Birmingham communities are set for a funding boost with the launch of a £2 million initiative to support innovative projects across the city.
And community groups, individuals and their ward councillors are being challenged to come up with ways of ‘doing things differently in neighbourhoods’ – testing out new ways of doing things and getting away from the idea that the council can do everything.
The newly-formed Cabinet Committee for Local Leadership will meet on 20 September to discuss the establishment of a Local Innovation Fund, with the challenge to ‘do things differently in neighbourhoods’.
The fund, which is the first initiative developed by Birmingham City Council’s four recently-appointed Assistant Leaders, aims to devolve decision making to neighbourhood level. Each of the city’s 40 wards will be allocated £48,000 to fund projects that link to the city’s overriding priorities with an emphasis on doing things differently, strengthening communities and supporting active citizenship. The Assistant Leaders have made sure that every ward has got the same amount of money because every place matters and every citizen has equal merit.
Funds will be allocated to projects that focus on partnership, collaboration, active citizenship and doing things differently.
Assistant Leader Cllr Ansar Ali Khan said: “This is about listening to our communities and working with them to get a better deal for neighbourhoods and wards right across Birmingham. We’re going to have to think how we can all do better despite the fact there’s less money to spend.”
“The people of one community might want to set up a community enterprise such as a low cost painting and decorating, odd jobs service while another might develop a project that focuses on community groups learning from each other through visits and working sessions. The possibilities are endless and it will be interesting to see how our neighbourhoods spend this money.”
City council leader Cllr John Clancy added: “I’ve made it clear that I want this city council to start doing things ‘with’ the city not ‘to’ the city and the four assistant leaders were appointed to help shift power from the centre of the city and the city council out to local communities.
“That’s exactly what the Local Innovation Fund aims to do and this is a real opportunity for ward councillors to work closely with their communities to make a difference right across the city.”
The Local Innovation Fund will be discussed by the Cabinet Committee for Local Leadership on 20 September.
In June City council leader Cllr John Clancy appointed a quartet of Assistant Leaders to oversee the next phase of devolution in Birmingham.
- Cllr Marje Bridle
- Cllr Tony Kennedy
- Cllr Narinder Kaur Kooner
- Cllr Ansar Ali Khan