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Council to examine how it works with communities

29 November 2005

The Christchurch City Council has launched three related projects to examine how it can better define the way it works with communities.

General Manager of Community Services, Stephen McArthur, says that although the Council has been involved in community development since 1971, its work in this area has evolved over time without a clear focus or set priorities across the board.

Council needs to realign the community development work with community outcomes which express Christchurch people’s aspirations for the city. “There’s a need to assess which outcomes the Council should focus on in its community development work, and what mix of interventions will best help Council to achieve these.
“That could mean Council partnering with other key organisations – Government and community groups - in high-need areas, while providing grant funding and use of a community facility,” Mr McArthur says.

The Council has started the following three related pieces of work in this area:

  • a Community Development Strategy
  • a long-term plan for providing and managing community facilities, and
  • a review of community grants.

The Community Development Strategy will set the direction of the Council’s community capacity-building work and will inform the Community Facilities Plan, and the Community Group Grants Review.

The Community Facilities Plan for the next 20 years aims to ensure that the Council is investing wisely in community facilities, and that these facilities continue to meet communities’ needs.

Mr McArthur says the Council operates about 60 community facilities, 47 of which are council-owned. These include historic houses, halls, former schools and multi-purpose complexes, some of which are becoming dated and expensive to maintain or redevelop.

The Council has also supported the community sector with contestable grants to about 786 community organisations totalling almost $9m this financial year through eight different funds. The review would look at whether the existing system was achieving community goals and had adequate measures to gauge this.

Community groups and other interested parties had been sent project outlines for their information. The Council will seek public views to help inform this process through public consultation in August/September, 2006, for the Community Development Strategy; during November, 2006, for the Facilities Plan, and in April, 2006, through the LTCCP process for the Community Group Grants review.


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