Feedback about the Budget Pilot
"I was delighted that the Government chose Haverhill as one of only 12 places in the country to pilot the new community budget programme and I think it is great that ONE Haverhill has chosen to invest in our young people. Ensuring that young people in Haverhill have the skills they need to fulfill their potential is something I am hugely passionate about. It is an investment that will pay itself back many times over.
"I would also like to encourage people to make use of the new 'Fix My Street' website to report areas needing repairs. I look forward to thanking the new community ambassadors who will be on the ground, making the system work."
MP for West Suffolk
Haverhill Community Budget Pilot
In 2011, Haverhill was chosen to be one of 12 pilots for the Government's new neighbourhood community budget programme with the aim of ONE Haverhill enabling organisations to communicate and work together.
The Haverhill Community Budget set out to achieve change for the town initially in two areas - better opportunities for our young people and improving the physical environment in the town, all priorities decided on by extensive community engagement with local residents in Summer 2013.
In September 2013 ONE Haverhill unveiled plans for a unique youth project for the town which was been made possible by the collaboration between local authorities, business, education and other partners.
Looking at ways to use resources already allocated to the town in a way that local people want them to be used is at the heart of the community budget plan. After research into what finances are allocated to Haverhill, ONE Haverhill, which does not hold a budget for the town, has pooled these resources 'virtually' and worked with organisations including local authorities to prepare a community budget plan. This reallocation of resources have then been approved by the organisations which hold the funding.
What started as a reasonably modest aim of creating an additional 10 apprenticeship posts in the town in the first year developed into a plan to open a "One Stop Shop" for the young people of Haverhill incorporating career development, youth leisure activities and access to youth services.
This was been made possible by the collaborative nature of ONE Haverhill. Job Centre Plus, West Suffolk College ,Suffolk County Council Haverhill Town Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council are all resourcing the NCB in various ways-demonstrating their commitment to this way of working.
Plans to develop the 'One Stop Shop' idea which will be a venue that provides youth activities careers and employment advice, training and other activities all in a single place are currently underway.
A Youth Skills Manager has been in post since autumn 2013 and is responsible for pioneering a business and education partnership to create more apprenticeships, traineeships, work experience placements, mentoring and other workplace training in the town.
Sarah Howard, Chair of ONE Haverhill Board and President of the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce said:
"There is already a great deal of good work going on in the town in various different guises. The aim of the Youth Skills Manager is to bring all the work together and improve the prospects of our young people. Whether a young person wants to become an engineer, lab technician or chef we want them to be able to make informed choices and work with them to achieve their goal."
Residents also wanted to see the quality of roads and pavements improved. To tackle this the community budget approach aims to improve communication between residents and local authorities including using an online website called 'Fix My Street' (www.fixmystreet.com) to report issues promptly and enable the public to track progress. Residents without computer access will be able to access the site online through public facilities including the Arts Centre and other public venues in the Town.
During ONE Haverhill's research and consultation they identified that many people in the community were happy to help in reporting problems or doing minor repairs such as fixing a broken sign or cutting back shrubbery. Suffolk County Council and Haverhill Town Council both pledged resources to support this element of the Community Budget which has funded a Community Ambassador Scheme in the town (led by Community Action Suffolk). Work is underway to recruit a network of community ambassadors to be the 'eyes and ears for their streets and where they want to carry out minor repairs and improvements themselves. This is not about the community replacing the work of the council but about improving communication and giving people permission, tools and training where they want to.
Rt Hon Don Foster MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department Communities and Local Government, visited the town to see progress on the community budget plan in November. He said:
I have been very impressed with the approach and achievements of ONE Haverhill as one of my Department's twelve Neighbourhood Community Budget pilots. The aim of these pilots was to show that decentralising control over the design and delivery of local public services to neighbourhoods has the potential to improve the quality of those services, make them more responsive to local needs, increase user-satisfaction and reduce costs - getting 'more and better for less'.
"I am delighted that today (6 June) ONE Haverhill is launching plans for a new and unique youth service for the town to help young people get local jobs. It is fantastic to see the public sector, community and business coming together to improve things for their youngsters. It's also great to hear about the network of community ambassadors which are being recruited to keep Haverhill looking at its best - local people taking control of their neighbourhood are what Neighbourhood Community Budgets are all about. I'm sorry I can't be at the launch, but look forward to hearing more about the great work ONE Haverhill is doing."
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