year, therefore, its future should not be in doubt.

Is the Council trying to close The Venture?
No – quite the reverse. The Council has been working with staff from The Venture since October 2008 to help them plan for a possible reduction in funding due to a contract coming to its natural end.

Why is there now less Council money available for The Venture to use?
The Council has purchased services from The Venture in the past and the contract for these has come to an end. Messages received during the fact-finding meetings which have taken place and the evidence on what works show that the community needs a wider range of services than are available at present. The Council has had to think long and hard about how best to use the money which was buying services from The Venture. It has decided to spend most of this money on other things in Caia Park, with the remaining money going to The Venture.

What has the Council decided to spend the money on instead?
The Council is going to use some of the money to pay for Parent Support Advisers to be based in the Caia Park primary schools. These people will support parents and carers with any issues or problems they have – not just to do with their children but anything at all which parents need help and support with like housing or benefit issues.

Some of the money will pay for more Health Visitors/Family Support Workers to help parents and carers in their own homes across the whole estate. Families who do not get support from Flying Start at the moment will be able to get it from the Parent Support Advisers and the extra Health Visitors/Family Support Workers.

Does this mean that the Venture has no money to stay open with, or that the Council is not supporting The Venture?
No, not at all. Some of the money - £40,000 a year – has been set aside by the Council to go to The Venture to support the playground for the next three years while other sources of funding can be found. In addition to this £40k further money has been guaranteed. £106,000 – Communities First funding which comes from the Welsh Assembly Government has been guaranteed to The Venture because it has been ‘matched’ with the following other funding:

£33,600 Flying Start funding (via the Council)
£26,000 Youth Inclusion and Splash funding (via the Council)
£40,163 Alternative Education Project funded by Cymorth (via the Children and Young People’s Framework Partnership which is led by the Council)
£31,037 secured by the Venture from the Waterloo Foundation
£15,500 secured by the Venture from BBC Children in Need

This adds up to £292,300 guaranteed funding. We understand that The Venture has additional sources of funding. Why would an organisation with so much guaranteed funding need to close? The Venture WILL need to cut back and streamline because the Council has decided to spend the money on Parent Support Advisers, Health Visitors/Family Support Workers to improve the lives of more children, young people and their families across all of Caia Park, but it does NOT need to close. The Council has been working with The Venture since before Christmas to identify ways in which it can cut back on costs without affecting its main provision and still wants to work together with them on this.

In addition, the Council is going out to tender for the provision of an integrated Youth Service on the Caia Park estate. There is approximately £60,000 which can be tendered for to provide this service on behalf of the Council; The Venture is able to tender for this funding though, of course, there is no way of knowing now which other organisations might also tender for this contract and might eventually make the successful bid.


Plaid Whitegate said...

I've posted this up because of the lies, innuendo and rumours being spread by people who should know better about the imminent closure of The Venture.
Staff and children who use The Venture are being misinformed about The Venture's finances and how much income it has to keep going.
We have asked for meetings with The Venture's management team so they can explain why they are saying it will close on July 1st. To date, that meeting has still not taken place, despite our requests.
To the people who have expressed concerns about "saving" The Venture, ask yourself a question.
Does The Venture need more than £300,000 a year to keep going?

Aguirre said...

Colin Powell runs the Gwenfro Valley Adventure Playground for less than £100,000 a year. I think the Venture gets a lot more money than what is included in the briefing paper - What about the £100,000 + from the Caia Park Partnership and the £100,000 it got from Communities First, this in addition to the £106,000. From my understanding of the situation total funding for the Venture is closer to £500,000 per annum.

Lehendakari said...

It's not the total's that should concern us but the fact that the Venture Management Committee don't know where the money is going, there are no outcomes to justify the expenditure. Would any right minded fair person think it was right that two employees of the Venture spent £1200 on mobile phones bills in 12 months? The Council should send in Auditors to see where all these millions of public money have gone to.

Plaid Whitegate said...

I don't think the Partnership funds The Venture but it's a fact that Communities First has announced three years of funding work more than £100,000 a year. The current funding is close to half a million pounds.