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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Dulverton Yout Club (DDYPP)

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Letter to DTC from Dulverton Youth Club  (DDYPP) Dated 10th Jan 2015

Community Woodland Project -Update 15th Nov 2014

Community Woodland Project

In March 2014 Dulverton Town Council (DTC) was invited to participate in the Our Place! project sponsored by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). The purpose of the Our Place! project is to support local communities in developing initiatives to improve the well being of their immediate area.

A pilot programme commenced in 2010, this involved twelve large areas such as Ilfracombe and Frome with budgets and aspirations to match. It was the success of these pilot projects that led to the expansion of the programme to a further 140 projects, albeit smaller communities with a lower budget; Dulverton was one of them.

DTC after discussions with Exmoor National Park Authority (ENPA) and Dulverton and District Young People’s Project (DDYPP) developed a plan for a Community Woodland Project. The objective was to provide training and employment for young people within the community and to fund this in co-operation with ENPA by carrying out essential silviculture work in Burridge Wood.

The first step was to complete a proposal to Locality, the organisation fronting the Our Place! programme, a process which they designated as “getting started”. This was completed in July after some narrowing of the original proposals; additional support was received from the Exmoor Society and a number of local businesses.

Inevitably with such a large number of diverse community projects it was necessary for Locality to impose fixed methodologies and deadlines which DTC felt diminished the “local” nature of the work. However the next phase commenced which involved the production of further paperwork to gain entry to the next stage.

Late September DTC was told that the project had been accepted and that we were now required to develop an “Operational Plan” for which a grant would be available. Although it is important to know that none of this grant money could be used to fund the project itself.

On 10th Nov 2014 DTC took the decision to withdraw from the Our Place! programme and to return the grant in its entirety. The decision was made with the full agreement of our major partners, ENPA and the DDYPP. However, DTC and its partners fully intend to continue with the project and are pleased to have worked with Locality up to this point.

There are a number of reasons why we made this decision. The major issue was the need to fit our timescales with those of the Our Place! programme, while at the same time maintaining local control of the project. The generic nature of the projects documentation would involve us in unnecessary and unhelpful extra effort not related to our own specific needs.

For example, in order to conduct the planned “peer review” process, Locality required us to complete the draft operation plan by the end of this month, but the final Plan would be delayed until March 2015.

DTC and it partners are quite capable of producing the necessary business plan and getting the project under way as several members have a history of business management at a high level. We are reluctant to employ outside consultants as in our opinion this destroys much of the local element of the project and diminishes the “buy-in” of the community. To bring in and pay outside people simply to meet a deadline created by the needs of the programme rather than our own schedule is not justified.

Recent experience has also made us very concerned about spending public money unnecessarily; the grant is very generous and very much needed in some cases. In Dulverton however whilst it would be easy to spend it, we must be honest and say that it is not required. This is not a criticism of Our Place! as a project, it is clear that in many places the programme has worked well and provided incentives to communities. Indeed our own project would not exist without us having progressed through the early stages and are grateful for the help and inspiration from Locality to have started the process.

At present it is un-decided exactly how this community enterprise will be established but it will become separate from the DTC over time with its own management drawn from local resources. But be assured that the project will proceed with the formation of a local organisation which will develop a business plan in co-operation with ENPA; nothing will substantially change from the original concept except perhaps that we will move forward at a pace dictated by reality and not by political convenience.

This article is the first step in the process of directly involving our local community in this project. The process will be a gradual one, it is intended that this be a self funding community business and so inevitably it must start slowly and progress as skills develop and our track record is established.

The Our Place programme and/or Localism are not a miraculous panacea for all local problems as it has sometimes been portrayed. Localism can come at a price and that price can be high unless care is taken. DTC aim is to get support and services locally managed in a self sustaining cost effective manner. This Community Woodland Project is just one of many small local community initiatives which demonstrate that “Localism” can be effective in action, helping to make Dulverton a better place to live.

The Localism Act – The aim of the act was to devolve more decision making powers from central government back into the hands of individuals, communities and councils. http://www.local.gov.uk/localism-act

Further information will be made available soon and your help will be sought for ideas, expertise and time.

Community Woodland Project - 11th August 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - - 11th August 2014

Dulverton “Our Place!” success

Dulverton’s drive towards localism has taken a step forward this week with the help of a £10,000 grant. This grant is to fund a feasibility study and the development of a business case for a Community Woodland Project (CWP).

Dulverton recently joined more than 140 other communities in putting forward a bid for funding under the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) Our Place! Programme.

Our Place is part of the government’s approach to Localism, to transform public services by making sure that they are focused on the user and not the organisation.

Having submitted the first phase “Getting Ready” Dulverton has now been approved to continue on to the second stage of the project, “Getting Going”. This grant from the government sponsored “Our Place!” initiative is to progress the project in co-operation with Exmoor National Park (ENP).

Dulverton’s Town Council (DTC) submitted the Woodland Management plan with the help of Exmoor National Park aiming to provide training and employment for young people in the community. The partnership of the ENP together with the support of The Exmoor Society and local business was a key factor in the success of the proposal.

The grant will be used to develop an operational plan for a self supporting and sustainable community owned enterprise focusing on local needs, run by local people and driven by local market demand.

Dulverton’s Mayor said, “The Our Place programme is not a miraculous panacea for all local problems as it has been portrayed recently. Localism can come at a price; our aim is to get support and services locally managed in a self sustaining cost effective manner. This project is just one of many small local community initiatives which demonstrate that “Localism” can be effective in action, helping to make Dulverton a better place to live.”

For more information please contact:

Cllr. Gerry Lewis

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

07976 838595