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Councillor budget cash supports community projects

3 January 2016

Money from a councillor’s locality budget scheme could be used to help fund the refurbishment of the foyer area at a popular Ulverston venue.

Our ward member for Ulverston West, Councillor Janette Jenkinson, says she intends to use money from her Member Locality Budget to ‘pump-prime’ improvements at the Coronation Hall.

Although the foyer scheme is yet to be agreed, Councillor Jenkinson says she hopes her contribution will be matched by others to pay for the overall cost of the project.

The Member Locality Budget allocates £1,000 to each of our 51 councillors to be used towards community projects in their wards.

The money is intended to match other sources of funding available and councillors have used their budgets to pay towards projects ranging from new benches and improved paths to supporting festivals and events.

The cash for the Member Locality Budget comes from the New Homes Bonus fund.

Under the New Homes Bonus the Government matches the council tax raised for new homes and properties brought back into use, with another £350 for each affordable home.

We decided three years ago to use these New Homes Bonus funds to address the needs of local communities.

Part of the money goes to the larger Locally Important Projects (LIPs) grants scheme, which since 2013 has awarded £701,500 to 56 community projects as diverse as installing a drainage scheme at a local football club pitch, improvements at village halls, supporting a community broadband initiative and funding studies to alleviate a village’s traffic congestion issues.

A further £51,000 a year is dedicated to the Member Locality Budget for individual ward councillors to allocate to local projects in their areas.

Councillor Jenkinson commented: “I love it. This initiative gives members the opportunity to support their community with small amounts of money which can pump-prime larger funds or make such a difference to their projects.’’

In the past three years Councillor Jenkinson has used her Member Locality Budget to pay towards the restoration of Ulverston's war memorial, paying for a new flag at the Coronation Hall, making a contribution towards new Christmas decorations in 2015 that supported a joint Ulverston Town Council, Ulverston Business Improvement District and Ulverston traders' project to raise £20,000 for new Christmas lights in Ulverston this year, promoting the dementia 'Tea in the Park' event at Ford Park in July and giving money to Ulverston Rotary Club to pay for new daffodils planted to improve the appearance of an area of land at the entrance to the town.