01/03/2023 - Speech from Cllr Caroline Makinson, Cabinet Spokesperson for Public Health and Communities, at the 10 year celebration event of our area arrangements way of working

Below is the speech Cllr Caroline Makinson, Cabinet Spokesperson for Public Health and Communities, gave at the 10 year celebration of our area arrangements way of working, on Wednesday 1 March at the Barnsley Markets Atrium.

Good morning everyone.  Thank you all for taking the time to come out today and be a part of our 10 year celebration launch event, it means a lot to us all to see you here today and thank you Madam Mayor for joining us today.

I would like to thank all the amazing people who have come on this journey with us and who have dedicated their valuable time to support the work in their local communities.  These are people who are dedicated to improving their lives and others by volunteering their time to a worthy cause. This could be litter picking in their local community, being a Ward Alliance member, supporting your local community pantry or foodbank, setting up a group in your local community or purely being a good neighbour. All of you bring so much to your local community and Barnsley will be eternally grateful for this.

As some of you will be aware, back in 2013 the Leader of Barnsley Council, Sir Steve Houghton, was faced with making some difficult decisions due to austerity.

Unlike other councils Sir Steve didn’t cut back on frontline services to make our savings. He decided to try a radical new approach in Barnsley and invest £2.1 million pounds into its communities.

He decided to invest in the communities in Barnsley by creating a model called the Area Arrangements which, in laymen’s terms, means devolving power to elected members and local communities to have the flexibility to try things out and see what works, based on evidence and local knowledge. Ten years in and this has created a really robust model of early intervention and prevention with local decision making at its core.

The Area Teams became the team of people who work alongside the elected members and who have embedded themselves alongside our communities, they understand their needs and differences, they have built robust relationships and they support local innovation in those communities.

His idea has now been ten years in the making and has been a resounding success for Barnsley.

We have created an infrastructure that our communities can be a part of which includes devolving decision making to our elected members who have over the last 10 years invested a substantial amount of funding into our local communities, whether that is at an Area Council level or at a Ward Alliance level.

This has delivered services to support your environment, support around social isolation and loneliness, support around emotional health and wellbeing and access to welfare advice services in your local communities.  On top of this funding goes to each local ward where a group of people made up of elected members and community representatives come together at a Ward Alliance and who make decisions about funding in your local communities based on the local priorities for that area.

At the start of the journey we recruited Ward Alliance members, some of which have been with us for the whole 10 years, which is absolutely incredible and they have made such a significant difference in their community by providing their expertise and knowledge of their local community, they have made decisions about where funding will be allocated, and to what. This has resulted in lots of different community groups and organisations being supported across Barnsley to deliver thousands of different initiatives, galas, Christmas events, healthy holiday clubs, football clubs, summer camps and much more.

Over the last 10 years across all six areas of Barnsley we have: -

  • Funded 3,340 different community projects through the Ward Alliances, equating to £3,660,483.75 pounds through the Ward Alliances back into local communities in Barnsley
  • Supported 52,967 Love Where You Live volunteers and they have filled 16,023 purple bags of litter and rubbish, which equates to 239,492 tons of rubbish and litter across the borough
  • Supported, in total, 357,303 volunteers which equates to £4,827,163 cashable hours in volunteer time
  • Seen 88.79% of all of the funding through Area Councils and Ward Alliances going directly back into the local economy in Barnsley

As you can see from all the work that has taken place across the borough, through Area Councils and Ward Alliances it has had a substantial positive impact locally for residents in Barnsley.

We are celebrating throughout the whole of this year and there will be a celebration event in each of the six areas to celebrate and thank the volunteers who are active in our communities. We will be promoting what we do at the Big Weekend in July. We have dedicated our Proud of Barnsley Love Where You Live award to the 10-year celebration and we will be closing all of this year’s events at the Bright Nights event in November.  We would love to see you at these events.

This is a time for celebration and we, the council, would like to officially thank you all for being with us on this exciting journey and for giving back to your communities. It means a lot to the people of Barnsley and we wouldn’t have been able to do it without you all.

I would now like to unveil the display which showcases some of the successes we have had in the Area Arrangements and some of the great projects that have been delivered in local communities. We hope there will be lots more successes to come over the next 10 years and we hope you will all continue to be a part of it.

You can take a look at the display, showcasing some of the fantastic work from the past 10 years, throughout March in the Barnsley Markets atrium.

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