Monday, 5 October 2009

The shape of things to come?

Will communities have more of a say in the way local leisure and other facilities are run in coming years?

That's the impression you get from reading this report.

The Assembly Government’s new Community Asset Transfer Programme will run for three years from October 2009. It's a partnership between the One Wales Government and the BIG Lottery Fund to provide financial assistance for the transfer of ownership of assets from the councils and other public sector bodies to community groups and voluntary organisations.

The fund will be worth £13 million over the next three years and aims to contribute to the regeneration and strengthen communities.

The new Community Asset Transfer Programme aims to make it easier for communities to take ownership of publicly-owned assets.

Given the expected squeeze on council funding in the coming years, are we going to see community groups running local facilities rather than see them close?

There are pluses and minuses to this - the most obvious plus being a greater sense of community ownership and democratic control. On the downside, if the funding dries up after three years how will a community group raise the funding for large-scale repairs on a building or fund a major project. Is that why we pay our taxes?

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