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Council considers Draft Community Development Strategy feedback

12 April 2007

Time taken to consider all the feedback on the City Council’s Draft Community Development Strategy will delay implementation of the new Community Group Grants Review until the 2007/08 financial year.

“The Community Development Strategy will shape the Council’s delivery of services and funding to build strong communities, therefore it is critical we ensure all feedback is thoroughly considered and the right decisions are made,” says Mayor Garry Moore, who chaired the Community Development Strategy’s Hearings Panel.

Submission hearings were held late February, since which Council’s attention has been focussed on the DraftAnnual Plan 2007/08, Draft 2007 Amendments to the Long-Term Council Community Plan, Development Contributions Policy and Urban Development Strategy.

“Councillors have been very concerned about not rushing through the process of finalising the Community Development Strategy, favouring to wait till later this month (23 April) to ensure there has been time to fully consider all feedback and then, after further discussions with key stakeholders, address some areas of concern.”

Mr Moore says this will mean changes to the Community Group Grants Scheme will not be implemented until the 2008-09 financial year.

Under the Draft Community Development Strategy, the Council will become more goal-focussed in its delivery of community development.

“While innovative solutions that respond to community needs will continue to form the basis of its work, the Council will identify priorities and focus its community development in these areas,” he says.

“This will ensure the work is outcome-oriented, and Council’s resources are targeted to deliver real benefits for the community.”

Each year the Council distributes more than $8.3 million in annual community grants to community, voluntary and not-for-profit agencies, groups and organisations.

“The Council has a proud history of supporting its community through such initiatives as community grants funding,” Mr Moore says.

Under the Draft Strategy, it is proposed to introduce five new schemes which will enable the Council to build and support strong communities with robust social cohesion and high levels of community engagement and participation. These schemes respond to the Council’s social and cultural responsibilities under the Local Government Act 2002.

It is now proposed the Community Development Strategy will be finalised and ready for adoption by Council in June 2007.

“Even with this timeframe, implementation of the proposed new Community Group Grants Scheme for the first funding application round in November will be tight.

“From July to November, Council will meet with community groups to ensure they are fully informed of the changes and have a thorough understanding of all the new schemes, including the new criteria and funding application requirements,” Mr Moore says.

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